American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" assembles a splendid team of heroes to battle a plan for world domination, and then, just when it seems about to become a real corker of an adventure movie, plunges into incomprehensible action, idiotic dialogue, inexplicable motivations, causes without effects, effects without causes, and general lunacy. What a mess.
And yet it all starts so swimmingly. An emissary from Britain arrives at a private club in Kenya, circa 1899, to invite the legendary adventurer Allan Quartermain (Sean Connery) to assist Her Majesty's Government in averting a world war. Villains have used a tank to break into the Bank of England and have caused great destruction in Germany, and each country is blaming the other. Quartermain at first refuses to help, but becomes annoyed when armored men with automatic rifles invade the club and try to kill everybody.
Quartermain and friends are able to dispatch them with some head-butting, a few rights to the jaw and skewering on an animal horn, and then he goes to London to attend a meeting called by a spy master named--well, he's named M, of course.
Also assembled by M are such fabled figures as Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), who has retired from piracy; Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), who was involved in that messy Dracula business; Rodney Skinner (Tony Curran), who is the Invisible Man; Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), who, Quartermain observes, seems to be missing a picture; Tom Sawyer (Shane West), who works as an agent for the U.S. government, and Dr. Henry Jekyll (Jason Flemyng), whose alter ego is Mr. Hyde.