Although it is a Hong Kong film, much of the dialogue is in English, particularly during communications between the Chinese characters and the Korean and Turkish characters. Despite having a fairly serious and dark plot in some parts, it still features some humour, as is typical of Chan's films.
A news reporter covers a story in a village within Turkey where many people have mysteriously died, seemingly from pneumonia while a scientific team tries to find a cure. Unbeknownst to them, a terrorist group disguised as farmers in the area fire at the scientists and the news crew, killing them all. Shortly after the attack, members of the South Korean embassy in Istanbul discuss the attack before one of their longtime missing agents return.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Jackie Chan (Jackie Chan) works as an exercise equipment salesman. After an unsuccessful day at work, he eats at a shopping mall and intuitively suspects that a robbery is about to take place. Jackie thwarts the robbers plans and attracts much media attention for his actions. Later, a stranger approaches Jackie, eager to speak to the hero who foiled the robbery. The stranger goes by the name of Manny Liu and he tells Jackie that he is rounding up several men of Jackie's age and description, one of whom could be the son of a wealthy Korean man known as Park Wong Jung (aka Mr. Park), who is looking to leave his fortune to his real son. After getting beaten up by his debtors, Jackie saves Manny and brings him back to his apartment. Manny directs Jackie to an associate for an interview. As a child, Jackie had been an orphan, but he has vague dreams of his parents cooing over him, with his father clutching a shiny object.
After speaking to Manny's associate, Jackie is taken to South Korea to meet Mr. Park, who is dying from terminal brain cancer and does not have long to live. Jackie notices that they are being followed by mysterious men in an unmarked vehicle. Before speaking to Mr. Park, Jackie meets a Korean reporter named Carmen Wong who is eager to ask him questions about Mr. Park. Carmen reveals that Park Wong Jung was a Korean double-agent who recently defected (as shown in the earlier scene). She asks him to find out why he defected, as such Jackie returns to the hospital and witnesses thugs trying to interrogate Mr. Park while physically assaulting him in his hospital bed. Jackie fends off the attackers, and Mr. Park gives Jackie the opportunity to play a "game" with him. He gives Jackie a crucifix pendant (which appears to be the shiny object of his dreams), confirming this man to be his father. When Mr. Park passes away, Jackie is requested to scatter his ashes by his wife's grave as a final wish. At the grave, he finds the first clue to the "game" engraved on the tombstone – a message saying "wait for me" in English. After leaving the cemetery, Jackie & Carmen narrowly escape from the same thugs who assaulted Mr. Park earlier. Jackie eventually realizes that the letters of the phrase correspond to a telephone number and calls it, and it turns out to be Istanbul Bank.
Once in Turkey, Jackie goes to the bank and attempts to retrieve the contents of Mr. Park's safety deposit box. The shiny crucifix pendant turned out to have a stamp on the bottom, which was necessary for him to get the safety deposit box. Opening the safety deposit box, Jackie finds a large sum of money and a bible, leading him to believe the "game" to be over. Shortly after leaving the bank, he is accosted by a group of thugs who have commandeered a fleet of taxis. Jackie fends them off but is eventually overpowered with his briefcase of the money exposed. Fortunately, police come to his aid and the thugs flee. Jackie and the police believe that they wanted Jackie's money, but it is clear that they were looking for something else, since they left empty handed. While enjoying his time in Turkey, Jackie comes across a mysterious Chinese girl who has "wait for me," the very same words Mr. Park left on his grave, embroidered on her scarf. Jackie tails her and eventually they meet. The girl, known as Yong, agrees to meet Jackie again soon on a specific date.
Jackie then visits a Turkish bath before meeting Yong on their date. While washing up, he is accosted by another group of Turkish thugs, with the leader demanding that he hands them over "the thing". Jackie fends them off and narrowly escapes but arrives late for his meeting with Yong, where she leaves a note telling him to meet her later at a temple. Just then, Carmen and her associate Ashley appear. Carmen turns out to be working for the CIA and she together with Ashely inform Jackie that the item everyone seems so keen to get their hands on is a new biological weapon, Anthrax II, many times more powerful than regular anthrax. It had already killed many Turkish people as Turkey had been chosen as the testing ground. Park Wong Jung had been involved in the case and thus developed brain cancer as a result. Jackie also learns that crime lord Lee Sang Zen, known as the 'fixer' wants to buy the new Anthrax and had used Yong to get in contact with Jackie whom he feels has information.
When Jackie meets up with Yong, she confirms her boss is Zen, and a deal had been brokered between him and Jackie's 'father'. Moments later, Jackie and Yong are captured by the Turkish thugs and brought back to their village. The thugs are revealed to be the Turkish gang; they want the Anthrax back to prevent further bloodshed since the testing of it was done in their village. The leader, from the Turkish bath earlier, again asks Jackie where "the thing" is. Jackie is tortured but still has no idea what they're talking about. Moments later, a mercenary force attacks the village. In the ensuing confusion, Jackie makes his escape and frees Yong. He destroys the dock to prevent pursuit, makes a makeshift raft and together with Yong escape into the sea. Later the pair are picked up by Zen who sent his men (that was the mercenary force) to rescue Jackie and Yong. Jackie learns that Yong is a drug addict, a slave to Zen and her life is in grave danger. Later, as they part, Zen offers Jackie a new deal; more money and Yong's freedom if he gives Zen what he wants - the Anthrax II. Jackie bluntly refuses, saying he knows nothing about it, but Zen gives him time to find its location.
