Jackie Chan's latest pits him as a superspy tackling Russians and opinionated kids, writes TAMMY HUGHES.
THERE is more chance of Boris Johnson winning a Miss Universe beauty contest than there is of the US government employing a secret agent from China. Despite this ridiculous premise, Jackie Chan's latest film The Spy Next Door is a feel-good family flick with martial arts stunts and slapstick comedy suitable for all age groups.
The plot is about Chinese CIA agent Bob Ho, who has fallen in love with his next door neighbour Gillian (Amber Valletta), a single mum with three children.
Even though Bob and Gillian want to get married, there are two problems. Firstly, her opinionated kids hate Bob and, secondly, he's an international superspy who is currently fighting the Russians, but does not want Gillian to know.
When Ho captures his longtime nemesis Poldark (Magnus Schering) he retires from the CIA to pursue a family life.
And when Gillian gets called away to her father's sickbed, Bob offers to babysit her three children in a bid to win them over.
Bob learns the ups and downs of parenthood while trying to defeat the bad guys who want to kill him for downloading Russian military secrets.
As you can imagine, the martial arts stunts come in handy for both these roles and appear at regular intervals, including a situation where Bob has to rescue a stray cat from the roof and when he has to make breakfast.
The action takes a darker tone when Poldark escapes prison.
In a bid to catch him, one of Bob's former CIA associates asks him to look at an encrypted file which Poldark had on him when captured, hoping he can crack it and find the fugitive. But Poldark wants the file back and sets out to track down Bob, putting the three children's lives in jeopardy.
Moments to watch out for are when Jackie answers his cell phone 'Yo Bob Ho', and when he is getting Gillian's daughter Nora (Alina Foley) to sleep by singing a Chinese lullaby while bizarrely patting her.
The Spy Next Door was not my cup of tea, but some might enjoy the film if they can get past the notion that Chinese secret agents work freelance for the US government!