ⓘ I Spy (film)


ⓘ I Spy (film)

I Spy is a 2002 American buddy spy comedy film directed by Betty Thomas, and starring Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson. The film is based on the television series of the same name that aired in the 1960s and starred Robert Culp and Bill Cosby. The film was released in the United States on November 1, 2002.


1. Plot

At the Bureau of National Security headquarters, Special Agent Alex Scott is accosted by his rival, Carlos, before being briefed on his next mission. Scott is assigned to recover a stolen fighter, the "Switchblade," plane sold to arms dealer Arnold Gundars. Gundars is sponsoring Middleweight world boxing champion Kelly Robinsons next match and using the event to auction the plane. The agency has contacted Robinson and assigned him to be the civilian cover for Scotts mission. Scott and Robinson travel to Budapest, where Scott plans to penetrate Gundars compound during a pre-fight party.

Arriving in Budapest, Robinson is kidnapped. During the interrogation Scott bursts in, frees Robinson, and fights the kidnappers before revealing this was a test which Kelly passed by not divulging Scotts identity. At Gundarss party, Robinson replaces Gundarss pen with a duplicate fitted with a tracking device before confronting his European challenger in the partys boxing ring. Scott, posing as a member of Robinsons entourage, uses this as a diversion to enter Gundars private office and hack his computer. Robinson arrives unexpectedly and trips an alarm. The two are forced to escape and manage to evade their pursuers by hiding in a sewer.

After returning to base, Robinson coaches Scott into winning Agent Rachel Wright by feeding him lines from the song "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye. Scott succeeds, but is interrupted by movement on the pen tracking device. He tracks Gundars to a bathhouse, which Scott believes is a dead end. Robinson has a hunch that the plane is hidden in the building, leading the two into a fight with Gundarss men. Gundars speeds off in his car, with Wright in pursuit. Wrights car explodes and Scott blames Robinson for her death. The two engage in a public confrontation that leads to Robinsons arrest. Scott convinces the BNS that the operation can continue and tracks Gundars down again.

Robinson reaches the arena just in time for his fight. Scott finds Gundars with terrorists, who are busy fitting the plane with a nuclear missile. Scott takes the men by surprise and forces them to surrender, before being disarmed by Agent Wright, who reveals she is a double agent. Wright tortures Scott for the Switchblades activation codes. Scott activates the contact lens gadget, allowing Robinson to see the dilemma as he battles his opponent in the ring. Robinson gets knocked down for the first time in his career, but recovers, defeats his opponent, and departs for the bridge. Robinson sets off a firefight which kills many of the terrorists. After Carlos lands in a parachute, Robinson infers that Carlos is also corrupt. When Carlos provokes Kelly, he knocks him out, scattering the terrorists for them to take cover. Robinson takes out the remaining terrorists, while their leader, Zhu Tam, and Gundars are both killed by Wright. After the bomb on the plane is destroyed, Robinson tells Rachel to put the gun down. Wright makes up a lie that the BNS suspected that Carlos was corrupt and says that they pretended to team up with Carlos so they can catch him and uses this to convince the others that she is innocent. The confusion leads to a fight between Scott and Carlos, allowing Wright to escape with Gundars briefcase. Scott and Robinson attempt to fly the Switchblade away, but it crashes into the river. While in the water, Robinson discovers the nuclear weapon. Scott realizes the mission is a success after all, and Robinson remarks that he will be recognized as a hero.

Later in Monte Carlo, Scott and Robinson track down Agent Wright and place her under arrest. Scott turns up a copy of USA Today and sees a picture of Carlos in a parade with President Bush. Robinson takes this news hard, and refuses to accompany Scott to BNS headquarters for a mission debrief. Scott tells Robinson the agency has perfected a jelly-like substance that will allow its wearer to float through the air. Robinson happily agrees to go, and Scott tells another agent to retrieve some jars of jelly and two parachutes.


2. Cast

  • Crystal Lowe as Beautiful Girl
  • Malcolm McDowell as Arnold Gundars
  • Owen Wilson as Special Agent Alex Scott
  • Dana Lee as Zhu Tam
  • Phill Lewis as Jerry
  • Gary Cole as Carlos
  • Viv Leacock as T.J.
  • Darren Shahlavi as Cedric Mills
  • Eddie Murphy as Kelly Robinson
  • Mike Dopud as Jim
  • Lynda Boyd as Edna
  • Famke Janssen as Special Agent Rachel Wright
  • Gabor Demszky as Himself
  • Bill Mondy as Mack McIntyre

3. Release

Out of a $70 million budget, the film brought in $33 million domestically and $50–60 million worldwide. It was the third box office bomb in a row for Murphy in 2002 following Showtime and The Adventures of Pluto Nash.


4. Reception

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 15% of 132 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 4.1/10. The sites consensus reads: "Insipid and mirthless, I-Spy bares little resemblance to the TV series that inspired it." Metacritic rated it 35/100 based on 31 reviews. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times rated it 2/4 stars and wrote, "This is a remake by the numbers, linking a halfwit plot to a series of standup routines in which Wilson and Murphy show how funny they could have been in a more ambitious movie."

The film was nominated for three Razzie Awards: Worst Remake, Worst Actor for Eddie Murphy, and Worst Screen Couple for Murphy and Owen Wilson.