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The Avengers

out of 4 Movie Review: The Avengers

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman
Director: Jeremiah Chechik
Rated: PG
RunTime: 83 Minutes
Release Date: August 1998
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Sean Connery, Jim Broadbent, Fiona Shaw, Eddie Izzard, Eileen Atkins, John Wood, Patrick Macnee

Review by MrBrown
0 stars out of 4

Before I take a closer look at anything within a film--the acting, the script, whatever--it must first pass the "WTF" test. That is, I must be able to safely watch the entire film without once seeing something so incredibly, stupefyingly insulting, at which point I am left to (audibly) utter, "WHAT THE FUCK?" The mega-budgeted big-screen update of the cult '60s spy TV series _The_Avengers_ failed the WTF test around the 25-minute mark, when the villainous Sir August DeWynter (Sean Connery) has a conference with his partners in crime. While that doesn't sound out of the ordinary in and of itself, DeWynter and his conspirators, seated at a long table, are all wearing fuzzy teddy bear suits. Each one in a different color of the rainbow. Everyone together now: "WHAT THE FUCK?"

Exactly what is this completely incomprehensible bore perpetrated by "director" Jeremiah Chechik and "writer" Don Macpherson about? No, it's not about superslick British spies John Steed (Ralph Fiennes) and Dr. Emma Peel (Uma Thurman) and their world-saving adventures. Nor is it about DeWynter's mystifying plan to somehow destroy the world by way of a weather machine. Far from it. _The_Avengers_ is about the superstylish fashions sported by Academy Award-nominated models Fiennes and Thurman. Here's Ralph in a classy gray flannel and silk suit with matching bowler hat and umbrella. Now it's Uma, looking fetching in a skin-tight, neck-to-toe vinyl catsuit with four-inch heels. And so on. Yes, there is something of a story stringing the fashion show together, but since Chechik and Macpherson obviously didn't give it a second thought, neither will I here.

Granted, the photogenic Fiennes and Thurman make an attractive pair. But, as with even the best models, things go straight to hell once they open their mouths. The two are talented actors, but there's nothing they or anyone can do with Macpherson's witless idea of comic repartee. The tension that consequently builds between Steed and Peel is not sexual but of a different sort--the type you get when oil and water meet (so I guess you can say there is some kind of chemistry going on). The Oscar winner in the bunch, Connery, is even more lost, so over-the-top as if to be "acting" in a completely different film from another planet.

For the entire film, the audience with whom I saw _The_Avengers_ was stone silent... until the end credits started to roll, at which point a lone voice from the rear of the auditorium snapped, "That shit was stupid." While no one offered an "amen," I'm certain that's exactly what everyone was thinking.

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