Directed by Sam Goldward & Daniel Childs
Starring Daniel Childs, Michael Jassey, Miguel Pires, Corey Simms, & Trevor Zelch
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
The spy-action genre is a beloved thing amongst film fans, who crave the thrilling stories of pop culture icons like James Bond, Jason Bourne, and The Kingsman, as much as their comedy counterparts like Austin Powers or Johnny English. This popularity is largely due to the boundless elements these stories get to contain, whilst still maintaining some semblance of reality. For instance, it is not unusual for a Bond movie to put James through so many stunts that he would most likely have died in the opening third, but audiences look past it because we extend disbelief to the point that we think 007 probably could survive jumping off a two-storey building onto an Aston Martin bonnet. Audiences also enjoy the levity which comes with these characters (Bourne aside). Witty rejoinders and classic puns are aplenty in the spy genre, and this sense of not taking itself too seriously makes these films incredibly appealing. Daniel Child’s short film (co-directed with Sam Goldward), Another Spy Film, certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously, but perhaps too much.
Set in a non-descript urban apartment block, and its adjoining car park, Another Spy Film contains two groups of ne'er do wellers about to collide. Inside one of the flats is a gang of drug dealers who are displaying some pretty typical gangster behaviour - cutting lines of what looks like cookie dough, flashing their weapons, and squaring up to each other for little or no reason. Parked outside are our spies (Daniel Childs, Michael Jassey & Miguel Pires) who are doing last minute reconnaissance before storming the drug dealers’ flat. Far from absorbing the gravity of their upcoming endeavour, the boys are busy bantering about Tinder and music. However, the task at hand waits for no teenager, and soon the gloves are on and it is fisticuffs aplenty.
Another Spy Film actually has more in common with a Guy Ritchie movie rather than a spy film. There is a hapless nature to all the characters who traverse this seedy underworld with little or no abilities. The thrilling action is massively outweighed by the attempted comedy, with a slapstick nature to the jokes and many of the performers fail to deliver any kind of depth. Aside from the #bantz between Childs and Jessey, the dialogue falls completely flat and audiences will struggle to know whether to laugh at it mockingly or to be disinterested by the childish humour. As the film grapples to a haphazard encounter between the two groups, the whole thing falls into a boring and stupid rhythm that needed a lot more planning.
On the positive side, there were glimpses of an idea that could have worked with a better script. Remove the stilted dialogue and the throwaway jokes, and there is a decent premise here. Street smart spies that rip on each other as much as they rip on their targets could certainly fall into a successful spy genre franchise. As mentioned Childs and Jessey provide for the film’s most entertaining moments, and whilst still amateur in their performances too, there was some promising interaction that audiences could find appealing.
Nothing too original or entertaining, Another Spy Film is not even another spy film. It does not contain enough intelligent filmmaking or storytelling to bother the genre, but does have traces of comedy which could find a sympathetic audience in the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels camp...but they would have to be in an incredibly forgiving mood.