Take 2: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

"Yeah baby!"

We’ve been trying pepper the James Bond marathon with some faintly relevant films, and realised it’d been years since we last saw Austin Powers. Not since it came out, in fact.

Mike Myers stars as the hero Austin Powers, a 1960s super spy, frozen in time and in defrosted in 1997 to confront his nemesis, Dr. Evil.

This is perhaps the most well-known spy-spoof out there, and it’s hard to look at it with fresh eyes. It parodies famous Bond tropes but in doing so manages to be one of the most original comedies of the last 20 years.

Its catchphrases and quirks have become so ingrained in pop culture that people quote this film without realising.

There’s a couple of bits I’d forgotten about that got a laugh from me:

  • Will Ferrell’s hilarious turn as a guy who gets dropped into a fiery pit but won’t quite die. We hear his screams as Dr. Evil tries to conduct a board meeting.
  • The fact that the Evil empire is doing better at legitimate business than as a criminal enterprise.

So much of the dialogue compares the 60s to the 90s that one can’t help but compare the 90s to now. That doesn’t exactly make Austin Powers a timeless classic but the jokes are largely still amusing.

If you like broad humour paired with subtle references, Austin Powers may just be for you.

Perhaps not as funny as in ‘97 but still good for a laugh and Liz Hurley in a catsuit doesn’t hurt anyone.

Jay Roach | 1997 | IMDB | Wikipedia