Lone Wolf Sullivan is a writer, songwriter, and studio musician.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

AUSTIN POWERS: International Man of Mystery (1997) * * *

It's 1967, the Summer of Love in the groovy 1960's. Austin Powers (Mike Myers) a Carnaby Street swinger and British secret agent is trying to capture Dr. Evil (Myers again), a villain similar to those in the 007 movies. Dr. Evil goes into cryostasis to escape into the future and Austin Powers does the same.

In 1997, Austin is unfrozen and paired with agent Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley). Austin's possessions are returned to him by the Quartermaster Clerk (Neil Mullarkey), including a penis vacuum pump that Austin claims is not his. The clerk displays, "One Warranty card for a Swedish-made penis enlarger pump, filled out by Austin Powers." Austin protests, "I don't even know what that is. This sort of thing ain't my bag, baby." The clerk hands him a book, "Swedish-made Penis Enlargers and Me: This Sort of Thing Is My Bag, Baby" by Austin Powers.

Much has changed in 30 years, including advances in cosmetic dentistry, and Austin has his discoloured snaggled teeth fixed. It is very observant of Mike Myers to comment on the bad teeth of many 1960's British movie stars. Take a look at Patrick McGoohan's choppers the next time you watch THE PRISONER. Perhaps that is why England is notorious as the land of bad teeth.

Dr. Evil has also thawed out and meets with his henchmen. Mustafa (Will Ferrell) is incinerated and shot for no good reason. Number 2 (Robert Wagner) suggests they hijack a nuclear warhead and hold the world hostage. Dr. Evil meets his Gen-X son Scott Evil (Seth Green), who wants more quality time and less world conquest. Frau Farbissina (Mindy Sterling) reveals a new secret weapon: "Fembot" android models that have guns implanted in their breasts. Dr. Evil and Scott attend a group family therapy session.

Austin and Vanessa jet to Las Vegas to find Dr. Evil. At a blackjack game they find him, Number 2, and Alotta Fagina (Fabiana Udenio). Eventually Austin and Vanessa are captured and threatened with "ill-tempered mutated sea bass", because sharks are on the endangered species list. Our heroes escape with dental floss, blind the guard with toothpaste, and the British army raids the headquarters. Austin defeats the Fembots.

Vanessa: "Look, I know I'm being neurotic, but I can't shake off this suspicious feeling about Miss Fagina..."
Austin: "No, don't be sorry, baby. You're right to be suspicious. I shagged her."
Vanessa: "What?
Austin: "I shagged her rotten, baby, yeah!"
Vanessa: "Did you use protection?"
Austin: "Of course. I had my 9mm automatic."
Vanessa: "You know I meant, did you use a condom?"
Austin: "No, only sailors wear condoms, baby."
Vanessa: "Not in the '90s Austin."
Austin: "Well they should, those filthy buggers. They go from port to port."

Dr. Evil is located, and Austin stops his doomsday device. Vanessa is being held hostage by Alotta Fagina, which allows Dr. Evil to start a self-destruct sequence and retreat into outer space. Austin and Vanessa escape and get married.

AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY is a hilarious spoof and parody of 1960's spy films featuring James Bond, Derek Flint, and Matt Helm. It is the funniest movie in many years that goes very far on a one-joke premise. There is too much repugnant toilet humour, but you'll just have to get used to it, baby. "Behave." This movie is fabulous, truly shagadelic. AUSTIN POWERS cost $16.5 million to produce, made $68 million at the box office, and was a financial goldmine on home video and cable TV.

Others in the cast include: Michael York (Basil Exposition), Mimi Rogers (Mrs. Kensington), Paul Dillon (Patty O'Brien), Charles Napier (Commander Gilmour), Mark Bringleson (Andy Warhol), Clint Howard (Johnson Ritter), Elya Baskin (General Borschevsky), Carlton Lee Russel (Gary Coleman), Daniel Weaver (Vanilla Ice), Joe Son (Random Task), Kaye Wade (Mrs. Exposition), Patrick Bristow (Bolton), Burt Bacharach (himself), Susanna Hoffs (Ming Tea), Hannah Kozak (Rita), Ben Scott (Jurgen), John-Clay Scott (Don Luigi), and many others. Mike Myers wrote the script. Music was composed by George S. Clinton. Jay Roach directed.

AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME (1999) is the first sequel. Dr. Evil travels back to 1969 to steal Austin's mojo with the help of Fat Bastard (Mike Myers again). Mini-Me (Verne Troyer) is Dr. Evil's tiny clone. Most of the characters from the original reprise their roles and this time Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham) is Austin's love interest. It turns out that Vanessa Kensington was actually a Fembot, an object Austin destroys. This movie is just as good, with more of the same (including a few of the same jokes), but not as fresh. It was written by Mike Myers and Michael MCullers. Music is by George S. Clinton and Quincy Jones. Jay Roach directed again. The film grossed $310,000,000 and made more money during its opening weekend than the entire box office receipts of the original.

GOLDMEMBER (2002) is the third entry, a little better than the second perhaps. Sir Austin Danger Powers travels back to the 1975 Disco era to defeat Goldmember (Myers again) who is working with Dr. Evil. There is a cute self-parody film at the beginning called "Austinpussy" with Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and Steven Spielberg. This time Nigel Powers (Michael Caine) is Austin's neglectful father. Dr. Evil plans to use a tractor beam called "Preparation H" to pull a meteor to the polar icecaps and flood Earth. Detective Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles) helps Austin defeat the villains, Fat Bastard goes on a diet, and Dr. Evil is revealed to be Austin's brother. There are many cameos, more gross out humour, and let's hope there are more Austin Powers movies to come. The writing, musical and direction credits are the same as the first sequel. GOLDMEMBER grossed over $288,000,000.

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