If you want to watch a movie crammed with inconsistencies and melodramatic nonsense, then have I got a movie for you. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (L.E.G.) is a movie that boggles the mind with its vague story development, and with the saliva dribble that writer J.D. Robinson calls dialogue, it is an insult to one's intellect. This is the kind of rubbish you get when you let Sean Connery act as an Executive Producer.
Not only does Sean Connery suck at production work, but surprise, he can't act either! Connery stars as the exalted hunter Alan Quartermain, asked to lead a group of not so extraordinary gentlemen on a quest to stop "The Fantom" from causing a world war with his advanced weaponry. (Really, why not pick a name like "The Exulted Ass Kicker"?)
Joining the frenzy of characters are actors Naseeruddin Shah as Captain Nemo, Peta Wilson as vampire Mina Harker (who should have stayed on her series Nikita), Stuart Townsend as the invincible Dorian Grey (who not only plays both sides but bats for both teams as well, as subtly as in the book), Tony Curran as the invisible Rodney Skinner, Shane West as American secret agent Tom Sawyer (can't make a movie about the Queen of England's secret army without an American at the heart of it all), and last, but not least actor Jason Flemyng as Dr. Jekyll (with really bad CG technology playing the part of Mr. Hyde).
Every little fault in this movie prevented me from taking it as it was: a movie. Within the "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" there is a woman (Mina), a thief (Rodney), and an American cowboy type (Tommy boy), which I do believe are all qualities un-characteristic of being a gentleman in 1899 England! So the title of the group is absurd. My next problem was with the characters themselves. In the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill which the movie is based on (and when you see the words “Based on a Graphic Novel” you know you’re in trouble), Mina is not a vampire, the invincible Dorian Gray was able to look at his aging portrait (an important change to help the movie progress), and Alan Quartermain was a druggie. Now wouldn't that have been fun? Geriatric Connery acting like a stoner? Which is probably not far off. With a man Connery's age, he's probably downing Metamucil, Viagra, and a multitude of other drugs just to get up (and it) in the morning. Action scenes involving Connery are also poorly edited allowing you to spot the stunt double. You can tell the difference when you see the stunt double in one shot move like the wind and the real Connery in the next shot trudge along, obviously struggling with his man-diaper.
Speaking of man diapers, is this getting anyone hot for the new Indiana Jones movie with the relic Harrison Ford?
Other obvious problems arise in the movie's believability. Are we really supposed to believe Captain Nemo's 4000-foot submarine could easily navigate the narrow channels of Venice? And without notice by the locals? Also, the invincible Dorian Grey was shot at fifty times, and his suit was perfectly intact in the next shot. I guess his clothing had regenerative powers too. Speaking of clothing, why didn't Dr. Jekyll's pants tear off like his shirt when he turned into the insanely large Mr. Hyde? If this were realistic in any way, we would have gotten a look at his monster-sized one-eyed monster. Now what girl wouldn't want to see that? Lastly, if the character Mina was a vampire, why was she able to walk around in the day? What's going on with that? I wouldn't have minded seeing Peta Wilson fried to a crisp (even though I do think she's pretty cool).
The dialogue accompanying her walk in the sun could have gone something like this:
"Oh no! I forgot that I'm a pretty good actor and I accepted a role in a crappy movie, so since I'm playing a vampire I think I'll immediately combust since I can't make this movie any more ridiculous than it already is!"
Now something cool to look out for is the gay innuendo between The Fantom and Dorian Grey (an Oscar Wilde invention) after you find out Dorian is a traitor. The plot of the movie wasn't so bad (at least compared to the dialogue, the lack of logic and unrealistic settings) so I won't make much of a comment there, except, after The Fantom caused a world war through profiting on his advanced weaponry, how was he going to enjoy his immense fortune? I've never heard of any Club Med's surviving post apocalyptic scenarios.
If you can suspend reality easily and let go of all the inconsistencies, the bad acting, the fact that they'd introduce a detail about a character then sort of forget about it and other acts of random illogic that will have you slap your forehead repeatedly, then this movie really wasn't so bad.
In my opinion though, time and money (both mine and theirs) could be better wasted on a something decent. The only consolation is you get to see Connery's acting skills really take a dive when the character Quartermain dies. If you want to see an action movie out that the Director really meant to be a joke, see Pirates of the Caribbean. "Pirates" isn't a great movie, but the computer graphics are better and the inconsistencies don't drive you mad.
A really good action flick on the other hand is a nice little film called "Ichi the Killer". Instead of L.E.G, if you really want to see some nonsense I recommend "Uzumaki" (which could possibly only make sense after smoking up). Both flicks are available at your local Suspect Video (did I shamelessly plug possibly the world's greatest video store?).
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