Working at a store that sells exercise equipment, Buck Yuen, dreams of adventure. After thwarting an armed robbery, he is approached by a man who claims to be trying to find men with the same date of birth as Buck; one of them could be the son of a wealthy man in Korea. This man turns out to be a former spy but is now on his deathbed. Giving Buck proof that he is his father and with the opportunity for an adventure, Buck must follow clues in order to complete the old man’s game. The clues lead to Turkey but the game soon becomes more dangerous that Buck had anticipated. Not knowing who he can trust, Buck must get to the bottom of the clues before his enemies can find him.

The Accidental Spy (2001) – Director: Teddy Chan

Is The Accidental Spy appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 108 mins

Starring: Jackie Chan, Vivian Hsu, Hsing-Kuo Wu

Genre: Martial Arts, Thriller

REVIEW

With its exotic locations and plot of espionage and intrigue, ‘The Accidental Spy’ should be an entertaining movie with Jackie Chan’s usual blend of martial arts and comedy thrown into the mix. Sadly, this is a movie which has tried too hard to be taken seriously, creating a confusing story about a man who is much more adept at being a spy than he really ought to be. With the exception of a very Chan-esque scene, there is very little humour on offer here and with the baffling plot, ‘The Accidental Spy’ becomes somewhat of an ordeal to get through. Of course it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have a more serious element but the problem here is it is done is such a flat way. We amble from location to location with no real sense of purpose. Buck’s ‘spying’ is a misnomer. He just escapes being killed a whole bunch of times.

Although there are some fights scenes featuring the kind of fun fisticuffs that you might expect, ‘The Accidental Spy’ actually takes itself far too seriously with a plot involving drug trafficking, murder and terrorism. While not exactly being inappropriate for kids, ‘The Accidental Spy’ is unlikely to keep younger viewers entertained for the entire movie. Indeed, it is perhaps likely to only appeal to the true die-hard Jackie Chan fans out there.

IS ‘THE ACCIDENTAL SPY’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The opening scene of the movie depicts several scientists working at an outdoor lab in Turkey with nearby journalists reporting on what they are doing. The scientists and journalists are then gunned down and killed by a group of men. The blood is minimal and this scene is not in any way gory; the people simply lurch as the bullets hit and then fall to the floor. There are other violent scenes throughout the movie, involving people being punched, kicked and shot. At one point, the bloody body of a man who has just been killed falls on top of a character. The body lands in front of the camera and is on-screen for around 2 seconds.

One scene shows Buck being attacked at a Turkish bath house. He is then chased through the streets of Istanbul, wearing only a towel. This is soon ripped away from him and there are then several shots of his bare bottom. This scene lasts around 3 minutes and Buck has to use several items to cover himself from the front. This is very much done for comedy and is not obscene or sexual in nature.

One character is revealed to be addicted to some kind of drug when track marks are shown on their arm. They are later seen to be suffering the effects of withdrawal and then desperately reach for drugs when they are offered. This doesn’t glamorise drug taking and is shown to be a terrible reality of the life this person leads.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘The Accidental Spy’ is not a movie for kids. It is definitely a movie for adults and even then may not appeal to many. ‘The Accidental Spy’ isn’t a bad film per se but it is a difficult film to enjoy for entertainment value. It lacks the usual Jackie Chan charm and in fact is mostly much more serious than you would expect. In terms of content, this movie should be appropriate for kids aged 8 and over, however we would not recommend it for anyone under 12 as it is unlikely to appeal to anyone younger.

  • Violence:  3/5
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (an established character dies and is mourned by someone who cared for them)
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (a scene towards the end where an oil tanker catches on fire and has to be driven out of the city is quite intense)
  • Sexual Content: 1/5       
  • Bad Language: 2/5 (infrequent uses of mild cursing and blasphemy, a couple of moderate words are also used)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (the villains are quite threatening throughout)  
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of espionage, the effects of taking drugs, the desire for adventure leading you into danger and the dangers of trusting the wrong people.

Words by Laura Record

Accidental Spy [Blu-ray]


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