Christian Movie Interviews, News and Reviews

I-Spy Movie Review

<i>I-Spy</i> Movie Review

Genre:  Action, Adventure, Comedy

Rating:  PG-13 (for action violence, some sexual content and language)

Release Date:  November 1, 2002

Actors:  Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen, Malcolm McDowell, Gary Cole, Viv Leacock, Phill Lewis, Darren Shahlavi, Blake Lirette

Director:  Betty Thomas

Special Notes:  Betty Thomas was a female cop on the old television series "Hill Street Blues" before she became a director.

Plot:  When an Air Force stealth bomber dubbed "the switchblade" is missing, America's safety is at risk so the CIA turns to their special agent Alex Scott (Wilson) for help.  Alex has only one shot at getting near the arms dealer (McDowell) who is selling the switchblade to the highest bidder.  That one shot is by way of a visit from the undefeated middle-weight champion Kelly Robinson (Murphy) who's traveling to Europe for a special match.  Along the way Alex has a hard time convincing the cocky, self-absorbed fighter that their special mission is more important than Kelly Robinson's fight or reputation.  As the situation heats up--so does Alex's feelings for a fellow spy (Janssen) and ultimately it's up to the two heroes to save the day.

Good:  If you're a fan of Murphy and Wilson, you'll enjoy the pairing of these two as "spy" partners.  These two are perfect together and have never been funnier!  There's a scene where Murphy instructs Wilson on how to romantically woo a woman by giving him tips through an electronic device in his ear.  When Wilson recites the words to "Sexual Healing" as romantic dialogue--it is funny!  Wilson's strongest acting talent is his ability to play the "everyday" man who can be both hero and klutz at the same time.  Even as a spy his self-conscious mannerisms and human frailties make his character lovable, relatable, and less of a cardboard character.  Murphy's strongest and funniest when he plays cocky and know-it-all.  His performance of a self-absorbed champion fighter went beyond the typical stereotype because he included hilarious idiosyncrasies that self-mock the "black boxer" ego, and it worked.  The story works because of the fantasy "spy" scenarios and an action plot that's pure entertainment, but the real reason to see this movie is for the stars themselves. These roles were made for Murphy and Wilson and they, in turn, make this movie work!

Bad:  Because this is an action/adventure/comedy with a PG-13 rating that makes it look "kid friendly", parents may be fooled into thinking its "okay" for their kids but it's not.  The abundant use of the "s" word and other language as well as sexual dialogue and some violence, make it more for mature teens to adults to enjoy.  There are no actual sexual situations but there is a scene where there's kissing, caressing and plenty of dialogue.  The violence consists of lots of explosions, a couple of boxing scenes, and a few fight scenes between characters.  Men are shot by spies and the bad guys, but nothing is graphic.

Bottom Line:  I enjoyed this movie, because of the wonderful chemistry between these two hilarious actors and the fact that I laughed all the way through it!  I bet we see an I-Spy 2 because as we all know, when Hollywood finds something that works it sticks with it.  And this formula and these two stars definitely worked!