January 15, 2010
Jackie Chan is 'The Spy Next Door'
Asian superstar Jackie Chan stars in a new action-comedy bound to give people countless laughs. This is his return to Hollywood after the groundbreaking Forbidden Kingdom he starred in with fellow Asian biggie Jet Li. This time around, the 'protector' is an inactive spy who suddenly finds himself reluctantly in for another mission challenging his espionage skills and high hopes of becoming stepdad to his girlfriends' kids.
Lions Gate Films found Jackie Chan the right act for The Spy Next Door as he sensibly fits the role of Bob Ho, an undercover CIA super spy who chooses to settle down with his next-door girlfriend Gillian (Amber Valletta). He spies no more as he focuses himself to win the hearts of his girlfriend's 3 children from a previous relationship—a requirement set by the latter before she agrees to marry him.
When Gillian got scheduled to leave town, Bob seizes the opportunity to babysit her cleverly smart kids. One of these little mischiefs mistakenly downloads a top-secret formula off his computer files. Then Bob's arch-enemy, a Russian terrorist at that, discovered this and readies for attack.
With that, the 'Spy who loves Gillian' has no choice but to switch on the action button, without setting aside his more challenging role as a babysitter. Chan's knack for comedy since Snake In The Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master has proved he is one of the more bankable stars in the world today. He is one of the very few Asian acts who can do well with properly done Hollywood-ish pictures.
Here's my take: The movie is quite good but not the best Jackie Chan movie around, the inner Jackie Chan fan in you will not be satisfied. Less action, more on slapstick comedy. If you already watched Vin Diesel's Pacifier (2005) then you will noticed that this film is patterned after that. I hate the sound effect, it's like watching a Pinoy made gag show.
There is some good thing though, like that cute 4-year-old girl named Nora played by Alina Foley and of course those bloopers & outtakes at the end of the movie which is already a tradition on all Jackie Chan flicks.
Directed by Brian Levant and to be released locally by Viva International Pictures, The Spy Next Door also stars George Lopez, Lucas Till, and celebrity dad Billy Ray Cyrus. The movie opens nationwide on January 15 (Friday).
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