Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Spy Next Door

Not even Jackie Chan’s ageless kick-stunts (or Amber Valletta) can save this abomination

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 12:00 AM

Old action heroes never die, they just get stuck in witless kiddy fare, often demeaning themselves for a cheap laugh. I can forgive Jackie Chan for about anything, but this is pushing it. 

Chan plays "Bob Ho," a Chinese covert ops ace implausibly on loan to the CIA. Even more implausibly, George Lopez and Billy Ray Cyrus are his best pals in the agency, forming a perfect union of inept line readings. When Ho's not helping his bozo buds raise the security level to orange, he enjoys kicking it with the fetching MILF next door to his safe house, played by the statuesque Amber Valletta, which makes for a really odd couple. Not hip to his real day gig, her trio of yapping kids think Ho's a total and complete nerd. Clearly, these brats have never seen Armor of God or Drunken Master 2

Before you can scream "Oh, Vin Diesel, where are you?", Ho's left alone to babysit, while trying to keep ahead of Russian agents armed with corrosive goo and horrid, sub-Boris and Natasha accents. 

Chan is well into his second decade of colonizing Hollywood, but the English language remains more challenging to him than scaling 20-foot walls or leaping off moving cars; just watching him navigate a sentence is an adventure. He gets zero help from his pint-sized co-stars, who give some of the worst performances ever witnessed, though in their defense, the dialogue's so thunderously stupid it may be in violation of child labor laws. 

As bad as the kids are, at least they're a break from the painful grown-up clowning.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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