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  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English
  Extras

    The Accidental Spy (Rental)

    Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 83 mins . M15+ . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    How can you not like Jackie Chan? For our entertainment, he willingly flings himself off buildings, dives head first into cars, jumps over cliffs, crashes through windows and uses furniture like deadly weapons. And he doesnít use stunt doubles. Jackie Chan is his own stunt double. Jackie Chan is absolutely frigging nuts!

    The guy is 48 years old, but he looks and moves like heís 16. Iím in my early 30s and I pulled three muscles just watching the film. Sure, heís probably broken nearly every bone in his body about a dozen times, but for some insane reason he keeps going out and doing it again.

    And I for one am glad he does. Sure, not everything he does is gold. Heís got the odd dud under his belt, but heís also got the odd gem in there as well. And regardless of what he does, everyone in the whole world still loves him. Itís true, I asked. They all said ďWe love Jackie, regardless of what he does.Ē

    This time around, old rubber bones is a spy. But not just any old spy, heís The Accidental Spy. He wasnít always The Accidental Spy. He used to be just A Guy. Then he became The Sales Guy. Then he discovered he had really good intuition. So he became The Intuitive Sales Guy. But as exciting as it sounds, The Intuitive Sales Guy probably wouldnít have made a very interesting film...

    ďJackie Chan IS The Intuitive Sales Guy! Watch him get a gut feeling that the cash register is dangerously low in small change! See him have a wild hunch that a customer wonít pay the retail price! Youíll be amazed when he canít shake the feeling that the staff percolator is out of coffee!Ē

    Acting with Jackie, I see Ben Affleck as the evil Toy Department Manager, maybe Marisa Tomei as the checkout chick/love interest and William Shatner as the demented wino who comes into the store every day asking for a spare dollar for food.

    Insert a fight and some stunts every five minutes, and The Intuitive Sales Guy would be every bit as good as The Accidental Spy. Now Iím not saying that Jackieís film isnít good or anything, itís just that in-between the fighting, stunts and flippity-floppity body popping limbs akimbo action, the story just seems to confuse, bore and frustrate with inane dialogue, sudden leaps in time and a drawn out plot.

    Storywise, Jackie plays a sales guy in a fitness shop. One day, using his infallible intuition, he foils a robbery and makes the news. A private investigator tells him that his father who gave him up for adoption wants to meet him. Jackie finds him dying in a military hospital and is told if he plays a little game heíll inherit all his money. Afterwards, heís also told by a reporter that his father was a double agent involved in a super drug deal gone wrong. Jackie follows the clues left by his Pop and uncovers what the good guys and the bad guys are both after. Along the way he falls in love, kicks some arse and saves the world. Same old same old.

    Lame story, eh? Try watching it! But hey, this is Jackie Chan, forget the storyline, what you came for was the fight scenes and the stunts and maybe the girls in tight black leather outfits. The fight scenes are good, but thereís nothing so special about any one of them that you'll be raving. Jackie is his usual flexible self, sliding and flipping and twisting and turning and bending and swinging and kung-fuing his way out of trouble, but the scenes are usually too short and nowhere near as inventive as he has been in the past. Which isnít to say that heís not still damn impressive. Itís just that Jackie has raised the bar so high, I donít think even he can jump it any more. Stunts are the same deal, nothing really leaping out of the screen at you and making you poop your pants.

    And we all know that a good pants pooping is what is needed in cinema these days to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

    None of this means that Iíd be looking to pick a fight with Jackie. If I was armed with guns, knives and a surface to air missile, heíd still kick my arse six ways to Sunday. No, Jackie is still da man. I bow down to anyone who can defend himself against six goons with guns using just a soggy tea towel and a telephone bill.

    But, and I say this most respectfully, the overall film is simply not funny/dramatic/action enough to make it any more than a maybe rental film at best, if nothing better is available.

    Sorry Jackie. Please spare my life. I strained a muscle in my head just writing this review...

      Video
    Contract

    However, to make up for my disinterest in the film, Iím happy to say that I have no such qualms with the look of the picture. Fire it up and youíll notice right from the opening frames that it has that nice appealing look of film that I love when I go to the cinema. Itís just about perfect in all respects. Clarity is very good, there are a few very brief few lapses in focus, but nothing irritating and defects in the print are very rare. The transfer hasnít thrown any spanners in the works worth noting. Colour-wise the image is bright and natural, with plenty of detail resolved in the darker recesses.

      Audio
    Contract

    Very good, but the only audio option is a dubbed English 5.1 track. It sounds great and all makes fair use of the speakers, so if you can live with watching people constantly speak out of synch with the movement of the actors' lips, youíll be fine However, it does at least sound like Jackie has overdubbed his own voice, so thatís OK. If you look beyond this little sore point, you wonít find much else to complain about. The speakers can come to life when things get a little more active on screen, with things whizzing about and a good broad sound booming out. The levels at the commencement of the action are probably a little too loud compared to the normal levels, the volume jump being a little excessive, but the quality of the mix is good and the sound reproduced well, even if the dub and foley work does sound a little exaggerated at times.

      Extras
    Contract

    In his enthusiasm, Jackie flying-kicked the extras off the disc.

      Overall  
    Contract

    Jackie is one of the most likeable characters in film today, and he really does come across as someone who just wants to entertain us by jumping around the screen like a lunatic. Who can fault that? He does it so well, and for his age to be in the shape he is, well, darn it, heís a legend.

    Part of the fault with the story must lay with the fact that this seems to have been cut by about 20 minutes from the original version. I donít know why, or what was taken, but it couldnít have helped any.

    It left me wanting more action, better fights and either a better story or no story at all. The transfer didnít leave me wanting anything, itís great.


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      And I quote...
    "Jackie Chan, the human Energiser Bunny, is at it again in an average formula action film on a barebones rental disc."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB1070
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale WH-2
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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