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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Splendid stuff
Mystery Men is the kind of joyful rubbish that Hollywood too rarely allows itself to make. I mean "rubbish" in the sense that this film will not morally elevate or uplift you in any way apart from making you laugh until you choke.
Champion City has been all but cleared of crime by the phenomenally skilled and heavily corporate-sponsored Captain Amazing, with the...
Published on 15 Jun 2004 by lexo1941

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We all have a part to play in life.
Quite brilliant all the way through.
This is a comedy caper based loosely on characters from the 'Flaming Carrot' magazines (I dug mine out of the loft after watching this).
It's constantly inventive with a barrage of in-jokes, put-downs and visual gags.
Visually stunning with a great deal spent on sets and costumes- good attention to detail too. This is...
Published on 17 July 2004 by marcusmuck


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Splendid stuff, 15 Jun 2004
By 
lexo1941 (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mystery Men [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Mystery Men is the kind of joyful rubbish that Hollywood too rarely allows itself to make. I mean "rubbish" in the sense that this film will not morally elevate or uplift you in any way apart from making you laugh until you choke.
Champion City has been all but cleared of crime by the phenomenally skilled and heavily corporate-sponsored Captain Amazing, with the result that your average working stiff of a superhero has to work hard to make any sort of a difference. The story begins with three such stiffs: The Shoveller (imagine William H. Macy's self-deprecating little twitch as he admits "We fight crime, call it what you will"), the Blue Rajah (Hank Azaria with a pukka British accent - he throws forks and spoons at his enemies but refuses to throw knives because "my name's not Stab Man or Knifey Boy, it's the Blue Rajah") and Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller - he goes into an impressive murderous smoulder and then basically jumps up and down a lot and yells). Roundly defeated when they attempt to break up a robbery in an old folks' home, they are further humiliated when Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) finishes the job, takes the credit and treats them like wannabes.
Amazing himself is frustrated with the lack of newsworthy challenges; it's starting to affect his sponsorship deals, so in his secret identity as billionaire Lance Hunt (only Mr. Furious thinks they look alike; as the Shoveller wearily points out "Look, Lance Hunt wears glasses, Captain Amazing doesn't - how can he fight crime? He wouldn't be able to see!") he arranges the release from the lunatic asylum of notorious supervillain and flakeroo Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush, chewing the scenery with gusto). Casanova promptly blows up the asylum, kidnaps the Captain and tells him to prepare to die ("Yeah, see, that's the part I have a problem with" says a pinioned and sweating Amazing, like a studio executive about to be fired.) Fortunately, however, Mr. Furious has witnessed the kidnap, and he persuades his team to swing into action. But will they be able to get past Casanova's bodyguards, the ruthless but exceptionally groovy Disco Boys? ("You have GUNS?" says an incredulous Stiller to an advancing Disco Boy. "THAT's your power? Not even, like, a gold chain or something?") Well, no they won't, and after a nasty beating they set about recruiting some more manpower. But will they actually manage to rescue the Captain? Probably not.
This deeply silly movie has so many idiotic pleasures that I wish I could just tell you the whole plot, but I won't. The cast is stunning; witness Janeane Garofalo as The Bowler, an abrasive young woman whose lethal bowling ball is moulded around her father's skull ("You made a bowling ball out of your dad's head?" "No. The guy at the pro shop did it.") Clare Forlani is great as Stiller's wonderfully uninterested love interest ("Sorry about yesterday. I guess I can come across pretty threatening," he says, in a hamfisted attempt at flirting. "I don't find you threatening," she replies. "Oh," he says, his swagger minutely deflated. "At all," she adds.) Wes Studi sends up his Last-of-the-Mohicans charisma as The Sphinx ("He can, like, cut guns in half with his mind," breathes the Shoveller), a motivational guru who takes our heroes in hand and trains them with a mixture of knitting, battle practice and trite little slogans. "Why am I balancing a tack hammer on my head?" asks an impatient Mr. Furious. "He who balances a tack hammer on his head will always go ahead with a balanced attack," replies the Sphinx.
Geoffrey Rush maybe gets the statuette for his delirious Casanova Frankenstein. You can see him enjoying himself, licking his lips and savouring his fake German accent, recovering from each setback with camp sang-froid; as the Mystery Men push home their attack on his lair, he calls a retreat and urges his men to "Focus, people, focus!" like a demented theatre director. Nice to see Paul Reubens on flying form; the Spleen has one of those lisps that you need wet weather gear to protect yourself from, and I liked his charmingly naive way of greeting people: "I'm the Spleen, if you wanna know what my power is, pull my finger." Even Louise Lasser pops up as the Blue Rajah's long-suffering mother. There is much more to enjoy in this movie, provided you aren't looking for solemnity, depth or human dignity of any kind. I don't suppose there will ever be a Mystery Men 2 (More Mysterious), since this thing flopped on theatrical release. Pity. It's worth the last three Star Wars movies put together, and I include "Return of the Jedi" in that.