Austin Powers captured hearts by bringing those swinging 60s spy tropes to the end of the century, a fine place to end things. But with an audience clamouring for sequels, how can you possibly top where the film left off? In 1999, Austin proved that he did not need a T.A.R.D.I.S. to go back into the 60s, get his Mojo back, and entertain again. As he continued his shagadelic adventures, in Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me.
After getting happily married, Austin is shocked to discover that Vanessa is a fem-bot assassin. Though after her destruction, Austin quickly settles back into his single swinging life. Dr Evil is back, and after investing in a certain Seattle coffee company, wants to stop any further meddling. Inventing a time machine to go back and steal Austin’s Mojo, while the agent is in a deep freeze. Basil responds by sending Austin back too, tasked with intercepting this operation. But he is not alone, as back in the past, Austin may have met his match, a Blonde skilled C.I.A. agent by the name of Felicity Shagwell. Perfect for each other, in more ways than one, can Austin get his Mojo back and consummate the relationship?
Time travel here serves as a golden ticket for hilarity, with the mechanics offering gags and allowing characters who met their end, a chance to return. Seeing the young Number 2, portrayed by Rob Lowe, who makes sense as young Robert Wagner, in both looks and mannerisms, and we can see Will Ferrell’s Mustafa again (who has barely aged) Along with a sideburned Michael York returning as Basil. But of course, the film throws in newcomers to join in on the fun. Third Rock’s own Kristen Johnston once again utilises her charm, and her comedic abilities to play Russian Ivana Humpalot, who would fit in any pulpy 60s thriller. With Myer donning a fat suit to play Fat Bastard (A Scottish rogue security operative who more than lives up to his name) and showing off the foundations for the future voice of Shrek. Heather Graham has thrown herself fully into the role of Shagwell and constantly looks like she is having a blast. It is fun to see Austin on the opposite end of the stick, dealing with the woman version of him in more ways than one. And Mojo is a fine McGuffin to get the action grooving.
The soundtrack has been enhanced, but when songs do return, they are heightened in a way that makes them feel fresh. Accompanied by licensed tunes, drawing hits from the late 60s, and, of course, Madonna’s throwback smash, Beautiful Stranger, feeling like it would be at home in both periods. Though the soundtrack peaks in a lovely rendition of What Do You Get When You Fall In Love by bespectacled rocker, Elvis Costello, and 60s composer, Burt Bacharach. Graphical enhancements come in the increased use of C.G.I. for creating Dr Evil’s lavish new volcanic lair and spaceship, but the vibrant 60s colours and Union Jack’s help ground the film in 60s familiarity.
Sequels, in their attempt to give their audiences more, can risk losing what made them great, Yet The Spy Who Shagged Me retains its Mojo. Parodying the sci-fi boon of the early 70s, and the rise of Star Wars both back then and now give the sequel new ground to work with. It is goofier, and a touch more meta, like most of Myer’s memorable masterpieces. Providing similar thrills for fans and newcomers. Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me is a blast; I would have said from the past, but I feel like that would be redundant.
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