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I remember when Mike Myers used to perform on the Wide Awake Club on GMTV. Just think - if fate had taken a few different turns, Timmy Mallet could have been the one commanding $20million a picture. Scary thought, eh?

So, the franchise continues - after scoring a monster sleeper hit with the original Austin Powers flick back in 1997, only to be followed by an even more popular sequel in 1999, it shouldn't really come as too much of a surprise that the bandwagon keeps rolling. And, knowing a winning formula, Myers dishes up more of the same. The trouble is, it's a little too similar to the other films - almost soap-like, with the same cast of characters who behave in exactly the manner you expect them to.

Thankfully, the saving grace is with the new characters. While the titular villain himself is a little underwritten, he is more than compensated for by Michael Caine and Beyonce Knowles. Playing Austin's father (and an international man of mystery in his own right), Caine revels in the opportunity to gloriously ham it up - taking pot-shots at his own Harry Palmer character whilst indulging in some fantastic (ad-libbed?) interchanges with Myers. In fact , it's fair to say that the film seems to pick up a gear or two whenever he's on screen and sags when he isn't.

Knowles is nothing short of a revelation - J-Lo, Mariah and Madonna take note: This is the way you go from pop superstardom to a life of acting. Taking the role of Foxy Cleopatra, Knowles effortlessly takes all of the best bits from Pam Grier and injects her own form of sassiness to create quite the sexiest character to appear in the series so far.

Which brings us to Myers himself - as usual playing multiple characters, he is almost a one man comedy machine. The jokes come thick and fast, in all guises - visual, aural, even subtitled in one case! And, whilst not every one hits the mark, another gag will be on it's way soon to make up for it. The trouble is, as I mentioned earlier, it is all starting to feel a little formulaic. The opening dance routines, the silhouette visual gags, the Dr Evil rap - it all seems a bit reheated.

That's not to say it isn't funny. The opening ten minutes are amongst the funniest scenes I've seen in a cinema for quite some time, with some very high profile cameos that will raise even the most cynical of eyebrows. But I found myself wanting more.

And not just more of the same.



 Picture from Official website Visit