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many attempt to make a super-hero spoof. This succeeds all!, 12 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Mystery Men [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Admittedly, 'Mystery Men' does need time to grow on you - but it's well worth the wait! The humour explodes within the first 5 minutes and then never lets up! The idea of a group of 3rd Division, super hero wannabes believing that they can mix it with the Premier League super villain, Casanova Frankenstein - is a pure delight! Particularly as they are cack-handedly responsible for the demise of the film's genuine super-hero, Captain Amazing, early on in the film! Casanova Frankenstein is a wonderfully devilish creation! Oozing evil and charm with every syllable he utters - is very reminiscent of the dry humour that made the exchanges between James Bond and his countless 'nemeses' so enjoyable! You'll have to see the film to appreciate the relevence of 'nemeses'! Throw in ridiculous 'super' powers such as devastating flatulence, a vengeful bowling-ball containing the skull of an equally vengeful bowler's father, an effectiveless fury, invisiblity that cannot be 'seen' (pardon the pun!), a thrower of his mother's forks and spoons, a shovel and a cliche-ridden philosopher; add a wonderful Q-type pastiche from Tom Waites who invents only 'non-fatal' weapons - such as 'A Whirlwind In a Can' and the brilliantly conceived 'Blame-thrower'; then, finally, mix in a performance from a cast that not only knock spots off Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, George Clooney and Co but also look as though they're having a great time doing it aswell - and you finally end up with the recipe for a fantastically funny and brilliantly produced triumph! And if that isn't enough - there's the sublime brilliance of Eddie Izzard (Don't vorry, Tony, you vill dance again!) You must see it... again and again and again! If only 'Ballerina -Man' had been allowed to join the gang! (Again, you'll have to see the film to appreciate that little aside!) Whoever finds this film unfunny and witless must be some-one who finds collecting 1953 bus time-tables absolutely rivetting!
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move Over Superman - All Hail "The Shoveller" !, 7 Sep 2005
This review is from: Mystery Men [DVD] (DVD)
I saw this on a rainy Wednesday night, on my own, in an almost empty cinema in Leeds, while lonley and working away from home.
Under those circumstances that fact that it made me sit up in my seat, absorb every scene and laugh out loud hard and long is a testament to the insane optimism and superb performances that fill this wonderful and overlooked film to the brim.
These are the sort of superheros I know I could join:
The Shoveller (William H Macy) "I shovel really well...";
Mr Furious (Ben Stiller) who gets angry a lot and has a running comic book monologue about his life;
The Blue Raj - fantastic master of throwing deadly cutlery - but not knives;
Invisible Kid - who can turn invisible - but only when nobody is looking;
The Bowler - with her super-powered bowling ball containing the skull of her murdered father... "You put his skull in your bowling ball?" "Of course not!" she replies tartly and pauses, "I had the guy in the shop do it..."
...and many more.
Knockout turns from famous faces like Geoffrey Rush as the sadistic Casanova Frankenstein with Eddie Izzard as his disco obsessed henchman, and the patronising Captain Amazing, protector of Champion City - who gets his arch enemy released to bump up his own ratings and get some of his corporate sponsorship back.
Amazing tales, sparkling dialogue and a rousing cheer at the end. Sends you back into the real world with a big smile on your face and a question in your heart about what you own powers might possibly be...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We all have a part to play in life., 17 July 2004
This review is from: Mystery Men [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Quite brilliant all the way through.
This is a comedy caper based loosely on characters from the 'Flaming Carrot' magazines (I dug mine out of the loft after watching this).
It's constantly inventive with a barrage of in-jokes, put-downs and visual gags.
Visually stunning with a great deal spent on sets and costumes- good attention to detail too. This is the third time I've seen this underrated film and there's plenty to hold the imagination.
It even has a message: that we're each of us special........
The acting is tremendous: quite simply everyone is good. This a great 'character' film & the cast of extras is immense. You get the impression that everyone enjoyed being part of this film.
My favorites in no particular order are: Geoffrey Rush as Casanova Frankenstein, Tony P (Eddie Izzard in great form) & Tony C as the Disco boys and Hank Azalia as The Blue Raja.
The DVD extras are also good and well worth a watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's a great movie in here somewhere, 14 Dec 2004
This review is from: Mystery Men [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
A very funny film, marred by a curiously "unfinished" feeling. The dialogue and acting are great, but there's some really ropey sound in parts, and some of the scenes feel like they haven't really been fitted in the right place. These criticisms aside, this is a very funny film with some great lines and nice superhero in-jokes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Your boy is a limey fork-flinger, mother!", 15 Sep 2008
By 
Sheryl Jackman "Wildstar" (Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mystery Men [DVD] (DVD)
Mystery Men is one of the few comedy movies that can actually make me laugh. Briefly, the movie follows the mis-adventures of a group of wannabe superheroes, who find that they've maybe bitten off a little more than they can chew when they try to rescue Champion City's ace superhero, Captain Amazing, from the clutches of the notorious Casanova Frankenstein. In the ensuing confusion, Captain Amazing is killed and the Mystery Men are suddenly Champion City's only hope of survival ....

