Accidental Spy (te wu mi cheng)

AccidentalSpyJackie Chan doesn’t deviate much from his action packed filmworks peppered with female interests and exotic locations. The action is well directed by Teddy Chan who uses time lapsed photography and closely cropped shots of the action.

Jackie Chan also served as producer on this movie.

Jackie Chan plays Buck Yuen, and gets to showcase his gymnastic talents playing an exercise equipment salesman (The English dubbed version calls his character, Jackie Chan, which doesn’t respect the story very well). Vivian Hsu plays Yong, a mysterious character who’s actions make more sense as the story unfolds. Other characters, such as a beautiful female posing as a reporter, fill in the information gaps for Buck along the way.

“How do I play this game?” Yuen wonders as he’s gradually engulfed into special circumstances prompted by sudden notoriety from a public event that makes him a hero and his meeting with a local P.I. named Many Lui, played by Eric Tsang. Chan’s performance works well as he concentrates on a different aspect of the screen hero. This time his character’s good nature and sense of goodness develops through the story instead of his quest to find the bad guy. The approach is logical since his character doesn’t want to become involved in the first place. “It’s OK with you that he wants to hurt me?” Yuen asks Yong. “He never takes no for an answer,” she replies when talking about the antagonist boss, named Lee in the English version, who seeks information from Yuen to acquire a special item.

You know Chan can fight but it’s not the entire focus of the story. Antagonists don’t pursue him because his circumstances not because of who he is. The inside joke “if you just learn how to take a fall” represents an important difference between Chan’s famous physical abilities and this inexperienced action hero. Chan makes his actions purposely awkward and gets hurt more because his character can’t instantly adapt physically to his new life situations, thus the title of the movie.

The story works well, but the ending comes too quickly as a certain character is strangely plugged in to awkwardly wrap up the loose ends for the audience which tries to manipulate the audience into satisfaction just because the logic works. A more cohesive ending and deeper characters would’ve helped. Writer Ivy Ho (Gorgeous) assumes the audience will care just because this character was beaten up in a previous scene. The drama falls a bit flat despite mentions of a lost sense of family, living in orphanages and life dreams left unfulfilled. The only drama that works is Jackie’s good morals and desire to help others.

Great action sequences include fights at various locations including an elevator, Chan using umbrellas to escape off a building, and a variety of vehicles used in car chases. Nothing really stands out, but the scenes are well directed and keep the story moving complimented by entertaining physical comedy from Chan during a street chase and another involving defibrillators.

The dubbed English gets unintentional laughs especially when a man laughs during the ending credit outtakes and when a cop barks order in a monotone voice that doesn’t match the intended intensity of the situation. New on video and originally slated for a spring 2002 theatrical release, Accidental Spy comes recommended with reservations and is rated PG-13 for action related violence.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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