Thursday, June 9, 2016

Spy Time aka Anacleto: Agente Secreto (SIFF 2016) - Movie Review

Spy Time, also known as Anacleto: Agente Secreto, is a super spy, action comedy directed by Javier Ruiz Caldera and is based off of a classic Spanish comic book character created Manuel Vázquez Gallego. The film, an official selection of the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival, features acting performances from Imanol Arias, Quim Gutiérrez, Alexandra Jiménez, Berto Romero, and Carlos Areces.

The Story:
Anacleto (Arias) is an aging secret agent who never fails yet has found it harder and harder as his department has suffered from budget cuts and a lack of government support. When his arch nemesis Vázquez (Areces) reveals that he knows Anacleto has a son (Gutiérrez), the super spy does everything he can to protect his offspring who, by the way, thinks his father is a humble sausage maker. Thus begins the ultimate test of good versus evil where the man who "never fails" will be put to the ultimate test.

Yes, this film is meant to be a spoof of the super spy genre and is filled with movie references from James Bond to Jason Bourne, yet it actually stands on its own as a really fun and entertaining entry into the genre. I would best describe it as equal parts James Bond, Kingsman, and The Naked Gun all from a Spanish director's perspective. Javier Ruiz Caldera definitely has an eye for comedy although his biggest strength might be in getting the most out of a relatively small budget as the action in this film is all done with practical effects and, in most cases, all of the stunts are performed by the principle cast members. What's interesting is that the lack of expensive CGI actually works to this film's advantage and fits the comedic tone very nicely.

From what I understand, Imanol Arias, who plays the lead character, is a highly respected actor in Spain who has enjoyed years of success in both TV and film although he is more well known for dramatic roles so this was a bit of a departure for him. That being said, I believe he may have found a new angle to his career as his work in this film is spot on and suits the character perfectly. Granted, he plays more of a straight man character to his on screen bumbling and nervously excited son Adolpho, played by Quim Gutiérrez, but he does get plenty of laughs on his own as well. Another noteworthy performance in this film would be Carlos Areces' (Game of Werewolves aka Lobos de Arga) work as Vázquez, the evil mastermind who has always tried to defeat Anacleto.

The Verdict:
Spy Time is a really fun movie that works perfectly as both a spy thriller and an action comedy. Yes, being from Spain, the film is subtitled but please don't let that keep you from seeing what I consider to be one of the more entertaining movies of the year. Oh, and by the way, it's available right now on Netfilx streaming!

CLICK HERE to check out my interview with director Javier Ruiz Caldera!

Check out all of my reviews and coverage for the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival HERE!


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