Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Spy Next Door

In this family-oriented action comedy, Jackie Chan plays an agent of the Chinese Intelligence Service who’s on loan to the CIA. That’s a little far-fetched, I suppose, but it pales next to the fact that his boss is played by George Lopez and one of his fellow agents is Billy Ray Cyrus. Chan’s character wants to retire from spying and marry the beautiful single mom who lives next door to him with her three kids, but he keeps getting drawn back into dangerous assignments. None of this, however, prepares him for the job of playing babysitter to the kids when their mother has to go out of town unexpectedly.

Obviously, this is pretty mild, lightweight fare. Chan is charming, as always, and does a few nice stunts, although age has scaled back what he even attempts anymore. (That’s true for all of us, I expect, even those of us who don’t do fight scenes in movies.) Ah, but the first few minutes of this movie are great, as action-packed clips from some of Chan’s earlier movies play out to the accompaniment of Johnny Rivers singing “Secret Agent Man”, one of my all-time favorite songs. (When it began to play, one of my daughters commented, “I’ve had this song stuck in my head for ten years.” It’s more like forty years for me!)

Whether you watch the rest of the movie is up to you, of course. It’s a pleasant enough way to spend an hour and a half.


Paul Bishop said...

Without question the opening 'secret agent' sequence is worth the price of admission.

James Reasoner said...

Yeah, that part could have been a little longer and it would have been fine with me.

beb said...

I never watched this movie because it looked to be such an obvious rip-off of "The Pacifier." I like "The Pacifier" a lot. It's a good solid "B" as movies go, but it wasn't a good enough of an idea to warrent stealing for Chan. Now I am interested in what he does as the Old Man in the remake of The Karate Kid. (Which is itself confusing because Chan will teach Kung Fu which I understand to be a defense form of fighting instead of karate which is an aggressive forom of fighting.) The movie looks to be a travelogue for or of China. And the choice of Chan as Mr Miyogi wisely admits his age which still letting him pull out of a few showstoppers.