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"Accidental Spy"

ONE GOES to see a Jackie Chan movie for its stunts and the components of martial arts. Plus of course the fact that Jackie combines all his so called stories with a lot of humour. So one does not really mind sitting through some truly impossible plots because Jackie himself does it so cheerfully. You eat all the popcorn you can, drink all the fizz you can and stagger out of the movie hall rather happy with life. But somewhere along the line, "Accidental Spy" deviates from humour. Jackie smiles a lot less, actually looks sad and grim and fights more like an injured soul than an entertainer.

So what has happened? It could be because of the story. Not an impossible one if you look at it carefully. It has a lot to do with spying, counter spying, CIA and drug cartels. In short, espionage is the dominant mood and Jackie is forced to be serious. But it doesn't really matter, as long as it has the mandatory action scenes and some death-defying stunts, which Jackie loves to indulge in.

Jackie is an exercise equipment salesman who suddenly finds himself in the centre of intrigue. He is an orphan plagued by vague dreams of what his biological father would be like. His father turns out to be a Korean who has managed to track him down so that he can hand over some secrets before he dies. Jackie manages to visit him on his deathbed but before much could be achieved a fight breaks out with intruders pouncing on him from all directions.

Jackie learns that he is now the heir to wealth and goes about deciphering codes to track down the place where it is all kept. In the process, he discovers that his father was a double agent and the plot thickens. And there are several people chasing Jackie and for the large part the audience just does not know why. But you just watch the goings on in a stupor. And there is a pretty reporter who weaves in and out of the scenes to help Jackie find the bad guys.

This Jackie Chan film must have been done two or three years ago. And usually in all his films funny incidents, which take place during takes, are shown as the credits roll. They never fail to evoke laughter and also show how much Jackie enjoys doing his stunts and fights. But here he is grim and angry. And that is not how we want to see Jackie Chan!

CHITRA MAHESH

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