Martial Arts
The Accidental Spy
Dir: Teddy Chan
Star: Jackie Chan, Vivian Hsu, Min-jeong Kim, Hsing-kuo Wu
Cert / Year: PG13 / 2002
Format: DVD R1

Jackie works in a sports equipment store, and is just an ordinary guy. That is until he stumbles into a bank heist and foils the robbery. The resultant publicity highlights him to a private detective looking for the long lost son of a dying Korean spy. Jackie travels to Korea to discover that he is the spy's son, and what's more he has a large inheritance. But first he must solve a series of clues to check his worthiness. This is complicated when two gangs of criminals start fighting to steal his inheritance from him. Has Jackie got what it takes to become a spy and claim this deadly inheritance?

Oh yes Jackie Chan films they are Kung-Fu Comedies aren't they? I mean he's getting old so they aren't as good as they used to be. Modern insurance restrictions mean that he is not allowed to do his own stunts and that they have to be toned down replaced by more comedy. WRONG! This is a modern Jackie Chan film, but in terms of style it harks back to some of his best work. What's more it is something different, having little comedy and a much darker tone.

Lets start with the fights. Which are excellent. Freed from the constraints of American film insurance the action is back to some of the most impressive Jackie Chan has ever done. The fight in the confines of a lift is a great opener, but this only leads to better things. Real standouts include the hospital room fight, and the taxi fight. However naked fight in the market is one of the cleverest choreographed fights ever seen (imagine the naked Austin Powers scene but as a fast paced martial arts battle). In short if you are a fan of Chan's martial arts you will be more than happy; others will just be stunned by his skill.

The stunts match the fighting skills on show. If riding a construction crane through a skyscraper is not enough. There is the destruction of a fishing village and the outstanding final stunt (I won't ruin it by telling you). No CGI here these are real stunts on a massive scale, Hollywood would do well to learn from this. If a stunt is real it is move believable and therefore has more impact, compare the stunts here to Mission Impossible 2 and see what I mean for yourselves.

As mentioned near the top of the review this film has a darker tone than many other Jackie Chan movies. While this has annoyed some of his fans, it has allowed for one of the most complicated and best developed plots in any of his movies. Jackie proves he is a fine actor capable of a more serious role (although occasionally he just can't help himself introducing comedy elements during the fights). Personally I find this attempt at a change in direction a welcome one. The plot is very good (if not in true Hong Kong style a little muddled in places) and really adds to the watchability of the film.

It is good to see Jackie Chan returning back to his Hong Kong cinema roots, and in the process proving he is still capable of the action that has made him such a star. New comers to his movies or lovers of action movies should give this a go as it is really very good, possibly one of his best films of recent years. The old guard of Chan fans will appreciate his return to earlier form, but may lament the lack of comedy. Overall The Accidental Spy has some brilliant martial arts, fantastic stunts all played against a series of stunning locations. It has a great plot and one greatest stars of Hong Kong cinema of all time. In short forget Rush Hour 2 this is a real Jackie Chan movie, so go and watch it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Well up to modern standards
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 English Dubbing is of a high standard and the soundtrack is very good.
Features Various Trailers
Verdict Picture and sound are very good. Lack of the original Cantonese soundtrack and English subtitles is a bit of a loss, and the complete lack of extras is reprehensible.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home