When it comes to promoting a product, there’s a fine line between confidence and delusion — and it seems increasingly like director Matthew Vaughn doesn’t know or doesn’t care where that distinction lies.
Ahead of the release of his latest movie Argylle, for example, he was more or less promising the moon when it comes to this star-studded yet wildly expensive misfire that purported to offer a fresh take on the spy genre. As a matter of fact, Vaughn was swearing early on that the movie (which currently has a 34% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes) would “reinvent” the spy genre. You’d think that a director was bringing his A-game when he talks like that, right?
Unfortunately, though, not only did the $200 million Argylle manage to rake in a mere $18 million over its opening weekend after getting absolutely savaged by critics, but Vaughn has also begun doing the exact same thing for a new movie that he’s producing, a currently untitled action flick starring Chris Hemsworth and Argylle veteran Sam Rockwell that Vaughn says is … wait for it … “reinventing” what an action movie can be.
“I can say it is a movie that is written, directed, and starring my stunt team,” Vaughn said in an interview with Josh Horowitz. “It is a film like no movie that has ever been made. And it’s also got Chris Hemsworth and Sam Rockwell in it. Plus some other very, very interesting cameos.”
Color me skeptical.
“Interesting cameos” reminds me of Argylle’s over-stuffed cast of high-profile actors, which was jam-packed with so many famous faces that it turned into a distraction. Seriously, this wacky spy movie somehow wrangled Dua Lipa, Henry Cavill, John Cena, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bryan Cranston, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sam Rockwell to all be part of the cast, and was also based on source material from a never-before-published author who was criticized for thin characterizations and goofy plotting. Nevertheless, all those cameos plus Vaughn’s same high-minded talk of “reinventing” a genre sent expectations for Argylle sky-high.
Now, one movie certainly doesn’t irrevocably tarnish the record of a filmmaker — including one who’s turned out classics like Kingsman and Layer Cake. But all I can say is, especially with the same warning signs already present, if this new Vaughn film is based on source material from another first-time author, that will be everyone’s cue to avoid it like the plague.