The Avengers (1998) / Action-Sci Fi
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for brief strong language
Running Time: 89 min.
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, Sean Connery, Patrick Macnee, Eddie Izzard
Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Screenplay: Don MacPherson (based on the TV series by Sydney Newman)
Review published February 14, 1999
What is it that makes a good action film? Isn't it the combination of good acting, directing, script, action set-pieces, costumes, and special effects? If that's the case, The Avengers is a good film, right? That couldn't be further from the truth, my good fellow.
Based on the cult TV show of the 60s, British Ministry secret agent John Steed (Fiennes, Quiz Show) now is on the big screen, this time investigating the strange goings-on in the weather caused by the villain, Sir August de Wynter (Connery, The Rock). His cohort Emma Peel (Thurman, Gattaca) is the main suspect involved, but it seems there is more to her than meets the eye.
The Avengers is a film full of imagery but without imagination. There's good directing that has no particular direction, and fine acting but very little action. It's a comic adventure which ventures little comedy, and it's full of good ideas yet hollow through and through. The film is a contradiction of so many things, containing within it every piece of the puzzle that makes a film work, yet this puzzle remains in a jumbled state despite the talent involved to solve it.
Gorgeous costumes and color schemes, witty lines and explosions galore can't save this film from failing on almost every level. The Avengers is as unexciting, unfunny, and inept an action-comedy as you're ever likely to see. Thankfully they excised a half hour of additional mediocrity upon its theatrical release.
©1999 Vince Leo