I Spy (film)
Official film poster
|Directed by||Betty Thomas|
|Screenplay by||Cormac Wibberley
|Story by||Cormac Wibberley
|Based on||I Spy
by Morton S. Fine
|Music by||Richard Gibbs|
|Edited by||Peter Teschner|
Tall Trees Productions
Sheldon Leonard Productions
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
I Spy is a 2002 American spy comedy film starring Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson. The film was directed by Betty Thomas, and based on the television series of the same name that aired in the 1960s and starred Robert Culp and Bill Cosby.
At the Bureau of National Security headquarters, BNS Special Agent Alex Scott (Owen Wilson) is accosted by his rival, Carlos (Gary Cole), before being briefed on his next mission. Scott is assigned to recover a stolen fighter plane sold to arms dealer Arnold Gundars (Malcolm McDowell). The plane is known as the "Switchblade" and is invisible to both radar and the naked eye. The BNS learns that Gundars is sponsoring Middleweight world boxing champion Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy)'s next match, and is using the event to auction off the plane. The agency has contacted Robinson and assigned him to be the civilian cover for Scott's mission. Scott and Robinson travel to Budapest, where Scott plans to penetrate Gundars' compound during a pre-fight party.
Arriving in Budapest, Robinson is kidnapped. During the interrogation Scott bursts in, frees Robinson, and fights the kidnappers before revealing that the entire thing was a test which Kelly passed by not divulging Scott's identity (albeit due to forgetting his name entirely). The woman is Rachel Wright (Famke Janssen), a fellow BNS agent and the object of Scott's affections. At Gundars's party, Robinson replaces Gundars's pen with a duplicate fitted with a tracking device before confronting his European challenger in the party's boxing ring. Scott, posing as a member of Robinson's entourage, uses this as a diversion to enter Gundars' private office and hack his computer. Robinson arrives unexpectedly and trips an alarm. The two are forced to escape and manages to evade their pursuers by hiding in a sewer. While waiting, the two converse and bond.
After returning to base, Robinson coaches Scott into winning the heart of Agent Wright by feeding him lines from the song "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye. Scott succeeds, but is interrupted by movement on the pen tracking device. He tracks Gundars to a bathhouse, which Scott believes is a dead end. However, Robinson has a hunch that the plane is hidden in the building, leading the two into a fight with Gundars's men. Gundars speeds off in his car, with Wright in hot pursuit. Wright's car explodes, stunning Scott, who blames Robinson for her death. The two engage in a public confrontation that leads to Robinson's arrest. Nonetheless, Scott convinces the BNS that the operation can continue and tracks Gundars down once again.
Robinson reaches the arena just in time for his fight. Scott finds Gundars with terrorists busy fitting the plane with a nuclear missile. Scott takes the men by surprise and forces them to surrender, before being disarmed by Agent Wright, who reveals she is a double agent. Wright tortures Scott for the Switchblade's activation codes. Scott activates the contact lens gadget, allowing Robinson to see the dilemma as he battles his opponent in the ring. Robinson gets knocked down for the first time in his career, but quickly recovers, defeats his opponent, and departs for the bridge. Robinson sets off a firefight which kills many of the terrorists. After Carlos lands in a parachute, Robinson infers that Carlos is also corrupt. When Carlos provokes Kelly, he knocks him out, scattering the terrorists for them to take cover. Robinson takes out the remaining terrorists. After the bomb on the plane is destroyed, Robinson appears to tell Rachel to put Carlos' gun down. She tells him that she is with BNS. Wright makes up a lie that the BNS suspected that Carlos was corrupt and says that they pretended to team up with Carlos so that they can finally catch him and uses this to convince the others that she is innocent. The confusion leads to a fight between Scott and Carlos, allowing Wright to escape with Gundars' briefcase. With Robinson in tow, Scott attempts to fly the Switchblade away, but it crashes into the river below seconds after take off. While in the water, Robinson discovers the nuclear weapon. Scott realizes the mission is a success after all, and Robinson remarks that he will be recognized as a hero.
Later in Monte Carlo, Scott and Robinson track down Agent Wright and place her under arrest. Scott turns up a copy of USA Today and sees a picture of Carlos in a parade with President Bush. Robinson takes this news hard, and refuses to accompany Scott to BNS headquarters for a mission debrief. Thinking quickly, Scott tells Robinson the agency has perfected a jelly-like substance that will allow its wearer to float through the air. Robinson happily agrees to go, and Scott tells another agent to retrieve some jars of jelly and two parachutes.
- Eddie Murphy as Kelly Robinson
- Owen Wilson as Special Agent Alex Scott
- Famke Janssen as Special Agent Rachel Wright
- Malcolm McDowell as Arnold Gundars
- Gary Cole as Carlos
- Bill Mondy as Mack McIntyre
- Phill Lewis as Jerry
- Mike Dopud as Jim
- Lynda Boyd as Edna
- Viv Leacock as T.J.
- Crystal Lowe as Beautiful Girl
- Gábor Demszky as Himself
Out of a $70 million budget, the film brought in only $33 million domestically and $50 million worldwide, the third Box office bomb in a row for Murphy in 2002 following Showtime and The Adventures of Pluto Nash.
The film received largely negative reviews from critics, earning a "rotten" 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 132 reviews(20 fresh and 112 rotten) with an average rating of 4.1/10, with the consensus, "Insipid and mirthless, I-Spy bares little resemblance to the TV series that inspired it."
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