OH, BEHAVE! Austin Powers, England's top spy and superstar, helped make the 1960s swing

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Produced by: Jan Blenkin, Eric McLeod, Demi Moore, Mike Myers, and Claire Rudnick Polstein
Directed by: Jay Roach
Screenplay by: Mike Myers
Genre: Comedy, Spy-Fi Parody
Country of Production: United States
Released: May 2, 1997


Austin Powers (Mike Myers) is Great Britain’s top spy.  In 1967, his nemesis, Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) attempts to assassinate him while he is partying with his entourage at the Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club in London.  Dr. Evil fails, but escapes by having himself cryogenically frozen and shot into outer space, along with his cat, Mr. Bigglesworth.  Austin Powers responds by having himself frozen as well, with instructions for him to be revived whenever he is needed to deal with Dr. Evil.

Thirty years later, Dr. Evil returns to Earth and is revived.  Austin Powers is then revived, so that he can pursue him and thwart whatever evil plan he comes up with.  Dr. Evil finds that his henchman, Number 2 (Robert Wagner) has created Virtucon, a legitimate front for his empire, and built it up into a legitimate multibillion dollar business.  He also finds that he has a son, Scott Evil, who had been created from his frozen semen.  Scott had grown up to become a sullen, resentful Generation X adolescent.

Despite the success of Virtucon, Dr. Evil decides to steal a nuclear weapon and hold the world hostage for one hundred billion dollars.  Austin Powers is assigned by Basil Exposition (Michael York), his superior, to stop him from carrying out his fiendish plot.  He is to be assisted by Agent Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley), who is the daughter of his former partner, Mrs. Kensington (Mimi Rogers).

As a spy during the Swinging Sixties, Austin Powers had become accustomed to living that lifestyle, which involved partying and engaging in wild, promiscuous sex without fear of any consequences.  Vanessa Kensington’s first task is to acclimate him to the changed social climate of the Nineties, which she accomplishes with only some degree of success, and with some difficulty.

They track Number 2 to Las Vegas, where Austin is introduced to his secretary, Alotta Fagina (Fabiana Udenio).  Austin infiltrates her apartment for the purpose of discovering the nature of Dr. Evil’s plot.  He discovers the nature of the plot, but is caught by Alotta, who seduces him into revealing his identity.

Austin and Vanessa infiltrate Dr. Evil’s headquarters, and are soon captured by Random Task (Joe Son).  They are put into a death trap, in which they are to be killed by ill-tempered, mutated sea bass with lasers strapped to their heads.  Dr. Evil had wanted to use sharks, but had been unable to obtain them, as they had been put on the endangered species list.  They manage to escape; Vanessa goes to summon help, while Austin goes to confront Dr. Evil.

Austin finds himself menaced by a group of killer androids, called Fembots, that Dr. Evil had created to kill him.  The Fembots take the form of beautiful, seductive women with machine guns in their boobs.  Austin uses his mojo to seduce the Fembots, which causes their heads to explode.  He then finds the doomsday device and deactivates it, saving the day.

Dr. Evil escapes by having himself cryogenically frozen and shot into space.  Austin Powers and Vanessa Kensington end up getting married; while on their honeymoon, Random Task arrives at their hotel room to kill them.  However, they easily thwart him and go on to enjoy their vacation.

SHAGADELIC! Austin Powers returns to the 1960s for more fun and mayhem

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Produced by: Jan Blenkin, Jessica Fox, John S. Lyons, Eric McLeod, Demi Moore, and Mike Myers
Directed by: Jay Roach
Screenplay by: Michael McCullers and Mike Myers
Genre: Comedy, Spy-Fi Parody
Country of Production: United States
Released: June 11, 1999


Austin Powers and Vanessa Kensington are on their honeymoon, where the first film left off.  After making love, Vanessa begins to act strangely, repeating herself and stuttering.  Austin realizes that she is really a Fembot as she tries to kill him.  He thwarts this and escapes.

Dr. Evil is introduced to a miniaturized clone of himself, whom he dubs “Mini-Me” (Vern Troyer).  The two of them go back in time to 1969 in a time portal for the purpose of stopping Austin Powers by stealing his mojo.  Upon arriving, they engage a morbidly obese Scotsman by the name of Fat Bastard (Mike Myers) to break into Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) and steal Austin’s mojo from his cryogenically-frozen self.

In the meantime, Austin Powers (still in 1999) is working at his cover job as a fashion photographer.  He is confronted by Ivana Humpalot (Kristen Johnston), one of Dr. Evil’s spies, who had been sent to kill him.  She chooses not to kill him, having decided that he is too sexy for her to do so.  They try to have sex, where Austin discovers that he is unable to perform, his mojo having been stolen.

