Review: THE ACCIDENTAL SPY 特務迷城 (2001) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Review: THE ACCIDENTAL SPY 特務迷城 (2001)

Review: THE ACCIDENTAL SPY 特務迷城 (2001)

Chan plays Buck Yuen, a fitness equipment salesman who has long been daydreaming of wanted to get involved living the exciting and dangerous life of an international spy. His dream has somewhat come true when one day, Buck made headline news after he accidentally stops a gang of bank robbers trying to get away with the money. His celebrity-like moment quickly attracts the attention of Many Liu (Eric Tsang), a low-rent private detective who is seeking help to assist him in a missing person's case. Apparently one of Many's clients is looking for his long-lost son, and he figures that Buck is the perfect guy for the job. Of course, Buck ends up so excited to sign on for the job, where he subsequently being sent to Korea and meet a mysterious man named Mr Park (Joh Young-Kwon). Things get complicated when Buck wonders if Mr Park might be his own father, who has been disappeared ever since he was a child. He then subsequently joins forces with Carmen (Kim Min-Jeong), a beautiful journalist who informs Buck that Mr Park is actually an infamous North Korean espionage agent. When Buck confronts Mr Park, who has suddenly fallen sick. But Mr Park manages to tell him a riddle, that if properly decoded, enable to lead him to a great fortune. As Buck and Carmen attempt to uncover the mystery of Mr Park's final words, their globe-trotting adventures take them to Istanbul, where the fate of millions suddenly depends on Buck especially when he discovers a missing package containing a deadly virus called Anthrax II. The virus is used as a state-of-the-art biological weapon by Mr Zen (Wu Xing-Guo), a ruthless Chinese crime lord who is actually the mastermind of the entire plan. To prevent a global disaster, it's up to Buck and Carmen to save the day.

REVIEW: Reportedly the most expensive motion picture ever produced in Hong Kong cinema (that is HK$200 million which almost identical to 1995's THUNDERBOLT), Jackie Chan's "big" comeback to his homeland in THE ACCIDENTAL SPY marked his first Hong Kong action comedy since appearing in the US filming RUSH HOUR (1998) and SHANGHAI NOON (2000). Despite its huge budget and a would-be fascinating premise involving spy genre, THE ACCIDENTAL SPY is basically a strictly by-the-numbers Jackie Chan movie that isn't as spectacular as what the massive hype has proclaimed after all.

A box office hit in Hong Kong (with a respectable gross of HK$30 million during its release on Chinese New Year season), this big-budget spectacle is mainly wasted over various on-location shoot around the Middle East, which includes Turkey and Istanbul. No doubt the movie does an incredible job of providing spectacular backdrops aided by Horace Wong and William Yim's stunning cinematography. But it hardly matters anyway since fans and viewers alike mostly care to watch how Jackie Chan going to impress them with his trademark stunts. Unfortunately, the stunts are surprisingly average at best (considering its huge budget) and even the much talked-about climactic finale featuring a high-speed tanker chase that "can't-be-allow-to-slow-down-or-it'll-explode" looks like an obvious rip-off from 1994's SPEED. The fight scenes are also standard stuff.

Director Teddy Chan (who was responsible for the entertaining DOWNTOWN TORPEDOES and the awful PURPLE STORM) does most of the hack jobs here, as he rips off every spy formula he can think of. Ivy Ho's screenplay is mostly convoluted, while the acting is average.

THE ACCIDENTAL SPY is sadly a forgettable effort and certainly ranks as among Jackie Chan's least popular movies. Despite that, the movie won 2 Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Action Choreography and Best Film Editing. It also earned two nods for Best Sound Design and Best Visual Effects.

Despite the huge budget and the potentially captivating globe-trotting spy genre, THE ACCIDENTAL SPY is pretty much a substandard Jackie Chan's action vehicle.

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