A former secret agent, guilt-ridden over her professional exploits as an S&M-style entrapment specialist, runs from the US government and her own troubled past in THE SPY WITHIN, a tepid suspense film that attempts to blend action spectacle with human insight. Despite considerable sex and
violence, the film is unrelentingly tedious; the only elements that might hold some viewers' attention are Theresa Russell's breasts, which are featured prominently.
Alex Canis, alias "The Dove" (Theresa Russell), is trying to extricate herself from her employment within "a covert sector of the NSA," but her former superior, J.B. (Terence Knox), will not allow her to tender a simple resignation. Alex knows too much, and J.B. wants her killed. Alex has done her
information-gathering in corsets and spike heels, assuming the role of a high-priced dominatrix; her disciplinary services were recorded on film and later used by NSA agents to ensure their subjects' cooperation. What worries J.B. most is that Alex has recorded her exploits in a manuscript. While
her autobiography is not intended for publication (writing it was a therapeutic exercise for Alex), this is irrelevant to J.B.
On the run, with J.B. and his thugs one step behind, Alex suddenly finds herself joined by Will Rickman (Scott Glenn), a demolition expert who, like Alex, is haunted by his past. Rickman is facing a major lawsuit, which is constant reminder that the bodies of a mother and child were found in the
rubble of his last demolition job. Alex and Rickman achieve physical intimacy within hours of first meeting. Only gradually, however, do they reveal themselves emotionally. With difficulty, they learn to trust one another, and when J.B. finally catches up with Alex, she and Rickman face him side
THE SPY WITHIN is an apparent attempt to create a sensitive spy movie for the recovery-oriented 1990s. Unfortunately, director Steve Railsback develops his characters by assigning them multiple outbursts of melodramatic self-disclosure, giving the film the emotional tenor of a television talk
The actors are limited by Lewis Green's appallingly stilted script; Railsback tries to add interest by throwing in plenty of hot sex, along with car chases, gunplay, a couple of mutilated corpses, and a torture-assisted interrogation. None of this, unfortunately, will be enough to keep most
viewers awake throughout the entire picture. (Violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: A former secret agent, guilt-ridden over her professional exploits as an S&M-style entrapment specialist, runs from the US government and her own troubled past in THE SPY WITHIN, a tepid suspense film that attempts to blend action spectacle with human insi… (more)