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Movie Review: The Spy Next Door (2010) April 10, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Movie Reviews.
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Growing up, Jackie Chan was one of my movie heroes.  His innovative and comedic action flicks, especially the old Hong Kong classics when he was in his prime, are amongst my favourites of all time.  Which is why it was so upsetting for me to watch his latest, The Spy Next Door.

In this stereotypical, The Pacifier-style set up, Chan plays Bob (horrible name — I loved the old films where he was just called “Jackie”), an undercover superspy who has to look after some bratty little kids belonging to his squeeze, played by Amber Valletta.  I have no idea how this happened, but Billy Ray Cyrus and George Lopez both somehow found themselves on the cast.

Jackie Chan is old.  He has just turned 56, and it showed in The Spy Next Door.  It showed so much it was depressing.  Not only the way he looked (the hair just about killed me), but also the way he moved.  While Jackie still impresses for a man of his age, especially in a few slapstick-style fight scenes where he bounced around like a monkey, he’s a few steps slower and a lot less agile than the man I grew up idolizing.  I’m not even sure if he does his own stunts anymore.  To be honest I’m pretty sure it’s not all him doing those moves.

While it’s unfair to expect Jackie Chan to turn back time, it’s absolutely fair to slag the rest of the film, which is repetitive, annoying, and frankly, very unfunny.  Jackie still has charm, but the script is so lacking he’s essentially handcuffed.  And there’s no Chris Tucker to bail him out this time.

I know The Spy Next Door is targeted almost entirely at children, and particularly young children, but even as such, it’s terrible.

Come on Jackie.  You may be unable to move like you used to, but that shouldn’t mean you have to be stuck doing films like this.

1.5 stars out of 5!

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