The Accidental Spy

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The Accidental Spy
Accidental-spy-poster.jpg
Traditional 特務迷城
Simplified 特务迷城
Mandarin Tè Wù Mí Chéng
Cantonese Dak6 Mou6 Mai4 Sing4
Directed by Teddy Chan
Produced by Jackie Chan
Raymond Chow
Written by Ivy Ho
Starring Jackie Chan
Eric Tsang
Vivian Hsu
Wu Hsing-kuo
Music by Peter Kam
Cinematography Horace Wong
William Yim
Edited by Kwong Chi-leung
Production
company
Distributed by Golden Harvest (HK)
Dimension Films (USA)
Release dates
  • 18 January 2001 (2001-01-18)
Running time 108 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese
Mandarin
English
Korean
Turkish
Box office HK$30,009,076.00

The Accidental Spy is a 2001 Hong Kong martial arts action film, starring Jackie Chan and directed by Teddy Chan. Filming took place in Seoul, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Cappadocia, Turkey.

Although it is a Hong Kong film, much of the dialogue is in English, particularly during communications between the Chinese characters and the Korean and Turkish characters. Despite having a fairly serious and dark plot in some parts, it still features some humour, as is typical of Chan's films.

Plot[edit]

A news reporter covers a story in a village within Turkey where many people have mysteriously died, seemingly from pneumonia while a scientific team tries to find a cure. Unbeknownst to them, a terrorist group disguising as farmers in the area fire at the scientists and the news crew, killing them all. Shortly after the attack, members of the South Korean embassy in Istanbul discuss the attack before one of their longtime missing agents return.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Buck Yuen works as an exercise equipment salesman. After an unsuccessful day at work, he eats at a shopping mall and intuitively suspects that a robbery is about to take place. Buck thwarts the robbers plans and attracts much media attention for his actions. Later, a stranger approaches Buck, eager to speak to the hero who foiled the robbery. The stranger goes by the name of Manny Liu and he tells Buck that he is rounding up several men of Buck's age and description, one of whom could be the son of a wealthy Korean man known as Park Wong Jung (aka Mr. Park), who is looking to leave his fortune to his real son. After getting beaten up by his debtors, Buck saves Manny and brings him back to his apartment. Manny directs Buck to an associate for an interview. As a child, Buck had been an orphan, but he has vague dreams of his parents cooing over him, with his father clutching a shiny object.

After speaking to Manny's associate, Buck is taken to South Korea to meet Mr. Park, who is dying from terminal brain cancer and does not have long to live. Buck notices that they are being followed by mysterious men in an unmarked vehicle. Before speaking to Mr. Park, Buck meets a Korean reporter named Carmen Wong who is eager to ask him questions about Mr. Park. Carmen reveals that Park Wong Jung was a Korean double-agent who recently defected (as shown in the earlier scene). She asks him to find out why he defected, as such Buck returns to the hospital and witnesses thugs trying to interrogate Mr. Park while physically assaulting him in his hospital bed. Buck fends off the attackers, and Mr. Park gives Buck the opportunity to play a "game" with him. He gives Buck a crucifix pendant (which appears to be the shiny object of his dreams), confirming this man to be his father. When Mr. Park passes away, Buck is requested to scatter his ashes by his wife's grave as a final wish. At the grave, he finds the first clue to the "game" engraved on the tombstone – a message saying "wait for me" in English. After leaving the cemetery, Buck & Carmen narrowly escape from the same thugs who assaulted Mr. Park earlier. Buck eventually realizes that the letters of the phrase correspond to a telephone number and calls it, and it turns out to be Istanbul Bank.

