Former C.I.A. spy Bob Ho takes on his toughest assignment to date: looking after his girlfriend's three kids, who haven't exactly warmed to their mom's beau.Former C.I.A. spy Bob Ho takes on his toughest assignment to date: looking after his girlfriend's three kids, who haven't exactly warmed to their mom's beau.Former C.I.A. spy Bob Ho takes on his toughest assignment to date: looking after his girlfriend's three kids, who haven't exactly warmed to their mom's beau.
For some reason many action stars have supplemented their income by appearing in movies with kids. Maybe they are trying to widen their appeal from the hardcore action audience to the family friendly scene. Maybe they're getting too old to keep up with the pace of a full-on action movie. Maybe they have to pay alimony to 4 or 5 ex-wives. I don't know why they do it, but it's almost becoming mandatory for these guys to take on a kid or three as a side-kick and attempt to blend action and family fare.
And these attempts almost always suck.
Does anyone honestly want to see Vin Diesel try to relate to kids? Or Chuck Norris, the Rock or God help us, Burt Reynolds relate to kids? No way. Don't even start with me about Hulk Hogan. During Santa with Muscles I was terrified that he might not see a few of the kids and accidentally step on them. Suffice to say, these movies might help a star's sagging income, but they're usually a mediocre compromise between two often disparate genres at best.
This one is a little better. It's still "action-light" but I think it works because of the star, Jackie Chan. His character seems like a genuinely nice guy who wants to get along with the mandatory bratty kids. Vin, Hulk, Chuck, Burt and the rest, these guys play characters that you know would much rather be killing, crushing or sleeping with the enemy. Chan doesn't have that problem because of the types of characters he often plays. His lighter presence matches up with the tone of the movie and makes it seem ....hmm...not as weird and patently unbelievable and maybe even patronizing as other movies of this kind.
Basically Jackie plays Bob Ho, a Chinese secret agent on loan to the CIA. He retires so he can marry Gillian, a divorced single mom who is looking for someone reliable. Her kids don't really cotton to Bob though, so she decides to put her relationship with Bob on hold until they're OK with her marrying Bob. Bob is saddened but resolves to win the kids and his girl friend over.
Then, luckily, hi jinx ensue. One of Gillian's kids downloads some top secret stuff off Bob's computer and before you can say Boris and Natasha some evil Russians are in hot pursuit. After a variety of PG style mishaps Bob captures the bad guys and wins the day, the girl friend and the family. And like I said, it works because Jackie Chan doesn't seem shoe-horned into the role.
The action is lighter than most Chan movies but it is inventive and fun. The kids act a little more like real kids than Hollywood Central Casting pods. The youngest kid in particular seems like real 4 year old, goofy and light hearted. When she delivered the line" I don't wanna be a princess, I wanna be a cyboooorg!" I cracked up. I actually laughed more than a few times, which surprised me. As long as you realize going in that this is just very light family entertainment I think you'll be pleased.
- Feb 4, 2010