Ever since Ian Fleming began penning his James Bond series in 1953, spy adventures and espionage have been hot topics for cinema and television. From Xander Cage to Maxwell Smart, we’ve got the top 10 spies influenced by James Bond.
10. xXx – Xander Cage
Vin Diesel is a badass. Say what you want about his questionable sexuality. The fact of the matter is, Vin Diesel could kick you in the teeth and smack you in the head with a vodka bottle, and you’d have to sit there and say, “You, sir, are a badass”. In 2005’s xXx, Vin stars as adrenaline-junkie Xander Cage, a thrill seeker recruited by the government to take down a Russian anarchist. He uses a dining tray as a shield and walks into a bar made out of ice in a full length fur coat. Oh, and he gets to be all up on Asia Argento. Best spy ever? Mayhaps.
9. Mission: Impossible – Ethan Hunt
Before aliens took over his body, Tom Cruise was an awesome action hero back in the day. Who could forget Ethan Hunt dangling precariously from the ceiling as that one bead of sweat threatens to expose him? Cruise performed as one of the coolest spies in movie history. Two sequels later, with awe-inspiring directors like John Woo and J.J. Abrams, Mission: Impossible remains a great spy trilogy.
8. Alias – Sydney Bristow
The first female spy on our list is Jennifer Garner on Alias. Living her life as a double-agent, Sydney Bristow seeks to bring down the Alliance of 12 that killed her fiancé. Throughout the show, Jen dons various disguises, all leaving little to the imagination. Throw in some daddy issues, leather pants, and karate moves…and you’ve got spy gold.
7. I Spy – Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott
This classic 1965 TV show involves the lives of two American agents, under the guise of a Princeton law student/tennis player, and his personal trainer. The show only lasted for a few seasons but is beloved by fans. It is also the first American dramatic television program to feature a black lead (Bill Cosby).
6. Our Man Flint – Derek Flint
This may be the closest spy to Bond in terms of his playboy ways, wit, and charm. James Coburn is no Sean Connery, but is dashing and devious nonetheless. Derek Flint is meant to be a parody of James Bond. Still, parodies make for great movies, and Our Man Flint definitely falls under that category.
5. Spy Kids – The Cortez Family
Carmen and her brother Juni must act to save their spy parents Ingrid and Gregorio. Robert Rodriguez packed his trilogy with talented actors like Carla Guigino, Antonio Banderas, Alexs Vega, Cheech Marin, Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub, and Teri Hatcher. An entire family of spies, the Cortez team fights evil together. Rodriguez delivers big laughs and impressive special effects…even if you’re not a nine year old.
4. Austin Powers – Austin Powers
In perhaps the best-known and most lighthearted spoof (trilogies), Mike Meyers gives the comedic performance of a lifetime as swinging spy Austin Powers. Austin is frozen in the 1960s only to be revived later in the 90s with no understanding of how the new world works. Not just as Austin Powers, Meyers also portrays the likes of Dr. Evil and Fat Bastard. Full of double-entendres and hilarious one-liners, Austin Powers is a fine spy spoof.
3. The Bourne Trilogy – Jason Bourne
Matt Damon stars as memory-impaired agent Jason Bourne, an ex-C.I.A. man seeking to find out his true identity. If The Bourne Identity isn’t the film that made Sarah Silverman craft an ode to Matt Damon, then I don’t know what is. Incredible stunts and fighting sequences leave Damon all sweaty and sexy, letting the ladies have plenty of eye candy.
2. The Avengers – John Steed and Emma Peel
British secret agents with sexual tension? Sounds perfect. John Steed is a secret agent teamed up often with Emma Peel of the British Intelligence. A cult classic, The Avengers ran for 7 seasons. Steed faced everything from cyborgs to a killer who makes his victims sneeze to death, making the show quirky and unique.
1. Get Smart – Maxwell Smart
Don Adams made Agent 86 famous with his character’s constant slip-ups and incompetence. Earlier this summer Steve Carell reprised the role and brought Get Smart to a whole new audience. Get Smart combined Bond’s spy knowledge with Inspector Clouseau’s bumbling antics. What would a good spy be without a shoe phone?
While there are loads of other spy movies and shows out there, these are some of the best. With the success of the revival of the James Bond franchise and Quantum of Solace just a few days away, we can safely say that spies aren’t going anywhere.