Argylle – The Adorable Cat Is the Best Part of This Spy Film Parody

MOVIE REVIEW – After Matthew Vaughn dedicated over a decade to his beloved spy movie franchise, Kingsman, the director has now gathered an American cast (and a cute brindled tomcat) for a complex narrative that places a bestselling spy novel writer at the center of the action. Although the film kicks off skillfully and its foundational concept isn’t bad, regrettably, it swiftly diverges from this and transitions into the customary foolish, reminiscent of Kingsman, spy action film – furthermore, this base story has been filmed far better decades ago in an old, 1970s Jean Paul Belmondo comedy.



When I initially heard about Argylle, it brought to my mind the remarkable 1973 Philip de Broca comedy, as that film narrates a story similar to what Argylle, which hits the cinemas tomorrow, proposes: a shabby, homebound spy novelist (Jean-Paul Belmondo) in his modest Paris flat, spewing out the escapades of the polished super spy (also Jean-Paul Belmondo) he idealizes. The degree to which this current movie fails to match any level of the ’73 Belmondo film’s success is nearly agonizing, and through this juxtaposition, Argylle’s most basic flaws become easily identifiable.



The Slam Dunk Brilliantly Executed in The Magnificent Is Completely Missed Here


The Magnificent’s greatest allure (beyond its uproarious humor and Belmondo’s equally superb comedic performance) was its ingenious parallel of a ridiculously exaggerated James Bond-esque universe – conceived by the writer – with the reality he himself lived. The movie depicted the writer Belmondo imagining himself as a suave and action-hero super spy, infusing his own personal crises, failures, despised people (such as the miserly publishing house head), and desires (the attractive college student neighbor who approaches Belmondo-the-writer for an essay) into his novels, which we, the audience, also witnessed.

I anticipated a similarly clever, witty solution here. However, Vaughn made the fundamental mistake of not humorously aligning Elly Conway’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) grounded reality with the romanticized, pulp James Bond world she concocted. Instead, the “real” story turns into a Tesco-value James Bond clone, filled to the brim with CGI orgies and exaggerated scenes, which most closely resemble Vaughn’s own Kingsman films.



Rockwell is Sometimes Cavill, But Neither Is Funny Enough


First off, let’s talk about Elly Conway’s conjured super spy and protagonist, Argylle, portrayed by Henry Cavill, who was once nearly selected as James Bond in 2006, thereafter embarking on a significant career including roles as a super spy in high-budget films like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Mission Impossible: Fallout. At first glance, one couldn’t find a more fitting actor for this role, yet the issue arises when the fictitious action movie segments here often resemble traditional B-movie scenes, scarce in humor, or when present, it tends to be quite forced. While Cavill is a fine actor, his comedic abilities are lacking, a trait we know from the Belmondo film requires both perfect comedic talents and a directorial flair akin to Philip de Broca’s, with Vaughn’s expertise nowhere near this level.

When the long-bearded, somewhat hobo-like Aiden (Sam Rockwell) enters the fray, it quickly becomes evident (as already hinted in the trailer) that he essentially serves as Argylle’s “real-world” counterpart. This point is incessantly hammered home in a train action scene: as Aiden clumsily eliminates everyone in a Jason Bourne-esque (yet somewhat awkwardly) manner, Elly oscillates between seeing him and visualizing Cavill’s Argylle in his stead, effortlessly taking down everyone while his ridiculously handsome hairdo remains intact. This might seem somewhat amusing initially, but by the fifth repetition, it grows tiresome, especially given (as I’ve mentioned, but can’t stress enough): Henry Cavill is far from a comedian, and certainly no Jean-Paul Belmondo. Sam Rockwell has a better handle on this craft, particularly in films with a biting sense of humor (as seen in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), yet this talent necessitates a director who can harness it, a challenge Matthew Vaughn does not meet in this film.


MOZI HÍREK - Hamarosan új hős vívhat ki magának kultikus rangot a mozikban: jön Argylle, a szuperkém, aki sokban hasonlít James Bondra, ám a megközelítés sokkal viccesebb.


From James Bond Parody to CGI Orgy


The contrived nature only escalates as the “real” storyline progressively takes precedence, somewhat reminiscent of Romancing the Stone but failing to reach the classic’s level. Without delving too deep into spoilers, the essence is that Elly and Aiden are compelled to flee, turning the entire plot into a surrealistically foolish spy story, even more brainless and unbelievable than the Argylle pulp novels themselves.

Among the cast, two heavyweights stand out: Bryan Cranston, the star of the Breaking Bad series, remains exceptional despite the ludicrous script, and Samuel L. Jackson, who seems to have resigned himself to receiving increasingly mediocre directors and scripts after his legendary roles in Quentin Tarantino’s films.



The Cat Is the Best Part


Perhaps the entire movie is saved and carried on the back of a single “actor” – one who doesn’t speak, only meows, yet manages to be both adorable and hilariously grumpy with its little frowning face: Chip, the director Matthew Vaughn’s daughter’s “grumpy cat”-like tomcat. Although it’s obvious that the real cat was replaced with CGI in numerous scenes, and sometimes it shows, Chip’s portrayal of Elly’s four-legged companion, Alfie, is simply sensational, and perhaps, with a bit of exaggeration, the reason to watch this film.

-Gergely Herpai (BadSector)-







Matthew Vaughn's Argylle tries to bring something new to the spy movie world with a star-studded cast and an adorable cat, but unfortunately, it quickly falls flat as it succumbs to the usual action movie clichés, forced, improbable twists, and strained jokes characteristic of Vaughn’s style. Neither Cavill nor Rockwell can save the humor-laden but forced narrative, with the film's biggest star being a sometimes meowing but scene-stealing cat. The result is a moderately entertaining, CGI-saturated film that remains memorable mostly for its cute four-legged star."

User Rating: Be the first one !

Spread the love
Avatar photo
BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

No comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

theGeek TV