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. Unknown to them, a terrorist group disguising as farmers in the area fire at the scientists and the news crew, killing them all. Within Istanbul, members of the South Korean embassy discuss about the attack before one of their agents return.

In Hong Kong, Buck Yuen works as an exercise equipment salesman. After an unsuccessful day at work, he heads out through a shopping mall and intuitively suspects that a robbery is about to take place. Buck thwarts the robbers plans, relieving them of the money they have stolen and returning it to the police. 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 Mr. Park. After getting beaten up by his debtors, Buck saves Manny and brings him back to his apartment. Manny directs Buck to an associate who will interview him further.

As a child, Buck had been an orphan, but he has vague dreams seemingly recalling his parents cooing over him, his father clutching a shiny object. Revealing it to the associate, Buck is taken to South Korea. Mr. Park is known to be suffering from terminal brain cancer and does not have long to live. While still at the hospital, Buck notices and meets Korean reporter Carmen Wong who speaks to him on the matter. After fending off an attack on Mr. Park, Buck is given the opportunity to play a "game" with him. Mr. Park, revealed to be former spy Park Wong Jung, gives Buck a crucifix pendant, which appears to be the shiny object of his dreams, confirming this man to be his father. When Park Wong Jung passes away, Buck finds the first clue to the "game" at his grave – a message saying "wait for me" in English. Fending off the same previous thugs who now follow him and Carmen to Mr. Park's grave, they narrowly escape from capture and Buck returns to Hong Kong. Eventually he realises that the letters of the phrase correspond to a telephone number and calls it. It turns out to be a bank in Turkey, so Buck sets out on his journey.

Once in Turkey, Buck goes to the bank and receives the contents of the old man's safety deposit box – a large sum of money and a small package. Avoiding the attempted theft of his newfound wealth by a group of thugs who have commandeered a fleet of taxis, Buck eventually makes it back to his hotel. While enjoying his time in Turkey, Buck finds a mysterious girl who has "wait for me", the very same words Mr. Park left on his grave, embroided 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.

On the day to meet Yong, Buck then visits a Turkish bath earlier. While washing up, he is accosted by another group of thugs and ends up being pursued wearing nothing but a towel, through a Turkish bazaar. Buck soon loses his towel, and is forced to hide his nudity with a variety of implements from the various stores, all the while avoiding attacks from the thugs. He hides in an alleyway and noticing huge pieces of cloth hanging from above, acrobatically disguises himself and manages to escape. Buck arrives late for his meeting with Yong, where she leaves a note telling him to meet her later at a temple.

Carmen Wong, who had appeared to be a reporter, turns out to be working for the CIA and she informs 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 is this that had killed the 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 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'. While trying to know further, Buck and Yong are then captured by the 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 in their village. Buck is gagged and unsuccessfully coerced to return the vague "thing", of which being the Anthrax, yet he has no knowledge of its whereabouts. However the Turkish gang themselves are subject to an attack from Zen's gang where the village is attacked. Buck makes his escape and frees Yong, while destroying the dock using a crane winch to prevent pursuit. The moorings of the dock eventually give way after the cable tenses, giving Buck and Yong time to build a makeshift raft and allowing them to escape into the sea. Later the pair are picked up by Zen, and 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.

Realising that if he saves Yong's life, many others may die, thus Buck seeks the advice of a Turkish priest. The priest knows the various East Asian languages, and was an associate of Park Wong Jung. 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. He advises Buck to save the one he can and leave the consequences up to God. Buck relents, following the advice of the priest and hands over the vials over to save Yong. However, he soon learns that Zen has double-crossed him; Yong has already been given a fatal dose of drugs and soon dies. Buck learns of her past where she was from an orphanage, and settles the unsent postcard she had written back to them as a final wish, obscuring her fate to the orphanage and adding his contact if they needed enquiries.

Buck tells Carmen that he gave the vials up for Yong's life and a desperate race to get them back ensues. 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, but the car becomes lodged into the rear of a large oil tanker, which catches fire. After dealing with Zen, Buck rendezvous with Carmen on the road, and she explains the tanker is to remain traveling at 80km/h or else the fire will spread forward, blowing up the tanker and a huge blast radius around it. Keeping the Anthrax until he saves the tanker driver's family, 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. As he flies over the edge of the bridge, he grabs the plastic barrier, which is quickly torn sending him swinging down, while the flaming oil tanker crashes into the ground below and explodes. Buck rolls down a hill after the jump, and is cushioned from hitting his head by the toy of the tanker driver's family which was hassled over previously. As he 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 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 labelling 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 successfully. 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. The photos Buck collected of Yong and Mr. Park are blown away into the wind, and Buck acknowledges the whole case, smiling. Manny examines the bottle of white powder Buck carried with him, and comments on its taste, before Buck tells him they were Mr. Park's ashes. A shocked Manny runs away in fear of being poisoned, as Buck chuckles on Manny's foolishness.

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]

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]