Plot: What’s it about?
Jackie (Jackie Chan) is a good person and does well as an exercise equipment salesman, but he isn’t too aggressive, to say the least. But as he pushes ahead with this career, he trains in the field of martial arts and at some point, he would love to become a police officer. But as he is usually not too assertive, he thinks this might be a mere pipe dream, though he is unaware of what grand adventures await him. As a local bank is being robbed, Jackie decides to be dormant no more and intervenes, stopping the crooks in the process. It is then that he is noticed by an investigator (Eric Tsang), who believes Jackie could be the long lost son of a high level Korean spy, who happens to be on his deathbed. Once he meets the old man, he is drawn into a world of gadgets, secret agents, and above all else, constant danger. Can even Jackie manage to survive this string of dangerous events, let alone put an end to the bad guys’ tactics?
I’m always pleased to see more Jackie Chan movies on DVD, but as per usual, Dimension (a.k.a. Disney) has decided to ruin what could have been a good release. Yes, we’re given a nice new anamorphic transfer, but that’s about all that’s positive here, as Dimension has hacked & altered this picture to no end. To start off, Dimension has dubbed in English voices throughout, instead of giving us the original languages, plus they must have disliked the original musical soundtrack, as they’ve replaced that also. As if all this wasn’t enough, Dimension then went on to cut over twenty minutes of scenes, including some that impact the main storyline, as well as smaller subplots, supporting characters, and such. I know this is not Chan’s best movie, but come on Dimension, every film deserves to be seen as the filmmakers intended. I recommend those interested to turn to an import, region free edition, which includes the proper soundtrack, the uncut version of the film itself, plus a DTS audio option. As Dimension has ruined the movie in this release however, stay as far away from this disc as you can manage. I do hope that Dimension comes to its senses though, as this butchering of Asian films need to be stopped, without question.
I’d rank Jackie Chan as one of my all time favorite performers, as he is able to deliver the goods time in and time out. I haven’t been all that taken with his recent American projects however, as he seems to be playing second fiddle to lesser talents, like Chris Tucker and Owen Wilson. Then again, the years have started to catch up with Chan and by turn, he has altered his style somewhat, though he still entertains. In The Accidental Spy, Chan is able to open up his style more and use more of his old school tactics, though the film falls short of his top tier efforts. He gives his usual likable, highly enjoyable performance however, including a number of stunt sequences, a couple of which rank close to the top of his more recent works. Other films with Chan include Drunken Master, Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, Rush Hour, Who Am I?, Mr. Nice Guy, and Police Story. The cast also includes Eric Tsang (Hitman, Supercop 2), Vivian Hsu (Angel Heart, Dragon from Shaolin), and Glory Simon (Who Am I?, Chuck & Buck).
Video: How does it look?
The Accidental Spy is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a solid looking visual effort, though it isn’t quite as impressive as expected, given some of Dimension’s previous work on Asian pictures. The print is in terrific condition however, with minimal signs of grain and debris, which is good news. I also found colors and contrast to be quite good, with no errors to report, while detail remains high at all times. I did some flaws here and there, but in the end, this is a good looking overall presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track is solid in terms of technical merits, but Dimension’s tinkering winds up spoiling a potential high score. This is because while the dialogue is supposed to be a mixture of English, Cantonese, and some other assorted languages, Dimension has dubbed English over all the vocals, which just plain sucks. In addition, the new musical soundtrack seems out of place and makes me lower the score even more. This is a shameful outing from Dimension, who should learn to leave movies as the filmmakers intended, instead of ruining them like they’ve done with The Accidental Spy. This disc also includes a French language option, as well as English subtitles, should you need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.