This is part action film, part spoof, part unknown – in short, a strange cocktail of a film that veers from the sublime to the ridiculous too often. It’s great entertainment in that the time sure flies past fast, but it’s neither smooth nor sophisticated, and jars somewhat.
Plot: there;s a super secret spy body of gentlemen. One of them is killed mid mission, giving his life to save that of his fellow operatives. Fast forward 18 years and his son, who has gone somewhat off the rails, is offered a chance to join the gentlemen. At the same time as he is undergoing the rigorous selection process, a super villain is progressing his plan for world dominance.
So, think Bond mixed with a bit of Our Man Flint, Austin Powers, and Mission Impossible. Be warned: the violence – and there is a lot of it – goes from gruesome and nasty to Tom & Jerry style. It is not a quiet film; rather it’s a bawling, screaming cannonball. Quite an irony given the gentlemanly theme.
There are some good moments, and the actors – Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and Samuel L. Jackson, especially – do a credible job of suspending disbelief among viewers. But, overall this was more disappointing because of the lack of a firm directorial hand that was needed to keep the film on one track, and stop it trying to be all things to all men. All gentlemen, that is.