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Unfunny and ultra-violent “Argylle” truly socks

Dua Lipa and Henry Cavill whirl with espionage intentions on a dancefloor in “Argylle.”


Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Henry Cavill, Sam Rockwell, Catherine O’Hara, Bryan Cranston, Sophie Boutella, Dua Lipa, Ariana DeBose, John Cena and Samuel L. Jackson. Written by Jason Fuchs. Directed by Matthew Vaughan. Now playing in theatres everywhere. 139 minutes. PG

⭐️½ (out of 4)

Peter Howell

Movie Critic

A cast built for comedy is squandered on the violent nonsense that is “Argylle,” the regrettable new spy thriller from Matthew Vaughn (“Kingsman” franchise, “Kick-Ass”).

Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Catherine O’Hara, Bryan Cranston, Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa, Samuel L. Jackson and John Cena are among the expert merrymakers in what is nominally a romp about an espionage novelist who triggers real-life skullduggery.

But they can’t get out of the way of the unfunny and brutally complex action set pieces by Vaughan and screenwriter Jason Fuchs. The commotion commences with a James Bond-style chase in a Greek village, proceeds to a “Bullet Train” assassins riff and then jumps the rails of sanity for the rest of this overlong movie.

On the fly, via exposition from Rockwell’s hippie spy Aidan, we learn that Howard’s cat-loving author, Elly Conway, has unwittingly unleashed global intrigue with her best-selling novels about a suave secret agent named Argylle, played by one-time 007 candidate Henry Cavill.

The body count soars as an absurd number of plot twists ensue, each undermining interest in a story that’s dedicated more to servicing franchises than to making the most of potentially interesting characters.

Most egregious of the film's many sins is the repeated use of the new Beatles song “Now and Then,” which is robbed of its poignancy amid the mirthless mayhem.

The script has a penchant for bad puns. In that vein, it must be said that “Argylle” truly socks. 🌓


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