The MoD sends Austin Powers back to 1969 in its own time machine, so that he can chase after Dr. Evil.  He arrives at his London pad, where a party is in progress.  Another assassination attempt is made by Dr. Evil’s henchmen, but he again escapes, this time with help from Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham), a CIA agent who has been assigned to assist him.

Mustafa (Will Ferrell), another of Dr. Evil’s henchmen, pursues them with intent to kill.  However, they capture him and, before killing him, force him to reveal the existence of his lair.  However, he dies before he can reveal its location.

Felicity Shagwell seduces Fat Bastard and plants a homing device up his butt in an attempt to track him to Dr. Evil’s headquarters.  This fails, as he craps it out into a public toilet.  However, by analyzing his stool sample, they discover that it contains traces of a certain vegetable that only grows on a particular island in the Caribbean Sea.

Austin and Felicity journey to the island in question, and are caught by Dr. Evil’s men upon arriving.  They are locked up, but manage to escape when Felicity flashes her boobs at the guard, distracting him and making him easy to overcome.  They discover that Dr. Evil and Mini-Me are planning to install a laser on the moon and use it to blackmail the nations of the world into paying ransom in exchange for not using it to destroy their cities, starting with Washington, D.C.

Austin and Felicity follow Dr. Evil and Mini-Me to the moon by hitching a ride on Apollo XI.  They arrive at Dr. Evil’s lunar base, where Austin quickly defeats Mini-Me.  In the meantime, however, Dr. Evil captures Felicity and locks her into a gas chamber.  He taunts Austin by telling him that he can either divert the laser and save Washington, or he can save Felicity from the chamber, which is quickly filling up with poison gas.  He chooses to divert the laser, allowing Felicity to be killed.

He chases Dr. Evil and shoots him.  The wound is not fatal, however, and he gets away, once again having himself cryogenically frozen and shot into space.

Austin uses the time machine to go back in time ten minutes.  Now that there are two of them, they are able to both divert the laser and save Felicity.  However, Dr. Evil activates the base’s self-destruct mechanism and escapes into space, vowing to get Austin Powers.  He recovers Mini-Me, who had been left floating in space.  Austin and Felicity use the time machine to return to 1999.

BACK TO THE 1970s! Austin Powers tries his mojo on for size in a new decade

Austin Powers in Goldmember

Produced by: Jan Blenkin, John S. Lyons, Eric McLeod, Demi Moore, and Mike Myers
Directed by: Jay Roach
Screenplay by: Michael McCullers and Mike Myers
Genre: Comedy, Spy-Fi Parody
Country of Production: United States
Released: July 26, 2002


Dr. Evil, having returned once again, establishes his new headquarters behind the famous Hollywood sign above Los Angeles.  He plans to time travel back to 1975 in order to bring back Johan van der Smut, a Dutchman who goes by the name of Goldmember, so that he can build a tractor beam, which Dr. Evil has named “Preparation H.”  He intends to use this device to pull an asteroid made of solid gold down to Earth to crash into the polar ice cap, creating a global flood.  Austin Powers and the British Secret Service arrive in the nick of time and stop the plot, arresting Dr. Evil and sending him to prison.

Austin Powers is rewarded for this by being knighted by the Queen.  He notices that his father, Nigel Powers (Michael Caine) is not at the ceremony, and is bitterly disappointed.  He later finds out that Nigel had been kidnapped.

He visits Dr. Evil in prison, who informs him that Goldmember is behind the kidnapping.  Austin time-travels back to 1975, where he infiltrates a roller disco club owned by Goldmember.  There, he reunites with Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyoncé Knowles), an FBI agent with whom he had enjoyed a previous relationship.  She helps him find his father, but he is unable to rescue him because Goldmember had escaped with him back to 2002.

Austin returns to that year, accompanied by Foxxy, who wants revenge for Goldmember’s having killed her partner.  Upon arriving, they discover that Dr. Evil and Mini-Me had escaped from prison, and had established a new headquarters near Tokyo.  They travel there and confront Fat Bastard, who is now a sumo wrestler who sometimes does business with Dr. Evil.  Fat Bastard tells them that a Japanese businessman by the name of Mr. Roboto (Nobu Matsuhisa) is working on a device that is essential in activating the tractor beam.

Austin and Foxxy infiltrate Mr. Roboto’s factory and catch him giving a gold key that activates the tractor beam to Goldmember.  While Austin goes to free his father, Foxxy tries to stop Goldmember, but he escapes aboard Dr. Evil’s submarine.

