Thursday, May 9, 2019

Movie Review: "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" (1997)

Director: Jay Roach
Year: 1997
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 29 minutes

A British secret agent from the swinging '60s named Austin Powers was placed in cryogenic stasis in case his talents and prowess as a spy were ever needed in the future. Powers gets thawed out in the '90s to take on his arch nemesis, Dr. Evil. These two enemies soon find out the world has changed a lot in the 30 years that they have been "on ice."

Austin Powers 1997 movie still Mike Myers
"Do you like to wash up first? You know, top and tails...whore's bath? Personally, before I'm on the job, I like to give my undercarriage a bit of a how's-your-father!" (Image Source)
Who needs James Bond when you have the unmatched virile masculinity of the sexy Austin Powers? "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" (1997) is directed by Jay Roach, who directed both of the sequels to this film, as well as movies like "Mystery, Alaska" (1999) and "Meet the Parents" (2000). It is written by Mike Myers himself, who plays the titular Austin Powers. Back in the '60s, Austin Powers was the man, baby, yeah! He was feared by criminals and adored by women everywhere. When his arch-nemesis Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) escapes in a cryogenic chamber and is launched into space, Austin agrees to go into cryo-freeze himself in case Dr. Evil ever returned. When Dr. Evil reemerges, it is 1997, and Austin is unfrozen to face him once again, only this time, both of the men are left adjusting to the cultural and historical changes that have occurred over the last 30 years.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery 1997 movie Elizabeth Hurley
"Mr. Powers, my job is to acclimatize you to the nineties. You know, a lot's changed since 1967." (Image Source)
We cannot deny that we love the first "Austin Powers" (1997). It is a hilarious spoof that pokes fun at spy films, primarily the "James Bond" franchise, especially the more campy ones that came out in the late '60s and '70s. Dr. Evil himself is modeled after James Bond's arch-nemesis Ernst Blofeld. A lot of the humor in this film is all about playing with the various different tropes found in the James Bond franchise, like over-complicated, slow-moving, easily escapable contraptions that villains use to try and kill the hero. It also has a steady stream of seemingly never-ending '90s pop culture references and an overabundance of sex jokes, so if you're prudish in any way, you'll want to stay away from this one. In many ways, this screenplay plays out the typical fish-out-of-water scenario where Austin Powers goes from the free love of the '60s to the much more sexually conservative, fiscally uptight, and socially conscious '90s. We laugh a lot each time we watch this movie and are surprised how well it holds up over time. Sure, some of the references are a little bit dated in 2019, but most of the nods to spy nostalgia are timeless. Mike Myers is fantastic as both Austin Powers and Dr. Evil. Supporting cast members Seth Green, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Hurley, and Michael York each get their moment to shine, but make no mistake about it, this is the Mike Myers show, so if you don't like his brand of humor, you're not going to enjoy this movie one bit.
Austin Powers 1997 movie still
"There's nothing more pathetic than an aging hipster." (Image Source)
We have watched "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" (1997) dozens of times over the years, and we will probably continue to watch it for decades to come. It is endlessly quotable, briskly paced, and hilariously entertaining. It doesn't get much better than fembots, mojos, penis enlarger pumps, and Alotta Fagina. 

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.0/10
RT Rating: 70%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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