Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Dir: Jay Roach
Star: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Robert Wagner, Michael York, Mimi Rogers
Cert / Year: 15 - PG-13 / 1997
Format: DVD R2

After awakening from a cryogenic sleep which started in the swinging sixties, top British secret agent Austin Powers (International Man of Mystery) (Mike Myers) must do battle once again with his arch nemesis, the wicked Dr.Evil (Mike Myers) in order to save the world....... and shag the girl, baby yeah! But, the Swedish made penis enlarger is not his...... he doesn't know what one is..... and they are not his bag... baby

It was inevitable really, and only a matter of time before someone made a spy film parody. Especially one which so openly draws upon the James Bond movies and the classic British television shows of the 60s and 70s for its inspiration. Austin Powers is a fun and wholesome parody of the whole spy and espionage genre, not to mention the entire "swinging sixties" as a phenomena. This is of course in addition to some less than thinly veiled parodies of quintessential spy James Bond. There are certain characters from the Bond movies that have had a reworking and crop up during the film and are, I have to say, a blatant mickey take, on early Bond villains/characters. For example the main protagonist here Doctor Evil, bears more than a passing resemblence to Donald Pleasance's "Blofeld" from You Only Live Twice whilst combining some cheesy quirks of certain other baddies, not to mention his white cat now known as "Mr. Bigglesworth". Doctor Evil's bodyguard and henchman is called "Random Task" whose modus operandi is hurling his shoe at his unwitting victim, whilst looking incidentally remarkably similar to a certain bowler hat flinging bad guy called "Odd Job". The spoofing doesn't stop there and even Honor Blackman's classic character "Pussy Galore" gets a subtle reworking, with the pneaumatic assistance of Fabiena Udenio as she plays...... Alotta Fagina. Subtle as a kick to the happy sacks, the film hurls cliche after cliche before deviously reworking and exploiting it to great humorous effect.

"Do I make you horny baby?"

The film is exceptionally well written by Mike Myers who has obviously watched far too much British television from the sixties and seventies i.e; The Avengers, Jason King etc. Not that it is a bad thing as the film has innumerable references and in-jokes to many of the classic cult series and movies. A great many of the 60's and 70's espionage thrillers are given the "treatment" in some way or another and many of the "gags" and skits are recognisable. The general inspiration has obviously been fuelled by the irksome 1967 film Casino Royale which starred David Niven as James Bond in a quite surreal rendition of the Ian Fleming novel. Myers draws on and utilises elements such as the Burt Bacharach cameo appearance and for later films a certain obese, child eating Scotsman who also first appeared in Casino Royale. Although the general over the top baffoonery is very Casino Royale (sans red indian and cavalry ending), Myers manages to inject it with his own brand of camp tomfoolery which works well. Even this films "tagline" of International Man of Mystery can be attributed to Casino Royale.

"Oh behave"

A reasonable cast with Mike Myers fulfilling the roles of Dr. Evil and Austin Powers superbly well and he is hilarious as both. The styling is clever and subtle with Austin Powers' dress sense appearing a cross between Jason King and Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen whilst his thick rimmed glasses are very Michael Caine and his hairy chest (shaped like an inverted penis) is very Sean Connery. This bizarre combination of traits is finished off by a liberal dose of the sheer hapless luck of Maxwell Smart, yes all the elements are there for you to have a darn good laugh. The excellent Michael York is terribly funny as Basil Exposition, the dim witted head of British Intelligence and manages to steal a couple of scenes whilst giving away half of the plot. A good ensemble of "baddies" who put in some cool performances, including Seth Green as Dr. Evil's surprise offspring Scott. There are a really fun set of cameo performances, from Carrie Fisher, Rob Lowe (pre Number 2 role in film number 2: The Spy who Shagged me) and Tom Arnold crops up as well. Hats off to Robert Wagner as he is hilarious as Dr. Evil's scheming second in command known only as "Number 2", and he is very reminiscent of Adolfo Celi who of course played the original eyepatch wearing "Number 2" in Thunderball. Wagner is good but it is not until the sequel that "Number 2" really develops into a better character (with the help of Rob Lowe). The female lead however is not I'm afraid, a good choice. Elizabeth Hurley is a wooden and vaccuous acting non-entity as usual, and her only saving grace here is a series of "clever" costume changes and the fact that anything would look good next to the over the top Myers in crushed velvet and frilly cravat. She was a poor choice to be honest and there are plenty of better actresses out there who could have fulfilled this role, still there are worse things to look at I suppose.

"Groovy baby, yeah!"

Overrall Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is an ingenious parody and a very funny and clever spoof of the 60s and spy movies. I have to admit, I had thought that "National Lampoon" would do one first, but I think Myers has done a better job than they would have and this also works far better than the terrible Spy Hard which starred Leslie Nielsen. There are some good gags in there and even though most of the jokes are rather dumb and corny you just can't help laughing at them, primarily because they are so dumb. Most of the humour is at base level and the film occasionally dips into the gutter for a few gags now and again but on the whole the package does work quite well. There are a few easily overlooked flaws, not including some terrible British stereotyping which as usual is woefully inaccurate. Of the three Austin Powers movies, I do think that this is the wittiest and the funniest as it has a sharp and humourous script which doesn't rely upon tired old fart and knob gags, which American humourists just can't successfully grasp. Despite the rampant silliness and over the top flouncy style, this is nonetheless a refreshing and thoroughly entertaining movie, plenty of laughs and giggles along the way.

"There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum.... I suggest you try it"


If he were any cooler, he'd still be frozen, baby!


Dr Evil: I will destroy the earth unless you give me...ONE MILLION DOLLARS!

Austin: Shall we shag now or later baby?

Rating: 4 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Widescreen Good quality "shagadelic" image
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 A groovy mix
Features Bland semi-animated menu
Very funny audio Commentary by Mike Myers & Jay Roach
Cast Biographies & Filmographies
Five Deleted Scenes - including 2 Alternative Endings
Special Cameo Menu - Links direct to cameo appearances
Original Theatrical Trailer
Verdict Not a bad disc at all. There are some amusing bits on here and a good presentation, a small featurette might have been nice.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Link Back Top Home