Actor best seen, not heard

Actor best seen, not heard


By Karly Cox

Whatever you feel about him personally - and he made a lot of enemies in Hong Kong last year when he suggested the city had too much freedom - there's no denying Jackie Chan is a master when it comes to creative stunts.

In The Spy Next Door, Chan plays Bob, a dorky pen salesman who is dating his next-door neighbour Gillian (a surprisingly haggard Amber Valletta). But unbeknown to the single mum, Bob is actually a Chinese super-spy, on loan to the CIA.

Fresh from helping to capture Russian agent Poldark, Bob decides to quit the espionage business so he can focus on Gillian - and more importantly, on persuading her kids to like him.

Of course, the moment he quits, Poldark escapes and wants to exact his revenge on Bob, who is babysitting Gillian's brood.

Chan very effectively uses the children as props in the fights that follow, and it is here that his genius shows. His incredible fighting skills and choreography are almost enough to counteract the dreadful "Russian" accents and frequently bratty children.

It's odd that Chan insists on making English language films when, as he admits in the outtakes, he "hates English". But non-Chinese speakers benefit - visually, at least.

Despite echoing his Hollywood counterpart Arnold Schwarzenegger's Kindergarten Cop, there's enough original material to make it a fun watch.

YP rating: 3/5



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