Ok folks. I am done playing catch up so it is back to reviewing all of the movies I bought or was gifted over the year. So let’s start with today’s movie, Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I did not buy this movie, nor did any of my friends give it to me. So how is it that I own this movie and doing a review for it, you might ask? Well, the answer to that lies in the modern era of movies and digital/ultraviolet copies. See, several of the movies I have bought over the years have codes for ultraviolet or digital copies included with them. So I had signed up for a Vudu account, and a Movies Anywhere account, and inputted the codes onto the site to get the digital copies of the movies. However, what I honestly didn’t notice at the time is that I was given several movies for free when I opened these accounts. The only reason I noticed was when I listed my movies in alphabetical order and this movie came up towards the front. So there are going to be some movie reviews over the next few weeks for movies that I honestly would never have considered buying, but I will be fair with my reviews. Now, onto to today’s movie. I will admit that I did not see this movie in theaters but I saw it numerous times when it came out on video, as it seemed like everyone wanted to rent it or would buy their own copy. I have to admit that it has been a while since I watched it so let’s see if it still holds up.
The plot: In a secret lair outside of Las Vegas in 1967, Dr. Evil is holding a meeting with some of the world’s deadliest assassins, where he chastises them for failing to kill Austin Powers; promptly killing 4 of them and leaving Frau Farbissina and Mustafa still alive to deal with Austin. In London, Austin Powers and his partner, Mrs. Kensington, are contacted by Basil Exposition, head of British Intelligence, who warns them about a plot to kill Austin at the Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club. Austin and Mrs. Kensington head to the club and uncover one of the assassins posing as a woman but before the can question him, he is shot in the back with a harpoon by Dr. Evil. Austin and Mrs. Kensington give chase only to see Dr. Evil, and his cat Mrs. Bigglesworth get into a cryo-preservation pod and launch into space inside a rocket disguised as a Big Boy statue. 30 years later, a NORAD radar operator contacts Commander Gilmour to alert him about an object shaped like Big Boy entering Earth’s orbit before it disappears somewhere over Nevada. Realizing what this means, Gilmour heads to London and meets with Basil at the British Department of Defense. Basil explains that Austin had volunteered to be frozen in case Dr. Evil returns and they proceed to thaw him out. Once Austin is thawed out, he is introduced to his new partner, Mrs. Kensington’s daughter Vanessa, who tells him that she will be working on getting him acclimated to the 90’s, and after collecting his possessions, they head out to his private jet and take off for Nevada. Meanwhile, in Dr. Evil’s lair, Dr. Evil meets with his henchmen, having Mustafa killed for his failure with the cryo unit that resulted in Mrs. Bigglesworth’s hair falling out. Dr. Evil then introduces Frau Farbissina to Patty O’Brien, Random Task, and Numer 2, who runs the legitimate arm of Dr. Evil’s empire, Virtucon. Dr, Evil tells his henchmen that he has some ideas on holding the world for ransom but when he is told that his plans have already occurred, he decides that they should just steal a nuke and blackmail for $100 billion (after learning that $1 million is no longer as high a sum as it was in ’67). Later, Frau tells him that the used some of the semen he had frozen to create a son, and introduces him to Scott but Scott is resentful that Dr. Evil is just now showing up and tells him that he hates him. On Austin’s plane, Vanessa is trying to be serious about the mission but Austin keeps attempting to seduce her, only to be shot down. When they arrive in Las Vegas, Vanessa explains that they are undercover as a married couple and that Virtucon executives gamble at the casino they are staying in, then points out Number 2. Austin joins Number 2 at the black jack table and after losing his hand, tells Vanessa to keep an eye on his assistant, Alotta Fagina, while he follows Number 2. Austin follows Number 2 into the men’s room only to lose him but as he sits on one of the toilets, Patty O’Brien appears from a secret panel and attempts to strangle him but Austin is able to kill him by drowning him in the toilet. Back at his lair, Dr. Evil shows his cohorts that they have successfully grabbed the nuke before placing a call to the United Nations. Once he has them on the view screen, Dr. Evil tells them that they must pay him $100 billion if they want the nuke back, then ends the call when they tell him they don’t negotiate with terrorists. Back in Las Vegas, Austin and Vanessa are staking out Virtucon when Austin sees Random Task carrying Mrs. Bigglesworth out of the building and recognizes her. With nothing to do for the time being, Austin takes Vanessa for a night on the town and when they return to the hotel, a drunken Vanessa asks Austin to kiss her but he refuses, not wanting to take advantage of her. Vanessa then asks him to tell her about her mother when he knew her and Austin tells her that she loved her husband and if she wasn’t married, he might have tried being serious with her, as he loved her as well, but that ship sailed. Vanessa falls asleep and Austin receives a video call from Basil, telling him to sneak into Alotta Fagina’s penthouse and discover what she knows about something called Project