Austin and his father cannot agree on how to handle things, so they part ways.  In the meantime, Scott Evil, who had previously been indifferent to his father’s dastardly plots, becomes more evil.  Because of this change in attitude, Dr. Evil replaces Mini-Me with Scott in his affections.  Feeling rejected, Mini-Me switches sides and joins Austin.  He subsequently changes his appearance from a miniature Dr. Evil to a miniature Austin Powers.

Austin, Foxxy, and Mini-Me sneak aboard the submarine, where Austin is soon captured.  Dr. Evil tries to activate the tractor beam, but is unable to because Foxxy had stolen the gold key and freed Austin.  He is about to kill Dr. Evil when Nigel shows up, revealing that Austin and Dr. Evil are actually brothers, having been separated as babies when their mother was killed.  The two foes reconcile, which enrages Scott, who storms off in a huff.

Meanwhile, Goldmember commandeers the controls to the tractor beam, revealing that he had a spare gold key in the form of his genitals.  Austin and Dr. Evil team up to reverse the polarity, which destroys the asteroid and saves the world.  They end things by arresting Goldmember.

Meanwhile, back at Dr. Evil’s headquarters, Scott Evil has taken on the look and persona of his father.  He declares that he will get his revenge as he begins to dance like Michael Jackson.



GENTLEMAN SPY - Austin Powers enjoys life as a bachelor in Swinging London during the 1960s

The Austin Powers trilogy is one of the better spoofs of 1960s Spy-Fi in general, and of the James Bond franchise in particular.  The first two films perfectly capture the spirit of the Sixties, as they showcase the music and Carnaby Street culture of the era, including the atmosphere of free love that existed at the time.  The third film moves it forward into the Seventies, showcasing the change in culture that led to the disco era and the rise of Blaxploitation cinema.

Austin’s nature as a horny bastard who is always looking to score is played up bigly in all three movies.  All three films are loaded with puns, mostly of a risqué or sexual nature.

Dr. Evil, Fat Bastard, and Goldmember represent the over-the-top villains that we have come to expect from the James Bond films, as well as their spoofs and competitors.  They come complete with outsized personalities, with Dr. Evil, the main Big Bad of the series, coming off as completely egomaniacal – despite having made billions in legitimate revenue, he still wants to take over the world, and even destroy it.

Not to be forgotten are the elaborate lairs that Dr. Evil uses as his various headquarters, most notably the complex that he built inside an active volcano.  I got a real kick out of the headquarters that he established in the second film, taking over the Space Needle in Seattle and opening a Starbucks Coffee storefront at the top as a cover for his evil plans.

EGOMANIACAL GENIUS - Doctor Evil, chief nemesis to Austin Powers, continually tries to destroy the world

Although all three films are enjoyable, each of the sequels suffers from a decrease in quality from its predecessor.  I was particularly disappointed in the third one – I think moving it into the 1970s was a mistake, as the character created by Mike Myers was so perfect for the Sixties.

There have been rumors of a fourth film in the series circulating for more than a decade.  As time goes on, it seems less likely that such a film will ever come to fruition.  If one does come about, let us hope that they do a good job with it.


Music Content

The music in all three films is of the highest quality.  International Man of Mystery features my all-time favorite one-hit wonder, “Incense and Peppermints” by The Strawberry Alarm Clock.  It also features “Secret Agent Men” by Johnny Rivers, “Mas Que Nada” by Sérgio Mendes and Brasil ’66, “Green Tambourine” by The Lemon Pipers, and “Happy Together” by The Turtles.  During the scene where the Fembots make their appearance, the movie features Nancy Sinatra singing “These Boots Are Made for Walking”.  Covers of great Sixties songs in the movie include “You Showed Me” by The Lightning Seeds, “Call Me” by The Mike Flowers Pops, and, most notably, “The Look of Love” by former Bangle Susanna Hoffs.

RESISTANCE IS NOT FUTILE! Austin Powers turns the tables on Doctor Evil's Fembots, which he created to seduce and destroy him, by seducing them back, causing their heads to explode

The Spy Who Shagged Me features a great theme song, “Beautiful Stranger,” by Madonna.  This is one of the best songs that she ever recorded, proving that she does have talent.  Unfortunately she usually wastes it on the dance pop crap that she usually puts out.

