Owen Wilson is an agent for the fictional Bureau of National Security. He doesn’t have avery good track record, and so is constantly stuck with substandard equipment. He is sent toHungary to recover the Switchblade, a super-stealth plane stolen by Malcolm McDowell. He ispartnered up with egotistical boxer Eddie Murphy, and the usual buddy hijinks ensue. There issome fun to be had in the frantic action sequences, and in a Cyrano de Bergerac moment whenMurphy is trying to coa…h Wilson in the finer arts of seduction. Wilson is his usual affable self,and there are moments where you can’t help but feel that he writes many of his own lines, sodistinctive is his screen persona. Many of the jokes in the first half-hour fall flat, and the endingis weak, but the second act is not without rewards.
The sound effects are terrific, with great booms and bangs coming from all directions. Thedialogue, however, is a mess. The base level seems to be far too high, with the result that muchof the dialogue is hard to make out. Murphy in particular is frequently completelyincomphrehensible.
The picture is good, but not perfect. Sometimes the colours are fabulous, in other instances abit on the pale side (which is also true of the blacks). There is also at least one serious instanceof haloing. The format ratio is both fullscreen and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen.
A big group is involved in the audio commentary: director Betty Thomas, editor PeterTeschner, producer Jenno Topping, and writers David Ronn and Jay Scherick. The group is sobig that it is really impossible to keep track of who is speaking other than Thomas. The talk isinformal, a bit silly, yet informative. Thomas does, however, refer to a deleted scenes feature thatis not on the DVD. What is on is a series of specialized featurettes (“Cloaks and Camouflage,”“Gadgets and Gizmos,” “Schematics and Blueprints” and “The Slugafest”), all examiningdifferent aspects of the technical side of the film, and are more informative than most featurettes.Finally, there are trailers for Adaptation, Blue Streak, Formula 51, National Security and Punch-Drunk Love (but not I Spy). The menu’s main page, introduction and transitions are animatedand scored, while the other pages are simply scored.
An entertaining enough hour-and-a-half, though nothing to write home about. The DVD toois okay, but unspectacular.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- 4 Featurettes