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The Accidental Spy (2001)

Dak miu mai shing, Te wu mi cheng (Mandarin title)

He should never have gotten involved

Directed by:

Teddy Chan

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 83 minutes

UK Certificate: 12A

On DVD

Country: Hong Kong

Despite enjoying considerable success down Hollywood way, Jackie Chan has never quite been able to bring himself to close the door on his native Hong Kong. Every now and then he returns to his homeland to please the locals with a big-screen corker, with ‘Accidental Spy’ the latest to make it over here – albeit in straight-to-video format.

It’s a pity movies like this one are given such little opportunity to reach audiences on either UK or US shores, particularly as it’s so much better than the likes of The Tuxedo. That’s not to say that ‘Accidental Spy’ is some sort of marvel, because it’s not. The plot seems hugely contrived, there’s a dramatic change in tone around halfway through (which left me wondering who the target audience are), and there’s a larger-than-life climax which is every bit as nonsensical as it is impressive. But the film is still enjoyable enough to hold its own amongst some of the dross we have to put up with in mainstream cinema. Undercover Brother, anyone?

Chan brings his usual array of jaw-dropping stunts and wonderfully choreographed Kung Fu to the part of Buck Yuen (though, strangely, he’s referred to simply as “Jackie Chan” throughout most of the movie). He’s the inexplicably agile gym equipment salesman who, after being reunited with his long-lost pop, becomes embroiled in an international drug-growing plot. Before you can say “far-fetched”, he’s helping out the CIA and dodging bullets left, right and centre.

Running at just 83 minutes, parts of the movie seem rushed and various plot progressions appear to have been abruptly edited out. In fact, a full 25 minutes have gone missing somewhere between the original Hong Kong release and this Region 2 DVD edition, resulting in some confusing gaps in the story.

But the film is worth seeing if only for the brilliant final 20 minute action sequence in which Chan attempts to help out the occupants of a flaming gasoline tanker as it careers through the city streets unable to stop. Think Speed, only better. The fact that the whole scene has practically nothing to do with the rest of the movie seems almost unimportant.

It's Got: Jackie incorporating everything from hospital equipment to a fleet of Turkish taxi cabs to chortlesome public nudity into his typically inventive fight scenes.

It Needs: An older-looking actor to play Jackie’s dad.

DVD Extras None included. DVD Extras Rating: 0/10

Alternatives:

Rush Hour, The Tuxedo

Summary

It’s stupid, but it’s also decent entertainment – and anyone who considers themselves an action movie fan MUST see the truck sequence. No excuses.

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