[VIDEO REVIEWS]A 'Spy' and a 'Dancer' Entertain, InspireACCIDENTAL SPY (2001)
Directed by Teddy Chan. Starring Jackie Chan, Eric Tsang and Vivian Tsu.
Jackie Chan has become a household name with his death-defying stunts and quirky sense of humor and watching one of his movies pumps up the adrenaline. "Accidental Spy" begins with gunfire exchange, setting the tone for a typical Jackie Chan action film.
The plot unfolds in bits and pieces, introducing mysterious characters in the manner of Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest."
Chan stars as Bei, a fitness equipment salesman living in Hong Kong. His life is thrown off track when he foils a bank heist and becomes a hero. Soon afterwards, Liu (Tsang), a private investigator, recognizes Bei from a newspaper article, and tells him that he may be the long-lost son of a Korean millionaire who is dying in the hospital.
Bei goes to Korea and meets Daddy, who turns out to be a former spy. Bei also meets a mysterious journalist (Tsu) who connects him with the spy world. Before his father dies, he reveals the existence of a mystery and a lot of money that Bei must find. Soon Bei is traveling between Korea, Hong Kong and Turkey, involved in conspiracy.
Along the way, he fights the bad guys in the trademark Jackie Chan style. In one fight scene Bei escapes a sauna that has suddenly filled up with his pursuers and ends up in a market place, fighting for his life while trying to cover his nudity.
THE DANCER (2000)
Directed by Fred Garson. Starring Mia Frye, Garland Whitt, Rodney Eastman and Cut Killer.
"The Dancer" opens with a competition called the Saturday Midnight Match at a New York City nightclub. The competition sets a scratch deejay (Killer) against a dancer (Frye). Both whirl through techno, funk, soul and jazz, to see who does it with the most finesse. The dancer always comes out the winner.
Written by Luc Besson, director of "La Femme Nikita" and "The Fifth Element," "The Dancer" is inspirational. The dancer is India Rey, a mute dance instructor who dreams of talking and being on Broadway.
India and her brother Jasper (Whitt) are stuck on the bottom rung of life. Japser is filled with anger and has problems keeping a job. Society is cruel for India who is unable to talk back. After one particularly devastating day, she rushes to class, hugging her similarly mute students with tears streaming down her face. We're left wondering if her future is their future.
The movie is also spliced with the story of a scientist, Isaac (Eastman), who is also in a rut. He spends his waking hours working on an experiment in a windowless lab, divorced from time and human contact. A friend takes pity on him and drags him out on a Saturday night, to see the Saturday Midnight Match. Isaac takes one look at India, and, apparently inspired, bolts back to his lab where he finishes his experiment.
by Joe Yong-hee