The film also contains “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees, “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf, “Time of the Season” by The Zombies, and “American Woman” by The Guess Who.  The latter song is played when Felicity Shagwell, an American agent, makes her appearance at Austin’s pad.  This may be a minor quibble, but the song was not written and recorded until 1970; yet, it appears in the film in 1969.  However, it is such a great song, and so appropriate for Felicity’s entrance, that I am willing to overlook the glitch.

Of particular interest is a duet of “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” performed by Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello.  This takes place in 1969, when Elvis was only fifteen years old (although he is portrayed as fully adult in the movie).  At the time, I thought that this was an odd pairing, but in retrospect, it seems appropriate, as Elvis began moving his music in a more mellow direction afterward.

The music in Goldmember, for the most part, is rather lame in comparison to that in the first two films.  The two standout tracks are “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind, and Fire, and a cover of Burt Bacharach’s classic 1960s song “Alfie” by Susanna Hoffs, where she changes the name to “Austin”.


Babe Content

A COOL BRITISH BEAUTY - English actress Elizabeth Hurley, who partners with Mike Myers as Austin Powers, is a total babe

All three of the leading ladies in the film series are great.  Elizabeth Hurley, who portrays Vanessa Kensington in International Man of Mystery, is, of course, a total babe.  It is really hard not to admire a beautiful dark-haired lady who speaks with an English accent.  As the film opens, she is presented as a no-nonsense professional agent of the 1990s; she dresses and behaves accordingly.  Confronted with Austin’s come-ons and innuendos, she recoils in horror; in her attitude toward her new partner, she comes off as a total ice princess.  She declares that she will never, under any circumstances, have sex with Austin.  Of course, being that this is a Hollyweird film, this statement is a dead giveaway that, before the movie ends, they will end up in bed together.  Indeed, not only do they end up shagging, but they even get married.

As the film progresses, it becomes clear to Vanessa that Austin is, culturally speaking, a fish out of the water, and she begins to feel some sympathy for his situation.  As they get to know each other better, she warms up to him.  She also begins to wear nice dresses instead of business suits; indeed, the silver outfit that Dr. Evil dresses her in when he captures her shows her off quite nicely.

The film ends with Austin and Vanessa on their honeymoon, happily celebrating their marriage.

ALL HOT TO TROT - The lovely Heather Graham, as Felicity Shagwell, easily holds her own as she seduces Austin Powers and helps him get his mojo back

Heather Graham’s character Felicity Shagwell in The Spy Who Shagged Me is the total opposite of Vanessa Kensington.  Indeed, when she is introduced to Austin, she declares, “Shagwell by name, Shag very well by reputation.”  She comes off as a female version of Austin in her casual attitude toward sex, wanting to have sex with him as much as he wanted it with Vanessa in the first film.  Unfortunately, since his mojo had been stolen, he is unable to perform.  Felicity interprets this as rejection, and is hurt.  Fortunately, by the time the film ends, Austin discovers that he had not lost his mojo after all, and he rises to the occasion with Felicity.

While she isn’t as much of a bombshell as Elizabeth Hurley, Heather Graham is definitely a babe.  She has bright red hair, and wears some nice outfits during the film that do her justice.

THE NEW QUEEN OF BLAXPLOITATION - The incredibly sexy babe Beyonce Knowles steals the show as Foxxy Cleopatra in the third Austin Powers film

Austin Powers in Goldmember’s biggest asset is Beyoncé Knowles’ portrayal of Foxxy Cleopatra.  She is a total femme fatale.  She wears some nice, skimpy skin-tight outfits during the roller disco scene, and has a totally killer smile.  While not as openly sexual as Felicity Shagwell, she is a lot friendlier and more open than Vanessa Kensington was in the first film.  She definitely qualifies as a babe.  In fact, with this film, she became the queen of Blaxploitation, taking that crown away from Pam Grier (who, herself, is a total babe).

All three films are chock full of other babes who play supporting and background roles.  Some of them are quite nice, but none as outstanding as the three lead characters.


Cat Content

EVIL CAT - Dr. Evil's cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, mugs for the camera in 1967. Unfortunately, when he is cryogenically frozen, he loses all of his fur

All three films prominently feature a white cat named Mr. Bigglesworth, who accompanies Dr. Evil everywhere he goes.  This is reminiscent of the white cat that shows up in several of the James Bond films that feature the classic villain Ernst Stavro Bloefeld.  In the bond films, it was common to show Bloefeld only from the neck down as he stroked his white Persian cat.

Unfortunately, the cat lost all of his hair during the cryogenic freezing process at the beginning of the first film.

Mini-Me had his own cat in the second and third films, known as Mini-Mr. Bigglesworth.