The part in the Accidental Spy trailer that announces ‘From the producers of 30 Days in Atlanta, A Trip to Jamaica and 10 Days in Sun City‘ is all the warning it requires to not put ones hopes up in spite of a loud action-promising trailer. But somehow, that voice at the back of your mind that gives people second chances rears its head and says to give these producers a fourth chance. “Fourth time’s a charm…”, or is it third? You’re not even sure which one is. So you do.
Accidental Spy tells the story of Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Prince, an IT guy who is having a hard time at work, gets cheated on by his girlfriend, wins a five million Naira bet and travels to London for a time to cool off from his heartbreak. He becomes a part of a mock reality action game that gets somewhat mixed up with a real-life assassination of an alternative power source creator, and has a target on his back from both the real assassin known as The Viper and the police. He meets and falls for the secret agent Beverly Walker, in charge of his monitoring, and in the end, he helps the police catch The Viper, an assassin they had sought to catch for years.
The story, while bursting with a number of good ideas, is horrendous in all of its execution. Written and produced by Darlington Abuda and directed by Roger Russell, the goodness of this idea stops at its logline. The rest is a pain to sit through.
First, the writer is unsure where Manny travels to. One minute he is in the UK, the next he says he is in America. Next, the UK police seem so dull it is impossible to take them seriously. To think they have been looking to catch one assassin (who is also quite terrible at being an assassin) for many years only to be helped by a Nigerian whose only strength is being ‘a true Nigerian’ is both ridiculous and preposterous. Then again, you wonder, how easy is it to mix up intel for a game show with a true assassination? How convenient is it that you win a bet just around the same time you are discussing needing funds for a holiday? The man who plans the assassination is all the way in Nigeria and sends his nephew, John, and his friend, James to help kill a man. Why didn’t he just resend the assassin? What was he hoping to achieve by sending the dumb duo?
There are many holes in this story, or perhaps the film itself is one big hole that manages to get stitched in places. The side attractions included to help do nothing for it either. Bryan Okwara who plays Manny’s friend and serial womanizer is shown in perhaps the most unbelievable scene ever where all the girls meet at his house and leave because he plays an unintelligent prank. His other housemate, played by David Jones has a bad stutter and elongates all his scenes by the stammering fit. It is an overworked, likely-AY-suggested joke, the stammering bit, but Jones seems to pull it off well enough, eliciting the only real laughter that comes from this action comedy film.
The film features Ramsey Nouah as Manny, Rahama Sadau as the girlfriend, Christine Adallo as Beverly, AY Makun and Emma Oh My God as John and James, Ali Baba as the uncle, and Miguel A. Nunez as The Viper. The acting generally could be way better, and aside from Ramsey Noah, Adallo (every once in a while) and Jones who try to make their roles work in spite of the limitations, the rest of the cast seems to treat this film like a primary school end of year carol play.
At every point of this hundred-and-five-minute film, and especially the end which is supposed to hit a possible climax and resolve, there’s something too shallow for normal reasoning that you can’t but sigh and roll your eyes to the heavens in wonder. You also want to question how there were so many people on this project and yet, no one could point out how really bad it is.
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