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Ghost Canyon

'I-Spy' [Blu-ray]
(Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / (2002) 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: A super powerful experimental spy plane is stolen by an evil arms dealer and is about to be handed over to an international terrorist.

The U.S. Government drafts an egotistical boxing star (Murphy) to join a suave special agent (Wilson) on a dangerous top secret mission to get the plane back. Armed with the latest high tech gadgets and a whole lot of attitude, this ultimate odd couple might be able to save the world - if they can just get along!

Blu-ray Verdict: The story here involves Eddie Murphy as Kelly Robinson, a braggart boxer recruited to help save the world. Murphy is teamed with Owen Wilson, a semi-inept special agent, and Famke Janssen, his partner in the field.

Together they must find an invisible jet that an arms dealer is auctioning off to the highest bidder. It's your basic spy movie plot.

Walking somewhere between James Bond and Austin Powers, 'I Spy' lives in a Bond type spy world, but with second-rate employees in all aspects. In one scene that is a complete spoof, Wilson maneuvers through the gadget factory as the usual wacky experiments are ongoing.

But most of them backfire, as a technician firing a gun is blasted backwards without explanation, etc. That's an example of the off-the-wall humor prevalent through the good parts of the flick.

The humor is why the film is half good. Murphy and Wilson play themselves, using the same outlandish humor (Murphy) and dry jokes (Wilson) that we've come to expect from them. It's not surprising, but they are both at the top of their games.

Wilson, as he has been for several years; Murphy, at his best since at least 1999's Life and possibly since the late 1980s. The reason, as explained in one of the featurettes I've seen over the years, but sadly not one included here on this new Blu-ray, is that director Betty Thomas let the pair improvise frequently. The movie definitely has that feel, and the duo's wacky chemistry appeals and entertains.

The movie takes a wrong turn at almost exactly the halfway point, following a watchable if mostly unoriginal chase scene. Wilson and Murphy are trapped in a sewer for some time, and with nothing else to do, decide on the typical males-baring-their-souls talk.

This sequence and the next few that follow, including an awkward semi-seduction between Wilson and Janssen, are like puzzle pieces that don't quite fit together, but are forced to coincide anyway.

These lead up to a decent final confrontation in which everyone arrives to figure out who is on whose side. The first couple double-crosses seem cliché, but as they continue to pile up, the comedy continues to rise, eventually reaching a chuckle-inducing point.

In closing, 'I-Spy' is pretty darn good. OK, it's not a great movie by any means, but the charisma and humor of Murphy and Wilson make it worth the purchase of this new Blu-ray on a night that you want mindless entertainment to wash over you. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'I-Spy' [Blu-ray] is out September 17th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.