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Featured DVD Review: The Accidental Spy

September 18th, 2011

The Accidental Spy - Buy from Amazon

The Accidental Spy was made in 2001 and was a hit in its native market earning $4 million, more or less, which was enough to become the third biggest Hong Kong hit of the year. Jackie Chan is one of the most reliable box office draws in that market, but recently he's also starred in a number of films that failed to win over critics. Is this movie only worth checking out for his fans? Will it have more mainstream appeal? Or is it just a miss?

The Movie

The film begins in Turkey with a journalist and her crew reporting on the state of the country. In some ways, modernization has left it behind, but with the help of biotechnology, crop production should grow and help lift the nation into prosperity. At least that's what they were planning on covering. Instead they seemed to have walked into a terrorist attack and are killed, along with the biotech scientists.

The film then switches focuses to Hong Kong, where Jackie Chan plays Jackie, a salesmen at a floundering exercise equipment store. When a rich couple comes in for some exercise equipment, he sells them a cheaper option, which infuriates his boss. On his lunch break, he gets one of his bursts of intuition and realizes the bank is about to be robbed and heroically stops the robbers and returns the money. After being interviewed by the media about his heroics, he's approached by Many Liu, a private eye. Many Liu has been hired by an mysterious employer to find his son, which he gave up shortly after he was born back in 1958. The man is dying and wants to see his son one more time before that happens. Jackie might be his son. He was born in the right year, given up to an orphanage at the right time, and he has something special about him. Jackie never knew his father and grew up in an orphanage, but does have a vague memory of his parents that includes a cross necklace they used to dangle over him. When he meets this mystery man, the man is wearing the cross.

After his initial meeting with his could be father, Jackie learns from a reporter, Carmen Wong, that the old man was a very skilled spy in a long line of spies, which might explain Jackie's intuition. However, the old man was also a double agent for the North and South Korean governments. Before he dies, the old man gives Jackie the cross and tells him it is the first clue in a game, and if he follows the clues, it will prove he's his son and will inherit a vast fortune. The first clue takes him to Turkey.

It also takes us into spoiler territory.

Jackie Chan was in his late 40s when this film was made, and his age is starting to show. The stunts were not as acrobatic and there were far more cuts in the action scenes, both of which took away some of the awe these scenes usually generate. As a way to compensate, the film has a much more complex plot involving secret agents, secret identities, double-agents, and many twists. Unfortunately, this backfires somewhat, as the film gets bogged down in plot rather than elevated by the action. To be fair, there are still several great action scenes, including a humorous fight in an Istanbul marketplace and the climactic stunt aboard a tanker truck. It's not a terrible movie, it's better than its Tomatometer Score, but its is still a below average effort by Jackie Chan.

The Extras

There are no extras on this DVD.

The Verdict

If you are a fan of Jackie Chan, then The Accidental Spy is worth checking out. It's probably in the bottom third in his career, but it still provides enough entertainment over the roughly 90-minute running time. The DVD has no extras so for most it will be worth just a rental. On the other hand, it only costs $7 and it is hard to beat that price.


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