The Mystery Men are an eclectic bunch of lovable misfits, whose only true superpower seems to be an ability to cause mayhem and confusion wherever they go! After their initial run-in with Casanova Frankenstein, the founding members of the team - Mr Furious, who's power comes from his boundless rage, The Shoveller, expert in the use of the shovel and the occasional trowel, and The Blue Raja, who flings forks and spoons - decide they need some extra firepower and quickly recruit new members The Spleen, cursed with flatulence, The Bowler, who wields a bowling ball possessed by the spirit of her dead father, The Sphinx, who cuts guns in half with his mind (and is terribly mysterious!) and The Invisible Boy, who can only turn invisible when no one is looking! Aided and abetted by Heller, designer of non-lethal weapons, the group take on the might of Casanova Frankenstein and his fiendish henchmen, with hilarious results!

The movie is funnier than a barrel full of monkeys, with some nice touches, such as Mr Furious trying to convince his team-mates that Captain Amazing and Lance Hunt are one and the same. "Don't be silly!" replies The Shoveller. "Lance wears glasses. Captain Amazing doesn't wear glasses. He wouldn't be able to see!"

It's clear that everyone had a great time while making this movie, and this exuberance flows wonderfully through the entire film, drawing us into this madcap world. Ben Stiller once again proves that comedies are his forte and puts in another effortless performance as Mr Furious. William H. Macy aka The Shoveller, plays it straight and serious, and comes across all the more funnier because of it. And Hank Azaria, The Blue Raja, affecting an hillarious English accent, steals the show!

Forget Superman, forget Batman - if you're feeling blue and in the mood for something quirky, then look no further than The Mystery Men! "Zai Gazunt!"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Die zweite Garde, 20 Sep 2000
Seit über einem halben Jahr bin ich im Besitz der amerikanischen Version dieses wunderbaren Kleinods, das für jeden Comicfan ein Muß ist und das inzwischen unter meinen Freunden jede Menge Fans finden konnte. Seitdem frage ich mich, warum eigentlich ist dieser Film nie bei uns im Kino gelaufen?
Nun, jedenfalls liegen dem Film einige der witzigsten Einfälle zu Grunde, die man zu Superhelden haben kann: Was wäre, wenn es Superhelden "zweiter Klasse" gäbe? Sozusagen die B-Klasse, so wie es Schauspieler gibt, die nie eine Hauptrolle spielen werden sondern ewige Nebendarsteller in Fernsehserien bleiben? Die hätten dann so tolle Superkräfte wie der Shoveler, der einfach besser schaufelt als jeder andere auf der Welt. Oder The Blue Raja, der mit Gabeln wirft und dessen Kostüm zwar recht bunt, aber an dem nichts blau ist (was immer wieder zu Diskussionen zwischen ihm und seinen beiden Kumpels führt).
Diese Ideen sind genial umgesetzt, die Handlung ist Eigenständig (und nicht einfach eine Persiflage), die Ausstattung detailreich, die Charaktere sind Charaktere und keine einfachen Witzfiguren. Es gibt genügend Insidergags für Comicfans (u.a. eine Superhelden-Castingszene, die fast eins zu eins bei Sergio Aragones destroys the DC Universe entnommen ist), aber auch Zuschauer ohne Comicwissen verpassen überhaupt nichts, da Handlung und Charaktere den Film völlig tragen können.
Diesen Film muß man allerdings im US-Ton sehen, da er ein für deutsche Synchronisation unlösbares Problem hat: Die Charaktere haben alle herrlich verschrobene Akzente: Casanova Frankenstein ist ein Bösewicht mit einem der schlimmsten deutschen Akzente seit Helmut Kohl, The Blue Raja pflegt ein völlig überzogenes Oxford English, mit dem er seine Mama glücklich macht und Ben Stiller verhaspelt ständig seine coolen Oneliners. Das ist eigentlich nicht übersetzbar, ohne viel zu albern zu werden.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the funniest movie of '99!, 10 Aug 2002
By 
This review is from: Mystery Men [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
This is a brilliant film, and as has been said numerous times will certainly be a cult classic of the future (this also being due to the fact that it is based on a Dark Horse comic). It manages to be both hilarious and oddly dark simultaneously Champion City resembles Judge Dredd's Mega City 1), creating a very unique mood. All the cast are superb, and well-suited to their roles. Hank Azaria in particular is splendid as the Blue Raja.
Put simply, this is a great film that everyone should own, and the DVD includes some interesting extras. Superlative stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hillarious super hero spoof, 30 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This movie is about a group of super hero's whom you quickly realise don't actually have any super powers. This makes them rather poor at beating crime and the laughing stock of the city. However, they are given a chance to redeem themselves against a powerful foe, with the help of a lot of self belief.
This movie is one of the funniest I have seen in a long time, my jaw was aching from laughter. If you like comedy films, check this out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 29 Aug 2000
By 
This review is from: Mystery Men [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Most people who appreciate this are probably
1) Comic Book Fans/Sci-Fi fans
2) Over 25 and under 40
3) Like films along the lines of The Princess Bride.
If you fit in this catagory then you'll probably love it. As you can guess from my raiting, needless to say I fit this description almost exactly.
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Mystery Men [DVD] [1999]
Mystery Men [DVD] [1999] by Kinka Usher (DVD - 2000)
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