Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Secret Agents and Spies

I love doing 31 Days of Horror every year. I'm also glad when it's over. Toward the end of October, I start to feel a little boxed in. Thankfully, Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, our host for the epic Thursday Movie Picks, has given us a perfect topic to help me stretch out. The topic this week is "Secret Agents and Spies."

Hell. Yeah.

And boys and girls, when I say I'm stretching out I mean it in more ways than one. First, you've already seen or are about to see Spectre and may have just recently watched every James Bond flick ever made, so we're staying away from those. Recent fare like Kingsman: The Secret Service and Spy were huge hits, so we're not going there, either. Second, the rules call for us to suggest a trio of movies on the topic at hand. Damn the rules, we're just going for broke. Enough of this intro crap, let's get to it.

Enter the Dragon
Oh, you didn't know that the greatest martial arts flick ever made was a spy flick. All the elements of a great Bond flick are here except ridiculous gadgets. Bruce Lee's character is a renowned Shaolin martial artist who gets recruited by British Intelligence to infiltrate Han's Island where they suspect Han of running drugs, hookers, and anything else dirty he can dip his hands into. I love this movie more than most of you love your family. I've blogged about it here, here, and here.

True Lies
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays an agent for a Top Secret U.S. anti-terrorism unit while leading his wife to believe he is just a computer salesman. It's action-packed, and humorous, if totally right-winged, and includes a scene that is arguably both the sexiest and the funniest thing Jamie Lee Curtis has ever done on film. Until something changes, this is the last great Arnie movie.

Angelina Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, a US spy who is one of the best in the business. One day a Russian defector shows up and tells the powers that be that Salt is actually a Russian spy. Naturally, she goes on the run trying to figure a way to clear her name...or learn the truth about herself. An amazingly tense cat-and-mouse ensues. I went to see it during its opening weekend back in 2010. When I got home that night, I set aside money for tickets to Salt 2. Therefore, this next sentence is only for Angelina Jolie, should she happen to stumble upon my little site. Please Ms. Jolie, make Salt 2.

Let's stretch a little more and say you don't need your spy flicks to be um...good. However, you don't want them to just be bad. They have to be a certain kind of bad. They have to be so bad they're awesome! Then check these out.

Our hero is actually a comic book writer who happens to have a friend who is a clerk for the CIA. This association gets him unwittingly in the middle of the international espionage game where he makes up an identity and gets the CIA to provide with gadgets of his own design. Yup, dude is both James Bond and Q. And he stays true to his comic book roots by coming up with a costume. This movie is part spy flick, part superhero flick, and all goofy-cheesy-early 80s craptacularity.

Four young ladies are about to graduate from a secret training school for spies known as D.E.B.S. which stands for Discipline, Energy, Beauty, and Strength. Nope, I'm not kidding. They are played by Meagan Good, Devon Aoki, Jill Ritchie, and Sara Foster. Anyhoo, they have to spring into action for real to try and stop the super villain known as Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster of the Fast and Furious franchise). Imagine a younger version of Charlie's Angels, the McG movies not the 70s TV show, where all the characters are lesbians. Make it even sillier, and keep it PG-13. That's D.E.B.S.

An Andy Sidaris Triple Feature
Malibu Express, Hard Ticket to Hawaii, Picasso Trigger
(1985, 1987, 1988)
Okay, Condorman is PG, and D.E.B.S. is PG-13. You had fun with those, but now you're ready for some cheesy 80s soft-core porn R-rated action. Andy Sidaris is just the man to give it to you. All three of these movies...most of his other ones, too...involve a bevy of buxom, often undressed, babes who are agents Agency. Just like James Bond, they take on megalomaniacal villains between showers, time in the hot tub, dressing, undressing, and/or sex. The actresses, if you want to call them that, are known only to those who watched Skinemax and/or perused the pages of Playboy and Penthouse during the 80s.


  1. With the exception of D.E.B.S. which I thought was OK and Condorman (which I haven't seen), I'm totally on board with all of these films. Especially the Andy Sidaris films. Lots of hooters and violence. What more can a guy ask for in a film?

  2. I keep seeing the trailer for D.E.B.S everywhere. It stalks me on youtube. I kinda want to see it though because it looks a tad silly. I think you need that movie one in a while. True Lie - excellent pick! My favourite is Bill Paxton. He's so ridiculous.

    Katie - Ever So Ethnically Confused

    1. Paxton is so great in this, it's probably my favorite role of his.

  3. Why is this the first time I've heard about True Lies?! I need to see this, like now. It sounds awesome, ha!
    - Allie

  4. D.E.B.S.!!! That movie is not good exactly, but I still love it so much - surprisingly silly and sweet with so many great one-liners. Weirdly, and unfortunately, that's the only one of these I've seen. That needs must be fixed.

