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Comedy - Family

Spies Like Us (1985)

Duration1h 38m
RatingsUK: PG, USA: PG, Norway: 12
Source of storyAn original screenplay
DirectorJohn Landis
Writers/ScriptDan Aykroyd, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
StarringChevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Frank Oz, Terry Gilliam, Donna Dixon, Ray Harryhausen, Bob Hope, Joel Coen, Sam Raimi, Vanessa Angel,
RatingsIMDb: 6.4/10 by 50,712 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 32% by 25 reviewers. Review2view: 7/10.

Summary: Emmett and Austin are minor functionaries in the CIA, Emmett’s sole skill appear to be seducing young women, and Austin’s working with electronics. Their antics in the promotion test result in them being set up by the organisation as decoys to allow the real spies to capture a Russian missile from a site close to the Pakistan border. They go through basic training and once this is completed are sent to Pakistan. From a site in the desert, where they pretend to be doctors, they are instructed to go to the location of the missile, which is a mobile unit, guarded by Russian soldiers. At the Russian border a fire fight results in them being recruited by the real spies, and once at the rocket they receive instructions from the American generals in an underground base, which to their surprise results in the rocket being launched at the USA. What to do?

Content: Sexual activity is inferred and one young woman appears in her underwear. The guys bumble about in the secret service headquarters, obviously cheating in the test. They go through basic training is comic style. In the desert they are met by Russian spies from whom they escape, and then pretend to be doctors. While not carrying out an operation their patient dies, resulting in them being chased by tribesmen. Meanwhile their handlers are taken to an underground base beneath a derelict drive-in from where the spies are being controlled. The intent of the whole exercise is that an advanced laser system will shoot down the missile, but it misses.

A View: This film was not liked by the critics but it made money and now has a cult following. If you checkout the director and the stars you surely know what to expect. I laughed a number of times, so I found it sufficiently entertaining for its hour and forty minute run. Apparently in the original version the world ends, but this did not play well with test audiences, so they made changes. So worth a watch in my view.

Other John Landis films reviewed on this site, which are essential viewing: Trading Places, Coming to America and The Blues Brothers.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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