Review: The Spy Next Door
PLOT: Bob Ho (Jackie Chan) is a Chinese secret agent on loan to the CIA, who decides to retire in order to spend more time with his girlfriend, Gillian (Amber Valetta). When she's forced to leave town due to a family emergency- Ho's left in charge of her three bratty kids, all of whom think he’s a total square. After one of the kids accidentally downloads a top secret code containing a formula that could destroy the world's oil supply, they find themselves the target of a bumbling Russian terrorist.
REVIEW: Well folks, here it is. Here is the absolute nadir of Jackie Chan's career. To all of you who thought it couldn't get any worse after THE TUXEDO, THE MEDALLION, AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS, RUSH HOUR 3, or THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM, prepare to be amazed by Jackie's latest Hollywood crapfest.
To call this a bad film would not be doing it justice. It's truly a spectacularly wretched piece of shit. It's so bad that I would rather endure a double feature of THE UGLY TRUTH and ALL ABOUT STEVE than have to sit through this again. Now, I know a lot of you are going to wonder why I'm being so hard on a film that's obviously geared towards children. What bothers me is that, for some reason, everyone thinks it's OK to make a bad film, just as long as it's for kids, as they'll sit through anything, right?
That's obviously the rationale behind this film, which is basically a remake of THE PACIFIER (it's such a blatant rip-off that I'm surprised Disney hasn't sued), but- you know, not as good. Now don't get me wrong, THE PACIFIER was junk, but compared to this, it's CASABLANCA! I really don't understand what made Jackie sign on to do this. Maybe the producers had some incriminating photos or something, but THIS IS BAD!!!
What's particularly annoying about this film is that Jackie Chan's never given the opportunity to actually be Jackie Chan! The fight scenes are few and far between, and they're so clumsily shot, and undemanding of Chan that you have to wonder why he was hired in the first place? Meanwhile, Jackie really struggles with his English dialogue throughout, and some of his line readings are really bad. As for his kiddie co-stars, well- considering their age, you can't really blame them for the film's failure. Suffice to say, they all come off as unbelievably bratty and annoying.
The only time there's ever any life in this film is during a quick, pre-credits montage of footage from some of Jackie's earlier films. It probably wasn't too good of an idea to include this, as it only serves to remind us how far Jackie's career has fallen in the U.S. in recent years, and this is bad enough that I really think it might be the final nail in his coffin as far as American films are concerned.
Still, that may not be such a bad thing. You see, while in the States he's stuck doing a film that's so cheap, the best co-star they could hire for him was Billy Ray Cyrus, back in Hong Kong, he's still churning out decent films. NEW POLICE STORY, and THE SHINJUKU INCIDENT are both strong films, and his latest, LITTLE BIG GENERAL sounds promising. Chan's already in his mid-fifties, and probably doesn't have much time left as an action star, and he should really focus his attention on films that will maintain his legacy, and not destroy it. THE SPY NEXT DOOR is a film to be avoided all at costs, even if you're the world's biggest Jackie Chan fan. Watching it will only depress you, and I hope Jackie himself realizes what a waste of his talents this truly is.
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