Spy Intervention review

Plenty of films toy with less-used premises – even then, hearkening back to the days of Johnny English, the "spymedy" is itself not terribly new. Every now and then, however, a film takes a look at certain territory and deems it the path less travelled; and in this case, it does not succeed.

Spy Intervention, bluntly named, from newcomer Drew Mylrea, wears its premise and inspiration on its sleeve. Globetrotting man of "mystery" Corey Gage (Drew van Acker), who is so often seen in a tuxedo or similar attire that one expects him to shed them like snakeskin to find new clothes beneath them, is compelled to abandon his life of thrills and espionage after an extremely sudden encounter with Pam (Poppy Delevigne) that almost immediately blossoms into romance. After having left the 007 business, the titular intervention comes in the form of one of Gage’s colleagues looking to drag him back into the spotlight for one last mission after the idyllic allure of married life has lost its luster.

On paper, this seems like a pitch that will wring at least a few laughs and moments of intrigue from any crowd. In practice, however, the opposite couldn’t be any more true – even if it is a first-time outing from a new director, that alone does precious little to excuse the lack of enjoyment and intrigue on offer off the back of such a narrative thrust. The humour is flat and predictable – a chief standout is a toe-curlingly irritating exchange at a hardware store where the focal point of the conversation is fixture purchases – all notions of chemistry are virtually non-existent, and the cast members either try their best or sleepwalk through a script that lacks substance or nuance – and, at times, is alarmingly sexist.

The majority of the cast appears distant and disinterested, with only fleeting flashes of genuine connection between Van Acker and Natasha Bassett’s character, fellow agent Alexandria, illuminating an otherwise dreadfully lifeless, rote and even rather outdated affair. It is in the movie’s few direct homages to elements of the spy genre that it shines the brightest, chiefly through cinematography tricks that imitate classic scene transitions and Roger Suen’s soundtrack, which does its level best to be appropriately atmospheric when the film calls for it. When everyone is essentially crammed together in a single location for the finale, Spy Intervention comes closest to but good effort and parlor tricks alone cannot conceal the boring, empty void that lies at the centre of this misadventure.

007 this is not – Johnny English, this is certainly not. The end result is a product neither shaken nor stirred, and it is advised that you simply allow this badly-aimed mess to self-destruct of its own accord.

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Jack Gibbs is a Screenjabber contributor

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