The Spy Next Door

February 5, 2010 by  
Filed under CineStrays

Starring: Jackie Chan, Amber Valletta, George Lopez
Directed by: Brian Levant (“Are We There Yet?)
Written by: Jonathan Bernstein (“Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector), James Greer (“Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector), Gregory Poirier (National Treasure: Book of Secrets)

Was it that long ago when the physical limitlessness of Jackie Chan’s martial arts stunts could pack a movie house with promises of crazy ninja-like moves worth the price of admission alone? Twelve years ago when Chan made his American movie debut in “Rush Hour” he was the hottest ticket from China in the action genre. Now, Chan is feeding off the bottom of the barrel and has released some major bombs in the last seven years including “The Medallion,” “Around the World in 80 Days,” “Rush Hour 3,” and “The Forbidden Kingdom.” Talk about a losing streak. It’s no wonder Chan took a break from American films between 2004 and 2006 to get back to his roots and work on projects from China. With his return to America, Chan’s career – if it’s even possible – takes another sharp turn for the worst with his newest film “The Spy Next Door,” a family-friendly exercise in futility where Chan’s talents are wasted on as script filled with bad jokes and “Full House”-worthy life lessons. There’s something to say when the best part of the movie are the opening credits that show some of Chan’s best stunts…pulled straight from better movies. For that, you don’t get credit.


September 10, 2009 by  
Filed under CineStrays

Starring: Gerard Butler, Amber Valletta, Michael C. Hall
Directed by: Mark Neveldine (“Crank: High Voltage”) and Brian Taylor (“Crank: High Voltage”)
Written by: Mark Neveldine (“Crank: High Voltage”) and Brian Taylor (“Crank: High Voltage”)

If you thought “Crank” and “Crank: High Voltage” were overly-stylized, director/writer duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have got a headache-inducing film for you. The futuristic flick “Gamer” says nothing that hasn’t been said before about the media or the economy or any other social issue it thinks it’s intelligent enough to examine. It might have been more feasible than it turned out to be if Neveldine and Taylor weren’t so worried about the “cool” factor and actually focus on something more than editing room choices.