Remembering that there was a bible in the safety deposit box, Jackie's intuition leads him to a nearby church. While in confession, he meets a priest who was an associate of Mr. Park. He leads Jackie to a basement room where Mr. Park temporarily stayed and gives him the item that everyone has been trying to get their hands on – 2 vials of Anthrax II. Jackie reluctantly hands over the vials over to save Yong, knowing that handing them over could lead to more deaths. However, Zen has double-crossed him; Yong had already been given a fatal dose of drugs and soon dies at a train station. Jackie is arrested for suspicion of involvement in Yong's death. Carmen and Ashley then secure his release. Jackie tells them that he gave up the vials for Yong's life. The CIA will now have to pay Zen to get them back, and Jackie is determined to set things right. Carmen later informs Jackie on Zen's plans, which will be conducted the next day and the opportunity to strike will be then.
As the CIA attempt to intercept Zen, Jackie manages to ruin Zen's plane getaway, and Zen escapes with a henchman in a car. Jackie gives chase and combats the two on their car, defeating them, but the car becomes lodged into the rear of a large oil tanker, which catches fire. Jackie rendezvous with Carmen on the road, and she explains the tanker must keep a speed of 80km/h or else the tanker will explode. Jackie demands that they help him to rescue the tanker driver (and the driver's son) before he hands over the Anthrax II. Jackie pulls them from the tanker to safety one by one, but cannot escape himself. Out of nowhere, Manny Liu reappears in a helicopter to help get Jackie out, but is unsuccessful. At the last moment, as the tanker heads towards the edge of a disused bridge, Jackie leaps from the tanker, grabs the plastic bridge barrier, which is quickly torn, sending him swinging down. Jackie rolls down a hill after the jump, becoming severely injured. As Jackie loses consciousness, Manny searches Jackie's body for the Anthrax II and takes it.
When Jackie wakes up in the hospital recovering from his injuries, Manny comes along, and reveals that his entire adventure was actually an intelligence mission arranged for an undisclosed American intelligence agency, performed by Jackie as an informal, non-official agent (thus the labeling of an accidental spy). His background as an orphan, combined with his talents of extremely sharp intuitions and excellent martial arts skills, had made him a perfect candidate for a freelance agent who could perform special missions. The mission was set as a "game" for Jackie since he was not an official agent and therefore cannot be briefed about it. His sharp intuition enabled him to interpret his "clues" correctly, thus enabling him to perform his mission with success. All the while, the dreams of his parents were illusions, which Manny helped to create by drugging Jackie's drink when he was brought to Jackie's place. Jackie acknowledges the whole case, smiling.
In a post-credits scene, Jackie is now an agent and is in Italy, disguised as a bearded courier. He delivers a briefcase to a man, then tips the police off for an arrest.
In an alternative ending, Jackie was seen holding his fathers cremains in a bottle while under rehab for his disabled legs. Manny, curious about the bottle, opened and tasted the cremains, blows up when Buck told him that is human ash.Jackie Chan as Buck Yuen/Himself/Bei
Eric Tsang as Manny Liu
Vivian Hsu as Yong
Kim Min-jeong as Carmen Wong
Wu Hsing-kuo as Lee Sang-zen (Mr Zen)
Cheung Tat-ming as Stan
Alfred Cheung as Lawyer
Anthony Rene Jones as Philip Ashley
Glory Simon as TCN field reporter
Scott Adkins as Turkish leader
Didem Erol as Mafia boss's girlfriend
Lillian Ho as Candice
Gordon Alexander as Zen's henchman
Raven Choi as Zen's henchman
Joh Young-kwon as Park Won-jung
The Accidental Spy holds a 29% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 7 reviews.
Dimension (a sub-set of Disney) acquired the international distribution rights to the film (outside of Asia). Like many Jackie Chan films distributed by Disney, scenes were cut, foreign dialog was dubbed, and the music score was changed. However, Dimension made so many changes to the film that it almost changed the entire movie. For example:
- Buck Yuen's name was changed to Jackie Chan
- Zen's name was changed to Lee
- The Anthrax II was changed to "Opia Maxa," a new & more powerful form of opium
- In some cases, scenes were actually re-arranged. For example, in the HK cut, Buck Yuen and Manny's associate arrive at the South Korean hospital, they talk to the doctor, then Buck visits with Carmen Wong, and then Buck goes back to the hospital, fends off the thugs attacking his "father," and then converses with him. However, in the Dimension version, they arrive at the hospital, then "Jackie" talks to his father, then he visits Carmen Wong, and then he returns to the hospital, fends off the thugs, but Dimension added in a "flatline" sound effect, and used a scene of Mr. Park struggling to breathe to suggest that he died because of the thugs.
- A lot of dialog that was actually in English was dubbed over into foreign languages, creating a language barrier between "Jackie Chan" and other characters that didn't exist in the original Hong Kong version. A lot of English dialog was dubbed over to change the plot.
- One will notice that Buck's dialog is sometimes dubbed over by a voice that definitely doesn't belong to Jackie Chan, including scenes where he was speaking in English.
The film was first released on DVD by Universe Laser in Hong Kong. The release contains a non-anamorphic picture and a "making of" feature section. On 19 March 2009, Kam & Ronson released a remastered DVD with an anamorphic picture, 5.1 and DTS sound, but with no special features.
The film was released on Blu-ray Disc on 4 May 2009. This film is the first Hong Kong production by Jackie Chan to be released on Blu-ray Disc.
The film grossed HK$30,009,076 during its theatrical run in Hong Kong, and was Hong Kong's third biggest domestic release of the year.
The scene of Buck's disguising while escaping from thugs was reproduced in Bollywood movie Thank You (2011), wherein Akshay Kumar's character, detective Kishan, also hides by twisting hanging materials around himself.21st Hong Kong Film Awards (2002)
Won: Best Action Choreography (Tung Wei)
Won: Best Film Editing (Kwong Chi-leung)
Nomination: Best Sound Design (Kinson Tsang)
Nomination: Best Visual Effects