Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson play the Sixties TV show characters in director Betty Thomas’s mild, slackly made 2002 action comedy that runs like a poor copy of a Bond movie.
Wilson is his usual amusingly smarmy self as a silly secret agent Alex Scott, supposedly one of the United States top spies, who recruits cocky boxer World Class Boxing Champion Kelly Robinson (Murphy) to take on slick super-villain Arnold Gundars, one of the world’s most successful illegal arms dealers (Malcolm McDowell, unfortunately overacting wildly), who has stolen the Switchblade, the uber-sophisticated prototype jet stealth fighter, which can become invisible.
It is all amiable and harmless enough, but, with too little action and too few laughs to go round, the open ending suggesting a sequel seems more of a threat than a promise. Murphy, though, is much livelier than of late and Famke Janssen enjoys herself as a sexy spy called Rachel.
The screenplay is by Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley, Jay Scherick, and David Ronn, based on a screen story by Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley, based on the TV characters created by Morton S Fine and David Friedkin.
Also in the cast are Gary Cole, Phill Lewis, Viv Leacock, Keith Dallas, Tate Taylor, Lynda Boyd, Bill Mondy, Larry Merchant and Sugar Ray Leonard.
After tepid business (only $33 million US box office on a $70 million cost), a sequel never materialised.
Original I Spy (1965-1968) stars Bill Cosby and Robert Culp made a movie together after the TV show ended: Hickey & Boggs (1972).
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4207
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