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All the action. All the women. Half the intelligence.
Spy Hard (1996) is an action-comedy movie that marked the film debuts of Seltzer and Friedberg, spoofing spy and other action films. Leslie Nielsen stars as Dick Steele, Agent WD-40, opposite Nicolette Sheridan as his partner Veronique Ukrinsky, Agent 3.14, as the two try to stop the evil genius, General Rancor (Andy Griffith), from taking over the world.
The film was clearly aiming for the Zucker-Abrams-Zucker style of Rapid-Fire Comedy, but fell short and probably suffered from comparisons to the still-recent The Naked Gun films, the last of which was released just two years before this flick. Still, it has its moments; and it's Citizen Kane compared to the movies that Seltzer and Friedberg would go on to direct themselves. This makes a lot more sense when you consider it was Jason Friedberg's dad, Rick Friedberg, who both directed and wrote the final screenplay, proving the old adage that talent tends to skip a generation. (Not saying ol' Rick was a movie genius either).
This movie contains examples of:
- Blind Driving: See Drives Like Crazy below.
- Dramatic Space Drifting: Parodied when General Rancor is launched into space aboard his rocket, and then floats around until he slams into an Apollo-type spacecraft, prompting a voiceover of "Houston, we have a problem".
- Drives Like Crazy: The bus driver played by Ray Charles. Yes, the blind dude.
- Even the Subtitler Is Stumped
- Eye Poke: Used against Dick Steele. He blocks successfully but he's punched out immediately after anyway.
- Follow the Leader: Followed the spy movie parody genre - which is odd because James Bond never took itself seriously anyway.
- Full-Moon Silhouette: Executed during the Speed parody, during the bus jump.
- Hollywood Silencer: The bad guys use a pillow to silence the machine gun they are using to execute prisoners.
- To be fair, they were using it to execute a mime.
- Even better, in the Dutch subtitles, they "leg hem het zwijgen op". ("Silence him.")
- To be fair, they were using it to execute a mime.
- Inner Monologue Conversation: A seductress responds vocally to Dick's Inner Monologue.
- The Jimmy Hart Version: Bill Conti's score utilizes numerous parodies of famous movie music, including Home Alone, True Lies, ET the Extraterrestrial, In the Line of Fire, and Speed.
- Left the Background Music On: The Chief is talking, while facing the camera, about how horrible it will be if General Rancor succeeds in his master plan, while a violin is playing in the background. He then gets annoyed and turns around to yell at the violinist standing to the side.
- Lock and Load Montage: Parodied. The heroes get jumped by enemy mooks mid-montage.
- Made of Explodium: Weird Al Yankovic's head, after holding the final note of the title theme for about two minutes.
- Neon Sign Hideout: The villian's headquarters has a clearly marked "Intruder Entrance" sign on one of their doors, and it isn't Schmuck Bait either, it's actually pointing out to intruders the best place for them to enter.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: "McClatchey" is clearly supposed to be a stand-in for Macaulay Culkin.
- And This Is For: The bad guys hit him for the bad movies Culkin did.
"But I wasn't in My Girl 2!"
- Noisy Nature: Parodied.
- Nun-Too-Holy: ... but they will make you hole-y.
- Parody Failure: Partial example with the spoof sequence of True Lies, given that that was itself a comedic and near-parodic take on spy action films.
- Similarly, there is a parody of the already absurd scene from Pulp Fiction where John Travolta and Uma Thurman dance the Batusi. It's no more ridiculous than the original.
- Don't forget the Sister Act spoof, another film that was already a comedy.
- Basically Foreshadowing of Seltzer and Friedberg's later films. They never do seem to know if the movie they're spoofing was a drama, or an actual comedy.
- Playing Against Type: Andy Griffith as a supervillian
- Pungeon Master: General Rancor.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: That note that Weird Al sings that was edited to last for a ridiculously long amount of time? Nope. That was the plan, but Al found out he really could hold the note out that long.
- Running Gag: A jogger is frequently injured during the film. Also the guy who keeps getting hit in the chest with arrows and knives.
- She's Got Legs: Parodied.
- Spiritual Successor: To The Naked Gun films.
- Suicidal Gotcha: Steele escapes by jumping off a roof, only to appear again in a Harrier jump-jet, scaring off the pursuers. It is then revealed to be a prop being lifted by a helicopter for a billboard.
- Take My Hand
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That
- This Page Will Self-Destruct: Steele leaves the tape recorder in the helicopter that he was being flown in.
- Wafer-Thin Mint
- Wag the Director: The final screenplay for the film was supposedly thrown together hastily by Leslie Nielsen, Rick Friedberg and another writer, after Nielsen had serious issues with the original screenplay that Jason Friedberg and Aaron Selzter had written. This probably accounts for the somewhat disjointed nature of the final product.
- Viewers Are Goldfish: Parodied.
- Your Head Asplode: Weird Al Yankovic, hitting the high note of doom.