Think of movie spies and you probably immediately think of a dashingly handsome fellow in an immaculate suit, with a roguish smile and a tricked-out supercar, ready to serve/bed the world one cold-hearted pun at a time. What you don’t think of, is a foul-mouthed Melissa McCarthy on a Vespa. And yet, that’s exactly what you’re getting this week in Spy, one of the most fun spy movies I’ve seen since, well, the last fun spy movie I saw in Kingsman: The Secret Service.
With both of those flicks focusing on people you wouldn’t normally label as world-saving secret agents, we thought we would take a look at some other unlikely spies who still managed to get the job done despite appearances.
- Rowan Atkinson (Johnny English)
The thought of Mr Bean as an international spy is certainly a ridiculous one. This is the nigh mute man-child who fell asleep on a roller coaster, and took a dead fish to the supermarket in his jacket pocket so that he could measure out the frying pan he wanted to purchase. But this is also the talented and ineffable Rowan Atkinson, so it should have come as no surprise when the film quadrupled its budget in box office takings and spawned a sequel that mirrored its success.
- Colin Firth (Kingsman: The Secret Service)
Sure Firth may have the English stiff upper lip inherent in so many pop culture spies, but he could barely fight his way out of a laughably pathetic, limp-wristed scuffle in a fountain with Hugh Grant, much less stop some super-terrorists. And then came director Matthew Vaughn’s brilliantly demented Kingsman: The Secret Service – and especially that church scene – and suddenly Firth found his name keeping some strange adjectival company with words like “badass”, “action hero” and “OMFGWTFBBQ?!!”.
- Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase (Spies Like Us)
Hey, it’s a two-fer, as 1980’s comedy idols Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase teamed up to star in a comedy from the legendary John Landis that saw them as… spies? I mean when it came to the type of characters they normally played, Aykroyd and Chase’s names weren’t exactly synonymous with “intelligence”, secret or otherwise. And well, they kept that streak going in this movie as well, despite the CIA’s best efforts to turn them into proper agents.
- Bill Murray (The Man Who Knew Too Little)
It’s Bill [email protected]&%ing Murray as a spy. Do I really need to say more? Oh I do? Well, then okay, it’s actually Bill Murray as a fake spy, as he thinks he’s part of an elaborate “Theatre of Life” production, but has actually stumbled right into the middle of an actual plot to rekindle the Cold War. Cue jokes about dead people, bad dancing and double entendres about… cigars.
- Mike Myers (Austin Powers)
Who would have ever thought that the basement dwelling doofus from Wayne’s World would go on to become on the movie world’s most famous spies. With the worst dental hygiene. Myers’ sexed up spoof on 60’s spy movies has became a cultural phenomenon and spawned at least one person in costume at every Halloween party you’ve ever been to, asking people if he makes them horny. Groovy, baby.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger (True Lies)
Sure Arnold Schwarzenneger has made a career out of stopping the megalomaniac bad guys and saving the world – which is a prime requisite for any movie spy worth his vodka martini (shaken not stirred, of course) – but spying usually falls under what you might term “covert ops”. Last time I checked, a walking man-mountain of Austian muscle with an accent even thicker than his veiny thighs, is not exactly “covert”. And yet, there he was in James Cameron’s 1994 classic, some going undercover well enough to full his on-screen wife played by Jamie Lee Curtis to give him one of the most infamous stripteases outside of that time Darryn drank too much at his birthday party.
- Val Kilmer (Top Secret!)
Way before Val Kilmer became the bloated goofball that he is today, he was Batman. Even more importantly though, before he was Batman, he was Nick Rivers, the greatest “skeet surfing” American rock star to ever get caught up in the resistance movement opposing Nazi Germany. In my opinion, easily the greatest slapstick comedy of all time, and at the centre of it all is Kilmer’s Rivers and wacky adventures. Tutti Fruti indeed!
Last Updated: June 4, 2015