We take a look at some of the best films to feature secret agents. Shh!

RED 2 hits Irish cinemas this weekend, and tells the story of several special agents who may be retired, but are extremely dangerous. To celebrate the return of our favourite band of experienced agents, Movies.ie took a look back at some of the vest secret agent movies of recent years…

SALT

Originally written for a male actor, Angelina Jolie stepped in when the role was rewritten. Evelyn Salt is a woman on the run when the government that employs her, turns against her. SALT may not be the best spy thriller of all time, but it certainly makes a change to have a woman in the lead role, and it is hard to deny that the movie is high octane and a lot of super silly fun.

TOP SECRET!

Speaking of super silly, TOP SECRET! Is a 1984 film by the team that brought us AIRPLANE! Starring Val Kilmer as a pop singer who becomes in the French resistance movement, TOP SECRET! is a parody of, and an homage to, Elvis Presley’s many musicals and the spy films of the Cold War era.
TOP SECRET! may not have been nearly as successful as AIRPLANE! When it was originally released, but it has become one of those cult comedy classics, and deservedly so, if even just for the backwards bookstore and the many outstanding visual gags.

TRUE LIES

Before James Cameron discovered 3D or Pandora, he made one of the most entertaining secret agent films of the 1990s; TRUE LIES.
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Harry, a man who has kept his job as a secret agent hidden from his wife for many years. This all changes, however, when Harry worries for his marriage, kidnaps his wife and tries to give her life some adventure. The film is absurdly funny and filled with action and, while it may not be Cameron or Schwarzenegger’s best film, it is certainly entertaining, if mindless.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE

Remember that SALT was written for a male lead? Well, Tom Cruise was the actor approached to play the role. The film was re-written and recast when Cruise left, and it is probable that his reason for declining the role was it’s similarities to MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.
Based on the TV series of the same name, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) must prove his innocence when a mole in the Impossible Missions Force makes a deal to sell the Non-Official Cover list to an arms dealer.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE has spawned three sequels (so far), was the first film to open in over 3,000 cinemas in the US and broke the box office record for a film opening on a Wednesday.

SKYFALL

It is easy to say that SKYFALL is the best of the James Bond movies, since it is the most recent one, and perhaps freshest in our collective memories, but it is also a damn good Bond flick, as well as being a great film. Gone are the cheesy plotlines of the earlier films, and Bond is less of a womaniser (although he still has a fondness for the ladies) and more of a damaged man trying to work out his demons through his work. Hurrah!
SKYFALL, directed by Sam Mendes, focuses on a threat to MI6 that is more personal than 007, or M, have encountered before. The film won 2 Oscars and took over $100 million at the worldwide box office. As well as this, the film was praised for its cinematography and score, and it’s dark take on the world of MI6.

Honourable mentions to: THE BOURNE IDENTITY, TAKEN, SPIES LIKE US, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and GROSSE POINTE BLANK

What is your favourite secret agent movie? Do you disagree with our choice of Bond movie? Let us know in the comments below.

RED 2 is in Irish cinemas on August 2nd

Words: Brogen Hayes