" No over-the-top bravado and macho bullshit so common with American action stars and their films. "
Title: The Accidental Spy by Buena Vista Home Video
Reviewing Monkey: EEGAH!
The Hype: Jackie Chan makes his living playing the Everyman thrust into harrowing situations. Take that basic formula, slap another name on it, and you have The Accidental Spy.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Acting: This time
around Jackie is a down on his luck exercise equipment salesman who finds out
that he may be the long lost son of a wealthy Korean man. After piecing together
the clues and solving the riddle his father put in place to weed out would-be
imposters Jackie claims his inheritance.
Unfortunately, he is inheriting more than money. You see, his father was an international spy who had infiltrated the Asian mafia in its bitter war with a Turkish drug cartel. It turns out his father had of late come into possession of the impetus for their war: a high potency strain of opium.
Jackie is inadvertently embroiled in his father's affairs from the very moment he enters the country. He never gets so much as a moments rest as he is either fighting off the Tong, the Turks, saving the girl or his own ass.
Acting-wise, The Accidental Spy is fairly decent. No over-the-top bravado and macho bullshit so common with American action stars and their films. Throughout his ordeal Chan conveys a sense of reticence, which is concurrent with his character. I can't speak as highly for some other members of the cast but that has more to do with the cheesy dubbing than with the performers themselves. Ultimately, its Chan's show with the other actors functions either being romanced, saved, or kicked the crap out of. 4 out of 5
Visuals and Directing: If you have to
ask what the action is like you've never seen a Jackie Chan picture. The Accidental
Spy is so jam-packed full of trademark Jackie Chan thrills and spills that it's
bursting at the seams.
Unlike many of his American contemporaries, Chan insists on performing his own stunts and does what I've never seen another action star do: act injured when the stunt deemed it appropriate. Just a little thing about his method that I've always found fascinating.
The direction by Teddy Chen was pretty good, but let's face facts, it doesn't take much to direct Chan. He knows what his motivation is since he plays virtually the same character in every movie. You pretty much just need to call "Action" and let him do what he does best. That said, I think Chen does a nice job of preserving a sense of dire urgency throughout the movie which is something I haven't seen in a Chan film in a long, long while. 4 out of 5
DVD Extras: This is where the disc is sorely lacking. Dimension didn't even include trailers of coming attractions that they're so notorious for. 0 out of 5
Value vs. Price: Well, the movie's good but the DVD doesn't have any bennies so the fifteen dollar pricetag seems a little presumptuous. I know what you're saying, "But EEGAH! it's only fifteen smackaroos. If you liked it what's the big deal"? Well, if you want to pay more than ten dollars for a stripped down DVD that's your business, but for this monkey every banana after ten should net me some kind of special feature. 2 out of 5
|Despite being sparse in the features department, having a pretty formulaic plot, and the humor seeming a little incongruous to the overall feel of the movie, this is still one of Chan's better outings. The action is sound, as to be expected, and the story has a serious tone- which I found to be quite refreshing given that he's taken to doing mostly slapstick actioners recently. All things considered it was a pretty damn good movie as far as I'm concerned.|
The Good: Non-stop action is the order of the day. The story is fairly sound, if a tad predictable, and is supported by some genuine emotionally tense subject matter.
The Bad: The serious tone of the film was shattered by a few ill-conceived goofball comedic moments. They were probably added in an effort to lighten the mood as the filmmakers felt that maybe things were getting too intense. In my opinion these scenes detracted from the impact of the story as a whole.
The Overall Ugly: Overall, a laudable effort. If you're a Chan fan I don't think you'll be disappointed. Maybe even overjoyed to see a slight return to his more serious side, one that we haven't seen since the late eighties. The Accidental Spy may be hit and miss with novices who are more accustomed to his cornball Hollywood image.
What it's Worth: Not to take anything away from the film itself but Buena Vista really gives the viewer no reason to pay more than ten dollars, so that's what I'll put its monetary value at.