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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

quick list: five terrible spy movies

As a followup to yesterday’s five great spy movies, herewith five really terrible ones… and I find it interesting that the spy movie seems to go so wrong when comedy is attempted.

Given the ubiquitousness of terrible movies, this list is far from comprehensive, so please do chime with more really awful spy movies.
The Tuxedo and The Spy Next Door
If there’s one valuable thing to be gleaned from this duo of awfulness, it’s that Jackie Chan plus “lighthearted American spy comedy” is a combination to be avoided at all costs.

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
If Ed Wood had it in mind to make a 3D spy movie for kids, it might look like this. “Incomprehensible” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

This cringe-worthy attempt to create a sort of urban bad-ass 007 for the 21st century appeared to believe that removing all sense of humor and all sense of morality from the genre was a step in the right direction. It wasn’t.

Bad Company
It’s like My Fair Lady, only with explosions, as Anthony Hopkins must groom Chris Rock into a proper spy. Yes, Jerry Bruckheimer was involved.

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  • CB

    Don’t forget about the XXX sequel, where they couldn’t lure Vin Diesel back (since he was such a big name by then you know) and had to go with Ice Cube.

    Whose acting career started off so well with Boys in the Hood and Friday. And then he became a low-rent replacement for Vin Diesel. So sad.

  • JoshDM

    So, where does the one with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Tom Arnold fall?

  • GibsonGirl99

    Does “The Net” w/Sandra Bullock count as a bad spy movie? Good performances from Sandy, Jeremy Northam, and especially Dennis Miller, but on the whole, just sorta “Meh” ya know???
    Or is that cause it’s part caper, part industrial spy story, and not sure which way to jump??

  • Bill

    I Spy. Charlie’s Angels. that’s all i got. makes xxx look like bourne.

  • stchivo

    The Saint. I haven’t seen it in ages but I remember being really exciting for something really intriguing and lots of fun but was rather disappointed.

  • MC

    Spy Hard.

  • Michael

    Three words: Leonard Part Six.

  • Bill

    holy jesus. Leonard Part Six. that might be the worst. The Saint was cool, though.

  • Brian

    Mission: Impossible 2. Take away all the sophistication and interesting plotting and replace with Tom Cruise doing ridiculous Capoeira jumpy-kicks. What the hell were you thinking, John Woo?

  • MaryAnn

    I’ve never seen *Leonard Part 6,* but I think I’ll have to now.

  • MC

    Brian, oh god yes, I had blotted that out of my mind.

  • gensing

    Well, if Leonard Part 6 is here, can I nominate Pink Panther 2 (2009)?

  • Erik

    There was one back in the ’80s with Donald Sutherland called “The Trouble with Spies” and it was just…sad. All I could figure was the only way they got the cast & crew involved was because they were promised a vacation to the French Riviera or something. I actually felt sorry for the movie itself, it was so bad. I was also, apparently, one of three people who saw it.

    That was the worst spy movie I ever saw.

  • Patrick

    I actually saw the awful Leonard Part 6 in the theater during its original run. Basically, all I can remember is how I felt while watching it, except for a bizarre scene with a spy-fish / fish-weapon thing.

  • Undercover Blues with Kathleen Turner, Dennis Quaid and Tom Arnold… not good but for some reason i really like it.

  • CB

    I think Leonard Part 6 falls in the so-bad-its-good category, but that’s just me and my extremely hazy memory. I’m not about to go watch it again to see. :P

  • Ide Cyan

    Melted butter!

  • Todd

    “Spies Like Us,” anyone?

  • JoshDM

    I’ve never seen *Leonard Part 6,* but I think I’ll have to now.

    No, if you had to do something like that, I would rather you spent your time watching Kentucky Fried Movie.

  • amanohyo

    Kentucky Fried Movie is one of those “only good if you watched it for the first time as a teen and/or are a huge fan of Enter the Dragon” movies. I happen to satisfy one of those requirements and loved (some of) the movie as a youngling; however, I’m 95% positive that you’re setting MA (and yourself) up for disappointment by requesting a review.

    Buckaroo Banzai, Spinal Tap, Holy Grail, Bill and Ted… Kentucky Fried Movie?
    It doesn’t really fit, but then again, Airplane!…hmm

  • MaryAnn for the love of all that’s holy DO NOT WATCH LEONARD PART 6. It makes Manos look like f-cking Shaft! (shudder)

  • Hank Graham

    MaryAnn, don’t waste your time on “Leonard, Part Six.” It’s like “Last Airbender,” a totally worthless and un-fun movie.

    And dahmn, someone beat me to “Spies Like Us.”

  • RogerBW

    Top Secret! was pretty bad but had its moments. Not many of them, and it should probably have decided whether it was going to be a Cold War parody or a WWII parody…

  • MC

    PaulW… kids like pudding pops…err, Leonard Part Six.

    Now excuse me, I need to eat some twiglets and punch a bloke in the face for saying God Hand was rubbish.

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