Luc Besson‘s ace French spy flick Nikita gets a DVD re-release today. If for some weird reason you haven’t seen it (seriously?) then don’t worry, here’s a brief recap: Nikita is a convicted felon and a bit of a junky. After her attempts at a drug store robbery go tits up, she’s captured and given a choice: she can turn her life around and become a super deadly assassin for the French Secret Service or she can work out the rest of her days in a dark, dank French prison where the inmates all look dodgy and the cheese and wine are probably terrible. Guess which one she picks?
Nikita or Le Femme Nikita as it’s sometimes known is a smart, slick, euro actioner that cemented director Luc Besson firmly into the minds of movie geeks worldwide. Not only that, but it proved so popular that it even spawned a TV show spin off that lasted five seasons. Pretty impressive. Perhaps its popularity could be boiled down to the message it conveys: that anyone can become something great. If a small and seemingly meek ex-junkie could be transformed into a bullet spewing secret sleuth so can YOU, or anyone for that matter. And by the looks of it, that’s definitely the message Hollywood took away from the movie. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof: five of the most unlikely spies and secret agents ever to appear on screen.
Sterling Archer from Archer (FX)
Sterling Archer is a womanizing idiot. That may sound quite blunt, but it’s true. However he’s also quite the spy. Born into a life of tuxedos, fast cars and deadly gadgets Archer works for ISIS (International Secret Intelligence Service) and spends his time bumbling through life threatening situations and arguing with his ex-girlfriend and hardened spy co-worker Lana Kane. Archer puts an off-beat, irreverent spin on the secret agent genre and by picking the quirky vocal talents of H. Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers) to voice its lead guarantees that Sterling Archer is instantly relatable to viewers. If a character who refuses to wear anything other than ‘tactical turtlenecks’ can be a spy, so can you.
Darwin, Juarez, Blaster, Speckles and Fly – G Force
Let’s just all take a minute to think about this next one. Guinea Pigs entrusted with the fate of humanity. Guinea pigs wearing shades. I don’t know what would be harder to live with; the news that humanity’s last line of defense is a group of sassy mouthed fur balls or, if they somehow managed to save the world, having to carry on with your day to day life fully well aware that you owe your very freedom to guinea pigs. Guinea pigs wearing shades. There’s a boardroom in Hollywood somewhere where this movie was pitched to a group of stuffy looking executives and they ALL thought it was good enough to green light. Meanwhile, Anchorman 2 got shelved. Where’s the justice? Where are the guinea pigs wearing shades when you actually need them?
Carmen and Juni Cortez – Spy Kids
Robert Rodriguez‘s trilogy of kiddie spy flicks has recently become a foursome with the release of Spy Kids: All The Time In The World and it’s a franchise that’s just goofy and fun enough to work. Rodriguez’s immersive and playful style grabs the attention of viewers who have always wondered what it would be like to feel and even smell the action up close (part 3 was in 3D while part 4 was in smell-o-vision) and doesn’t let go. His star pulling power doesn’t hurt either. Viewers of all ages will find something fun here, be it the imaginative gadgetry these kids get to tamper with or the multiple big name cameos, it’s a family affair and an unlikely, but fun secret agent romp.
Helen Tasker – True Lies
James Cameron has always been a big supporter of females who can handle their weapons. Let’s not forget, if it wasn’t for this notoriously hot tempered director we wouldn’t have the cyborg fighting Sarah Connor or the alien blasting re-imagining of Lt Ellen Ripley. He’s a pro at transforming the most unlikely of characters into hardened gun-toting heroes. True, most of them might only be a few inches away from being bat shit crazy, but dammit, they get the job done. Helen Tasker, Arnie’s mild and meek wife played by Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies swaps her boring suburban life for that of a sexy secret agent. Most guys will only remember the tantalizing strip-tease scene, but funnily enough, she’s actually in the rest of the movie too. I think.
Nina Myers – 24
Nina Myers, oh Nina Myers. The only woman, no wait scratch that, person, to ever get the better of Jack Bauer, the undisputed king of badass. I know what you’re thinking, ‘She worked at CTU, how is she an unlikely spy? This list is meandering all over the place MAKE SOME GODDAMN SENSE’ and to that I’d say chill out, you’re getting a bit too involved. Allow me to explain. Yes, it’s true that Myers worked at the Counter Terrorism Unit along side Jack and she was even their second in command. It’s this trust she forged with viewers that made her such an unlikely spy, because as soon as she was revealed to be a terrorist mole, that trust was soon splattered everywhere like poop hitting some sort of fanning mechanism. You really can’t trust anyone in that show.
Words by Simon Bland.