Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery (1997)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery is the first spy spoof in the Austin Powers franchise.

Having failed to kill his nemesis in the 1960's, Austin Powers (Mike Myers) follows Dr. Evil (also Myers) in getting cryogenically frozen and both are thawed in the 1990's.

As Dr. Evil continues his evil plans in the 1990's by settling on asking for one million one hundred billion dollars in return for nuclear weapons (a plan only thought up after his original plans had already happened by chance), Powers struggles to acclimatise himself with the changes in fashion and outlook in the 30-year gap and insists that his ruffled tie and high libido live on regardless.

Standing in Austin's way are well-known James Bond villains - or at least their spoofs - and Austin is aided by Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley).

Most spoofs tend to be long, drawn-out affairs that milk laughs out of the film making of great directors. They take existing characters, exaggerate their weak points and end up with empty unrelatable shells.

Austin Powers is not a traditional spoof. Although much of the storyline is borrowed heavily from James Bond's From Russia With Love, Austin Powers takes this and develops slightly. Being a spoof, it is outlandishly funny, but it isn't over the top. There are running jokes throughout, but Austin Powers does show that he has a bit more of a heart - perhaps than even James Bond himself - during one drunken scene.

Myers, who plays both the hero and the villain is hilarious throughout. His character is infused into both of the protagonists in such a manner so that noone else would be able to play the part after him.

Even if you've never seen a spy film - especially James Bond - and many of the jokes would be lost on you, Austin Powers is as engaging as a standalone film.

Fantastic. The best spy-spoof out there.