  5. I've never seen any of these, but I really should see Enter the Dragon, that's such a classic. I have seen bits and pieces of whatever the hell D.E.B.S was supposed to be. lol

  6. I've never thought of Enter the Dragon that way but it certainly fits. I'd agree that True Lies is the last good Arnie flick as Arnie flicks go in terms of quality, glad to see that mention of Jamie Lee Curtis she's terrific in the film. I didn't love Salt as much as you but it was a decent movie and I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel. I watched D.E.B.S. recently based on it being mentioned on a previous Thursday, it was fun in its way while still being pretty lame. Speaking of lame I've seen two of that trifecta of cheesy cinema, Picasso Trigger and Hard Ticket to Hawaii, and they were exactly what they set out to be-silly exploitation fodder but neither encourages me to see out the third! I've heard of Condorman but I've never had the opportunity to see it.

    I also tried to mix it up a bit this week with a mix of silly and serious, my three plus an extra are:

    If Looks Could Kill (1991)-High school senior Michael Corben, then hot young actor Richard Grieco, headed to France with the French club is mistaken for international spy Michael Corbin and finds himself, now outfitted with all sorts of spy paraphernalia, pursued by an evil cartel that is planning to take control of the European money markets. Fun spoof on the spy genre with Roger Rees and especially Linda Hunt chewing the high grade ham and Robin Bartlett hysterical as The French Teacher.

    Three Days of the Condor (1975)-Joe Turner code name Condor (Robert Redford) a CIA reader whose function is to search literature for conspiracy theories works with a small group in a quiet neighborhood in Washington D.C. One day he slips out the back door for lunch and when he returns finds everyone dead. He phones the agency to be brought in but when he arrives at the rendezvous another attempt is made on his life. A hunted man now he must stay one step ahead of the covert agency within the CIA while trying to solve the puzzle of what the murders mean.

    Pick-up on South Street (1953)-Small time hood Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark) pickpockets a young woman’s purse on a crowded subway. Unknown to both is that along with the money she was carrying a piece of top secret microfilm planted by her boyfriend, a Communist agent. Under duress the young girl, Candy, contacts Moe Williams (Thelma Ritter) a police informant to discover Skip’s whereabouts and recover the purloined article. She reluctantly attempts to seduce Skip to recover the film but falls for him instead. The agent desperate to get the incriminating item takes extreme measures causing Skip, now determined to stop him, into a confrontation.

    Honorable Mention- Gotcha! (1985)-Jonathan Moore, played by Anthony Edwards when he had a full head of hair, is a puppyish UCLA college student who is also the reigning champ at “Gotcha!”, a paintball game played throughout campus. On vacation in West Germany with his best friend he’s seduced by the mysterious Sasha (Linda Fiorentino) a sexy slightly older woman who turns out to be an international spy. When she suddenly disappears he finds himself pursued by mysterious men who are trying to kill him for reasons unknown. When he returns home to LA he finds a strange canister of film in his backpack and a team of KGB agents in pursuit. All at once Jonathan is in a real life or death game of “Gotcha!”. As serious as it sounds this is played in a lighthearted vein. It’s fluff but good fluff.

    1. Of your picks, I've only seen If Looks Could Kill, but only vaguely remember anything about it. Richard Grieco just never left much of an impression on me. Three Days of the Condor is one of those I have been meaning to see forever. I need to see more Robert Redford in general. The number I have actually watched is woefully low.

    2. Oh Condor is great, a taut story with excellent direction by Sydney Pollack, as is the novel that was the basis for the film, Six Days of the Condor. I read it in a day.

    3. I've often heard that it's great. I just need to get to it.

  7. I saw this Bruce Lee film but something like 40 yrs ago and I don't remember much. True Lies is one Arnie flick I really enjoy-funny and full of action. I have come across SALT but when it was part way through and I don't want to see a film unless I can see the beginning. I haven't heard of the rest but Condorman sounds funny

    1. I also saw it 40 years ago...and just about every year since. I hope you give Salt a try. I really enjoyed it.

  8. Love Arnie in True Lies. One of his funniest and most kick-ass performances

  9. I don't think I'd want a sequel to Salt, and that's solely based on the fact that Angie does very, very few projects these days. I'd like to see her in something outside of another action flick!

    1. I get that. It's just that the story demands a sequel...and I have seriously been yearning for one since I saw it.