Vulcan. Austin breaks into the penthouse and takes pictures of her files when Alotta Fagina returns to her penthouse, only to find Austin sitting there waiting for her. Austin speaks with her briefly before she changes into a kimono and invites Austin into the hot tub with her and they eventually end up having sex, but not before Alotta learns Austin’s real identity. The next day, Vanessa takes Austin to get some new equipment and Austin shows Basil the files he photographed from Alotta’s penthouse while Vanessa tells Basil that they plan on going as tourists on the tour of Virtucon and see if they can discover where Project Vulcan is and shut it down. Meanwhile, Dr. Evil is upset that Austin is getting close to their scheme but Frau shows him her new weapon to kill Austin; android women called Fembots, with guns hidden inside their breasts. Dr. Evil is pleased with the Fembots but is less than thrilled having to attend a father/son counseling session with Scott. Back in Las Vegas, Vanessa talks to Austin and voices her concerns and jealousy about Alotta Fagina and when Austin tells her she was right to be concerned, as he did sleep with her, Vanessa gets upset with him, telling him that this isn’t the 60’s anymore. Austin goes out and has a hard look at himself, realizing almost everyone he knew is dead and how much really happened while he was frozen. The next day, Austin and Vanessa head to Virtucon and sneak inside but after they make it past the guards, they are knocked unconscious by Random Task and transported to Dr. Evil’s lair. Inside his lair, Dr. Evil contacts the U.N. and tells them what Project Vulcan entails and the U.N. agrees to pay the ransom. Dr. Evil then has Austin and Vanessa join him for dinner, which confuses Scott as he feels they should just shoot them and be done with it. Dr. Evil tells Scott that he doesn’t get how things work, then orders Austin and Vanessa lowered into a pit containing sharks with lasers on their head but Number 2 says they couldn’t get the sharks and instead have mutated sea bass. Leaving Austin and Vanessa to their fate, Dr. Evil heads off to start the drill for Project Vulcan. Austin and Vanessa manage to escape the trap and Austin sends Vanessa to get some back up while he keeps an eye on Dr. Evil but he ends up being captured by the fembots. Trying to get away from the fembots, Austin decides to counter their charms with his own and ends up shorting them out and making their heads explode. Vanessa shows up at the aftermath and wonders why Austin is in his briefs and when he explains what happened, she tells him she believes him and to get dressed. Austin and Vanessa lead an attack on the drilling platform and Austin manages to abort the drill before it reaches the Earth’s core but Dr. Evil gets away. Austin chases after him and goes to capture him but Alotta Fagina appears, holding a gun to Vanessa’s head. Austin grabs Scott to hold hostage but when Dr. Evil tells Austin to go ahead and kill him, Scott runs out of the room. Number 2 shows up but instead of helping Dr. Evil, he tells Austin he wants to give him the evidence he needs to put Dr. Evil away, as Number 2 would prefer continuing to run Virtucon as a legit company. Dr. Evil kills Number 2 and Vanessa uses the distraction to knock out Alotta Fagina but Dr. Evil gets back into his cryo chamber and blasts off in the Big Boy Rocket, activating the self destruct before he leaves. Austin, Vanessa, and their team get away and three months later, Austin and Vanessa are shown to be married. As they are enjoying their honeymoon, Basil calls them to tell them that Dr. Evil has disappeared from their scopes. After hanging up on Basil, they hear a knock on the door and Austin thinks it is the room service he ordered but it turns out to be Random Task, who attempts to kill Austin. Austin and Vanessa manage to beat him and after getting rid of him, they go out on to their balcony to look at the stars and see the Big Boy rocket flying in space, where Dr. Evil vows revenge on Austin Powers.
Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A light and goofy comedy which provides laughs, largely due to performances and screenwriting by Myers.” The America Online on Austin’s computer is version 3.0. In the commentary on the DVD, Director Jay Roach states that he did the AOL product placement to get a free year of service from them. The movie was a box office hit, earning $67.7 million off of a $16.5 million budget and would become a cultural icon of the late 90’s/early ’00’s, and would spawn 2 sequels, with a 3rd sequel supposedly in development since 2005 but has yet to progress any further.
Maybe my taste in comedy have changed some in the last 20 years but while I still find this movie to be funny, it is not to the same degree that I once thought it was. The acting was good, with Mike Meyers doing a good job in the dual roles of Austin Powers and Dr. Evil. I also liked Elizabeth Hurley as Vanessa Kensington and thought that Robert Wagner (Number 2), Mindy Sterling (Frau Farbissina), and Seth Green (Scott) made for some funny scenes. The story was pretty funny, mainly spoofing James Bond but also spoofing the 60’s spy genre in general. I also liked the idea of a man being thrown out of time and forced to adapt, as it brings the story of Rip Van Winkle to new life in a way. The comedy was pretty much one sexual innuendo joke after another for the most part, with a couple of slap stick elements and some bantering to kind of even things out. It might not be as funny to everyone now but it is still one of those movies that is good for a laugh.
Rating: 4 out of 5