It's been over 30 years since Jackie Chan supplanted Bruce Lee as film's reigning martial-arts superstar. Now in his 50s, Chan tries to broaden his audience with the kid-oriented "The Spy Next Door," appealing directly to the "Kung Fu Panda" crowd with mixed results. Directed by Brian Levant and written by Jonathan Bernstein, James Greer and Gregory Poirier, "Spy" is entertaining in spots but too obviously low-budget. The film faces so-so returns.
The opening features clips from some of Chan's recent films before speeding briskly through a nicely-staged fight pitting the star, playing CIA agent Bob Ho, against villain Poldark (Magnus Scheving). Ho's athleticism and James Bond-like gadgets play perfectly to Chan's strengths and fans should enjoy seeing how the star has adapted old routines for new purposes.
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