The first time I saw Jackie Chan onscreen, it was back in 1996 when he starred in Rumble In The Bronx. The movie was right up my alley: bad dubbed dialogue (even though everyone spoke english), dumb story, awesome action. At the center was Chan, who had made a name for himself in his native Hong Kong with his combination of action hero moves and comedic chops. Rumble In The Bronx allowed him to use both, and I was amazed at how entertaining a star he was and what amazing stunts he was able to execute without the use of a stunt person.
Oh, how times change. Chan is now entrenched in his 50s, and the days of doing his own stunts are over (he now has two stunt people). He's also been reduced to garbage like THE SPY NEXT DOOR, a lame grab at a family film. Rumble In The Bronx wasn't a great movie, but it firmly had tongue planted in cheek. Spy Next Door has its tongue planted somewhere else. Everything about this movie blows. The comedy isn't funny. The kids in the film are obnoxious. Chan, who has never been known for his diction or english skills, is impossible to understand. The "Russians" coming after Chan sound like they would rather go after "moose and squirrel." The direction seems to be non-existent, which isn't surprising, considering the file was overseen (I refuse to use the term directed) by hack extraordinaire Brian Levant.
What's worse, the story really is just a series of scenes whose only purpose is to get to the action. And the action isn't that good. Back in the day when Chan did his own stunts, there was excitement to the scenes, a sense of danger you didn't get with anyone else. Knowing that Chan now uses stunt people, that excitement is gone, replaced with severe lameness. Go out and rent one of Chan's earlier films. They may not be "family" films, but at least they won't insult your intelligence like this one does.