Once in Turkey, Buck goes to the bank and attempts to retrieve the contents of Mr. Park's safety deposit box. The shiny crucifix pendant turned out to have a stamp on the bottom, which was necessary for him to get the safety deposit box. Opening the safety deposit box, Buck finds a large sum of money and a bible, leading him to believe the "game" to be over. Shortly after leaving the bank, he is accosted by a group of thugs who have commandeered a fleet of taxis. Buck fends them off but is eventually overpowered with his briefcase of the money exposed. Fortunately, police come to his aid and the thugs flee. Buck and the police believe that they wanted Buck's money, but it is clear that they were looking for something else, since they left empty handed. While enjoying his time in Turkey, Buck comes across a mysterious Chinese girl who has "wait for me," the very same words Mr. Park left on his grave, embroidered on her scarf. Buck tails her and eventually they meet. The girl, known as Yong, agrees to meet Buck again soon on a specific date.

Buck then visits a Turkish bath before meeting Yong on their date. While washing up, he is accosted by another group of Turkish thugs, with the leader demanding that he hands them over "the thing". Buck fends them off and narrowly escapes but arrives late for his meeting with Yong, where she leaves a note telling him to meet her later at a temple. Just then, Carmen and her associate Ashley appear. Carmen turns out to be working for the CIA and she together with Ashely inform Buck that the item everyone seems so keen to get their hands on is a new biological weapon, Anthrax II, many times more powerful than regular anthrax. It had already killed many Turkish people as Turkey had been chosen as the testing ground. Park Wong Jung had been involved in the case and thus developed brain cancer as a result. Buck also learns that crime lord Lee Sang Zen, known as the 'fixer' wants to buy the new Anthrax and had used Yong to get in contact with Buck whom he feels has information.

When Buck meets up with Yong, she confirms her boss is Zen, and a deal had been brokered between him and Buck's 'father'. Moments later, Buck and Yong are captured by the Turkish thugs and brought back to their village. The thugs are revealed to be the Turkish gang; they want the Anthrax back to prevent further bloodshed since the testing of it was done in their village. The leader, from the Turkish bath earlier, again asks Buck where "the thing" is. Buck is tortured but still has no idea what they're talking about. Moments later, a mercenary force attacks the village. In the ensuing confusion, Buck makes his escape and frees Yong. He destroys the dock to prevent pursuit, makes a makeshift raft and together with Yong escape into the sea. Later the pair are picked up by Zen who sent his men (that was the mercenary force) to rescue Buck and Yong. Buck learns that Yong is a drug addict, a slave to Zen and her life is in grave danger. Later, as they part, Zen offers Buck a new deal; more money and Yong's freedom if he gives Zen what he wants - the Anthrax II. Buck bluntly refuses, saying he knows nothing about it, but Zen gives him time to find its location.

Remembering that there was a bible in the safety deposit box, Buck's intuition leads him to a nearby church. While in confession, he meets a priest who was an associate of Mr. Park. He leads Buck to a basement room where Mr. Park temporarily stayed and gives him the item that everyone has been trying to get their hands on – 2 vials of Anthrax II. Buck reluctantly hands over the vials over to save Yong, knowing that handing them over could lead to more deaths. However, Zen has double-crossed him; Yong had already been given a fatal dose of drugs and soon dies at a train station. Buck is arrested for suspicion of involvement in Yong's death. Carmen and Ashley then secure his release. Buck tells them that he gave up the vials for Yong's life. The CIA will now have to pay Zen to get them back, and Buck is determined to set things right. Carmen later informs Buck on Zen's plans, which will be conducted the next day and the opportunity to strike will be then.

As the CIA attempt to intercept Zen, Buck manages to ruin Zen's plane getaway, and Zen escapes with a henchman in a car. Buck gives chase and combats the two on their car, defeating them, but the car becomes lodged into the rear of a large oil tanker, which catches fire. Buck rendezvous with Carmen on the road, and she explains the tanker must keep a speed of 80km/h or else the tanker will explode. Buck demands that they help him to rescue the tanker driver (and the driver's son) before he hands over the Anthrax II. Buck pulls them from the tanker to safety one by one, but cannot escape himself. Out of nowhere, Manny Liu reappears in a helicopter to help get Buck out, but is unsuccessful. At the last moment, as the tanker heads towards the edge of a disused bridge, Buck leaps from the tanker, grabs the plastic bridge barrier, which is quickly torn, sending him swinging down. Buck rolls down a hill after the jump, becoming severely injured. As Buck loses consciousness, Manny searches Buck's body for the Anthrax II and takes it.

