I -Spy
Columbia/Tri-Star // PG-13 // November 1, 2002
Review by Todd Siechen | posted November 5, 2002
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Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy team up to look for an invisible top-secret airplane in the re-make of "I Spy". Owen plays secret agent Alexander Scott, who is always being handed the third rate spy jobs and passed over by Carlos (brilliantly played by Gary Cole) the elite spy who gets all the coolest gadgets and who is adored by all the women. Unfortunately Carlos is barely seen in the film, but when he does appear it brought out the largest laughs. Eddie Murphy plays Kelly Robinson, the professional boxer who the president needs to help bring the spys closer to the villains in order to retrieve the invisible airplane. Malcomb McDowell plays Gundars, the all-too obvious villain who also leaves the audience wondering if hollywood has just run out of ways to create original new personalities for the bad guys. McDowell is capable of so much more when given the material to work with, but here our villain is simply wrapped up in McDowell's face and expected to buy him as the main bad guy.

Comedy duos seem to be one of the last frontiers for hollywood and they picked two great talents here to team up into a movie made from a 60's TV series. Unfortunately this film wastes the talents of both Murphy and Wilson and instead churns out lots of boiler plate action scene after action scene as if someone was writing the script in their sleep. The relationship between Murphy and Wilson starts out great and seems to have a lot of momentum to build on early in the film, and gets even more interesting when Rachel (played by Famke Janssen) shows up and Scott has a crush on her but has a hard time admitting it. The second half of the film leaves us shaking our heads in wondering what happened to all the great dialog between our two heros. Instead we get more action, more chase scenes, and more dry special effects.

This film seemed underdeveloped and half finished. We have two great proven talents in duo teams here. Owen Wilson who teamed up with Jackie Chan in the film "Shanghai Noon", and who will be reprising his role as Roy O'Bannon again in the sequel "Shanghai Knights" with Chan again in the 2003. Eddie Murphy who helped define buddy duo movies with the smash hit "48 Hours" with Nick Nolte in 1982, does a great job here when given the chance, but the action often leaves both of them out in the cold where no one can hear the laughter - because there isn't any. I never saw the 60's TV series I spy, but the word on the street is that there is no resemblence to this new film.

Summary: In a sea of mediocre action/comedy buddy films, this film lands smack dab in the middle of them and will soon be forgotten. If you have to see it then wait for the DVD to rent. At least then there may be some expanation for why this film saw the light of day, but I doubt it.

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