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Review The Accidental Spy Original title: Dak mo mai sing (2001): Not bad, but not something I can recommend!

genre: espionage, action, adventure, crime

For some reason, I always thought that The Accidental Spy was one of Jackie Chan's American films and had this confused with The Tuxedo. It wasn't uncommon for studios to change up titles for his older work. So never thought that much of it until I read some comments about this film. Apparently he made this in-between Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights. And while this should have been better than those two, this doesn't fare that much better.

It's like his heart wasn't in it. It's also too serious for a Jackie Chan film, without giving you the substance to go along with the drama. I mean, there is some, but it's forced and convenient. Vivian Hsu, definitely ramps up the tragedy, only you can sense it doesn't belong in this film. I certainly wasn't having it. But OK, serious Jackie Chan I can live with, however, he also is barely kicking ass like his usual self, this is unforgivable. I get that he already was at an age where a lot of the dangerous stunt work and acrobatics would get harder to do, but Jackie Chan of today has shown he still can do incredible things. So what was going on? It's therefore not surprising that the best moments in the film are the ones where his usual tomfoolery in the action sequences take precedence. I am talking about the scene where Jackie Chan's character flees a Turkish bathhouse and ends up naked.

The final action sequence is Speed like and tonally mesmerizing. What were they thinking? Mind you, I think Jackie Chan of today would be a fantastic choice in a disaster flick but back then? It's not what we wanted from Jackie. To be fair, I did like it. It simply doesn't mesh with the rest of the film or what Jackie Chan usually does. Even in his older films, there was more coherency than what we are exposed to here.

Jackie Chan himself has stated that he considers The Accidental Spy to be better than any of his Rush Hour films. If I had to guess, it's because they did restrict Jackie Chan to do his style of action and his English was so incredibly poor that he probably must have thought the audience would hate him. I understand his sentiment, still, this experience has clouded his judgment.  It's been too long for me to say something definitive on this, but I did enjoy the first two Rush Hour far more than this. I will try to revisit those to see how they hold up. For now, The Accidental Spy is not a total loss of time, but it's not one I can recommend either.

*Sidenote: I refuse to use the International poster where they added a black man and blonde woman. Both aren't even in the film. Very likely, they were trying to make it seem they had another Rush Hour on their hands.

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