This visually strong movie presents classy style but no substance and a messy plot full of illogical gaps. The beginning credits are more entertaining and cohesive than much of the film’s plot which joins agents John Stead (Ralph Fiennes) and Mrs. Emma Peel (Uma Thurman) on a mission to stop Sir August de Wynter, theatrically played by Sean Connery, from destroying London with his own destructive weather devices. The movie’s plot doesn’t measure up to the acting talent and regrettably make their stylish characters seem pointless. De Wynter’s name tells you more than the story ever does.
Some cute teddy bear costumes and an inventive illusion sequence in a de Wynter’s castle cannot overshadow an invisible record clerk, a laughable henchman, a tommy gun toting nanny, and an absurd sequence in a garden maze that turns the story into a dismal and empty experience for the audience.
The editing of the movie also weakens the film, most notably an illogical gap in a scene where an agent superior named “Father” hears some antagonist demands, declares he’ll find his agents, and then finds them too quickly a few scenes later in an awkward transition. Notice de Wynter’s dialogue in a predictably flat showdown against John Stead to get a character’s reflection of why this film doesn’t work. Maybe Connery was trying to do say different to play off of the typical banter between action movie adversaries in duels, but his lines in this scene are excruciating to watch.
This sloppy work was not screened for film critics before its theatrical release because the studio probably knew it was below average entertainment and was afraid to get ripped by the critics. Based on the 60s television series of the same name, this movie is definitely not approved (* out of four stars) on the big or small screen.
An unfortunate case where a movie is rushed out to the theaters without spending proper time on a decent story and post production editing. Fiennes and Thurman get to strut around in some great costumes, but fall victim to the misguided story. Lots of style, but a weak story and little substance. The ending credits are more creative than the story.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler