Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Spy Next Door (3½ Stars)

A man is dating a divorced woman. They're considering getting married, but her children don't like him. That's a stereotypical story that must have been told time and time again. The difference this time is that the man is Jackie Chan, and he's a spy working for the CIA. In between going on dates and chatting with the kids he has to battle Russian terrorists.

Despite Jackie Chan's zany fighting style that we know from his other films, this is very much a family film aimed at children. The photo above shows the three children, played by Alina Foley (6), Will Shadley (10) and Madeline Carroll (13). All three are impressive, although Madeline shows the greatest depth of emotion. Alina is very precocious at her young age. In an interview in the Blu-ray extra features she says that she's never taken acting lessons and doesn't need them. Let's see if she changes her mind as she gets older.

Madeline Carroll, now 20 years old, has already had numerous film roles. She seems to have enough talent to go a long way in Hollywood.

I've given the film a relatively low rating because I have difficulty relating to it as a children's film. On the other hand, I'm sure that if you have young children you'll enjoy sitting watching this film with them.

Most DVDs and Blu-ray discs have trailers that play before the start of the film. They can usually be skipped, but I like to watch them, because they give me an in-cinema feeling as an introduction to the film. However, the "Spy Next Door" Blu-ray has something awful. When the disc is inserted, the first thing shown is a five-minute advertisement for Butlin's. For my readers who don't live in England, it's a holiday camp. I hate it when the disc contains advertisements that aren't film-related. Even worse when they advertisements are so long. Even worse when they can't be skipped. It's awful! The only thing I could do was go and make a coffee while the ad was running.

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