Piss poor, with witless dialogue, inept action (staging & direction), and a joyless tone, this comic book adaptation, a fantastic turn-of-the-last century adventure stocked with glosses on famous literary characters as a privy fighting guild brought together to battle a villainous mastermind, was a damp way for Sean Connery to end a career.* The basic idea is INDIANA JONES meets the A-TEAM, but it’s more 'Triple A' division, with a story that doesn’t add up after a nifty initial prologue with a platoon of faux Germans invading British banks before a platoon of faux Brits retaliate by raiding a German weapons factory. Someone’s trying to start World War Zero, ya? But it’s all downhill from there, beginning with a second prologue that scoots off to Africa to enlist Connery’s Allan Quatermain in the eponymous league. From there, neither plot, characterization (not a memorable perf in the lot) nor shot sequence make much sense. Easy enough to blame over-parted megger Stephen Norrington (he hasn’t directed since), but plenty of shame to go around. The best thing in here, and very much worth a look, are the models & miniatures (vast cityscapes and sea-going sub) which lend the feel of a deluxe Pop-Up Picture book to things, and hold up far better than the all-too-quickly dated CGI monsters and explosions. Otherwise, pass.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: *Maybe that’s why he’s hiding under a hat in our poster.
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Of course, Connery nails this sort of thing in INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE/’89, second best of that series.