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Jackie Chan’s Hollywood movies, family oriented movies
Once again, Jackie Chan battles English... sorry, villains in the new espionage laffer "The Spy Next Door". Jackie Chan stars as Bob Ho (not very original, is it?), a retired CIA agent who finds himself babysitting the neighbour's kids whilst fighting off a Russian terrorist group after one of the kids accidentally downloads a secret code from Bob's computer.
The rest of the cast is a lineup of family-friendly stars, such as Magnus Scheving (Sportacus of LazyTown) as the Russian terrorist leader, Poldark, Billy Ray Cyrus ("Hannah Montana") as fellow CIA operative, Colton James, George Lopez (of TV sitcom "George Lopez") as Glaze, Amber Valletta as Gillian, and of course the children; Farren, Ian and Nora, played by Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley and Alina Foley respectively.
The movie starts off with a nice montage of Jackie Chan's past movies, both Hong Kong and Hollywood, portraying his breathtaking stunt works, played to the theme of "Secret Agent Man". The story and comedy is very family-friendly, not offering much for those who aren't watching this with children, unless they themselves are pre-pubescent. However, audiences should be thrilled and "aw-ed" by the peachy and wittier-than-usual four year old Nora, which is probably the best pairing for Jackie in this movie.
Speaking of pairing, Magnus Scheving does a splendid job of matching the acrobatic stunts of Jackie Chan, which isn't actually very surprising, as he is a famous Icelandic athlete specialising in aerobic gymnastics. The Jackie-Magnus combo gives a fresh, new and "remixed" feel to the typical Hollywood acrobatic stunts and the battle of Bob and Poldark is fairly eye-catching with jumps, spins and rolls all orchestrated in symphony.
However, the rest of the kungfu action is typical Jackie Chan as he fights the bad guys using everyday household items such as pots, pans and plates. The portrayal of the villains is done distastefully in Hollywood-endorsed stereotypical Russian, with the heavy accents and the simple-minded muscular henchmen.
In summary, this is a movie where the good guys AND bad guys are "nice", mixed in with a couple of cornball and goofy jokes. Clearly a family oriented movie meant only for children, and adults with a lot of tolerance and patience.Cinema Online, 15 January 2010