The Spy Next Door (2010)

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Released 7-Sep-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette
Interviews-Cast
Outtakes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 90:28 (Case: 94)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:30) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Brian Levant
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jackie Chan
Amber Valletta
Madeline Carroll
Will Shadley
Alina Foley
Magnús Scheving
Billy Ray Cyrus
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music David Newman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Despite making a few duds in recent years, I mostly enjoy Jackie Chan movies. He has a very likeable screen presence and always includes some interesting stunts and action sequences even in his most mundane films. Luckily, this film includes some interesting stunts and action sequences because otherwise it is a bit of a train wreck. This US produced movie is aimed at kids and was directed by Brian Levant who has made a number of similar children's and family movies like Snow Dogs and Are We There Yet? .

     The story involves pen importer Bob Ho (Jackie Chan) who is living in suburban Albuquerque, New Mexico but is actually an undercover spy on loan from the Chinese Government to the CIA who has been working on tracking down and apprehending Russian villain, Poldark. He manages to capture him at the beginning of the film and turns him over to the CIA. Meanwhile, he has been dating his neighbour, single mom, Gillian (Amber Valletta) who has three kids from her previous marriage, the oldest of whom is only her step-daughter. The children think Bob is boring and don't want him to marry mom. Now that he has captured Poldark, he wants to retire from spying and settle down with Gillian. In order to try and get to know the children better he offers to look after the kids when Gillian needs to rush out of town due to a family emergency. This gives him many challenges which are made more difficult by Poldark escaping and seeking revenge on Bob and the kids.

     This is a very clichéd kids film, with many plot points reminiscent of other films you have seen before like True Lies or Kindergarten Cop or Daddy Day Care. The acting is pretty ordinary all round and the addition of Billy Ray Cyrus as another CIA operative doesn't really help. The characters of the kids are all quite annoying and the way they are written means that they go from complete brats to loving fans of Bob very quickly. Much of the dialogue is resoundingly unfunny, especially that written for the son, Ian.

     On the plus side, the kids will enjoy Jackie's fun screen presence and the cool looking stunts performed during the film. Not the worst kids film I have ever seen but a long way from the best.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is very good. The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced widescreen.

     The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout although backgrounds were somewhat undefined. Shadow detail is quite good. There are some minor MPEG artefacts especially during fast motion. The colour was very good with no colour artefacts. There were no other noticeable artefacts.

     There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired which were clear and easy to read.

     There is a layer change at 62:30 which was not noticeable during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is good. This DVDs contain three audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s (which is bizarrely the default) and an English Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. Most sound comes from the front three speakers regardless of the encoding. Dialogue was clear and easy to understand except for Jackie Chan’s mangling of English.

     The surround speakers were only used for some mild atmospherics, mostly involving music and during action scenes. The subwoofer was used occasionally for music support and action scenes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Small selection of average quality extras.

Menu

     The menu was quite good including music and action from the film.

Jackie Chan - Stunt Master & Mentor (9:50)

     Promotional featurette featuring the kids and director talking about Jackie Chan and Jackie Chan talking about making the movie.

Adventures in Acting with the Kids from The Spy Next Door (10:40)

     A hosted interview with the child actors from the film. Snore.

Bloopers Reel (3:08)

     Mostly the stuff from the closing credits.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version seems to be the same. Also available on Blu-ray.

Summary

    A clichéd kids movie starring Jackie Chan.

    The video quality is very good.The audio quality is good. The set has a small collection of ordinary extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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