When Buck wakes up in the hospital recovering from his injuries, Manny comes along, and reveals that his entire adventure was actually an intelligence mission arranged for an undisclosed American intelligence agency, performed by Buck as an informal, non-official agent (thus the labeling of an accidental spy). His background as an orphan, combined with his talents of extremely sharp intuitions and excellent martial arts skills, had made him a perfect candidate for a freelance agent who could perform special missions. The mission was set as a "game" for Buck since he was not an official agent and therefore cannot be briefed about it. His sharp intuition enabled him to interpret his "clues" correctly, thus enabling him to perform his mission with success. All the while, the dreams of his parents were illusions, which Manny helped to create by drugging Buck's drink when he was brought to Buck's place. Buck acknowledges the whole case, smiling.

In a post-credits scene, Buck is now an agent and is in Italy, disguised as a bearded courier. He delivers a briefcase to a man, then tips the police off for an arrest.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

The Accidental Spy holds a 29% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 7 reviews.[1]

Releases[edit]

Dimension (a sub-set of Disney) acquired the international distribution rights to the film (outside of Asia). Like many Jackie Chan films distributed by Disney, scenes were cut, foreign dialog was dubbed, and the music score was changed. However, Dimension made so many changes to the film that it almost changed the entire movie. For example:

1. Buck Yuen's name was changed to Jackie Chan 2. Zen's name was changed to Lee 3. The Anthrax II was changed to "Opia Maxa," a new & more powerful form of opium 4. In some cases, scenes were actually re-arranged. For example, in the HK cut, Buck Yuen and Manny's associate arrive at the South Korean hospital, they talk to the doctor, then Buck visits with Carmen Wong, and then Buck goes back to the hospital, fends off the thugs attacking his "father," and then converses with him. However, in the Dimension version, they arrive at the hospital, then "Jackie" talks to his father, then he visits Carmen Wong, and then he returns to the hospital, fends off the thugs, but Dimension added in a "flatline" sound effect, and used a scene of Mr. Park struggling to breathe to suggest that he died because of the thugs. 5. A lot of dialog that was actually in English was dubbed over into foreign languages, creating a language barrier between "Jackie Chan" and other characters that didn't exist in the original Hong Kong version. A lot of English dialog was dubbed over to change the plot. 6. One will notice that Buck's dialog is sometimes dubbed over by a voice that definitely doesn't belong to Jackie Chan, including scenes where he was speaking in English.

DVD[edit]

The film was first released on DVD by Universe Laser in Hong Kong. The release contains a non-anamorphic picture and a "making of" feature section. On 19 March 2009, Kam & Ronson released a remastered DVD with an anamorphic picture, 5.1 and DTS sound, but with no special features.

Blu-ray Disc[edit]

The film was released on Blu-ray Disc on 4 May 2009. This film is the first Hong Kong production by Jackie Chan to be released on Blu-ray Disc.

Box office[edit]

The film grossed HK$30,009,076 during its theatrical run in Hong Kong,[2] and was Hong Kong's third biggest domestic release of the year.

Interesting facts[edit]

The scene of Buck's disguising while escaping from thugs was reproduced in Bollywood movie "Thank You" (2011), wherein Akshay Kumar's character, detective Kishan, also hides by twisting hanging materials around himself.

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 21st Hong Kong Film Awards (2002)
    • Won: Best Action Choreography (Tung Wei)
    • Won: Best Film Editing (Kwong Chi-leung)
    • Nomination: Best Sound Design (Kinson Tsang)
    • Nomination: Best Visual Effects

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]