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9 movie spies who could compete with Red Sparrow

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This March, Oscar winning actress Jennifer Lawrence takes on the title role in Red Sparrow. She plays Dominika Egorova, a ballerina reluctantly trained as a Russian spy, who falls in love with CIA agent Nathaniel Nash (played by Bright and Loving's Joel Edgerton).

If the trailer is anything to go by, the film is full of seduction, deception, mystery and disguises – everything we want from a spy thriller. Before we see Lawrence in action, here are nine movie spies who could go toe to toe with her Red Sparrow character.


1. Jack Ryan from the Jack Ryan series (Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Chris Pine)

Created by author Tom Clancy, no-nonsense CIA operative Jack Ryan has appeared on the big screen no less than four times. Having originated with Harrison Ford in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, the mantle was then taken up by Ben Affleck in the nuclear-themed The Sum of All Fears.

The most recent film was origin story Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, directed by Kenneth Branagh and with Star Trek's Chris Pine in the title role.


2. Mallory Kane from Haywire (Gina Carano)

Steven Soderbergh's 2011 action-thriller was mixed material artist Gina Carano's first film role. Performing all her own stunts, Carano took the role of ex-marine Mallory to the extreme, keeping the all-star cast (including Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor) on their toes.

You may have seen Carano more recently as tough mutant Angel Dust in Deadpool, but if you want to see her truly dominate the screen, then Haywire is for you.


3. Austin Powers from the Austin Powers series (Mike Myers)

Mike Myers' groovy secret agent just had to be featured in our list. With 60s background, slick attitude and world-saving abilities, Austin Powers encompasses everything we love about movie spies. (Albeit with a ridiculously funny twist.)

Unlike the villains present in Red Sparrow, Powers' arch-nemesis Dr. Evil (also played by Myers) is more likely to induce big laughs than a sense of threat, but that's why we love these movies so much.


4. Harry Hart from Kingsman (Colin Firth)

Adapted from the comic book series by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, the last two Kingsman films (directed by Matthew Vaughn) have been met with commercial success. With a style to die for, Colin Firth's dapper Harry Hart (spy name Galahad) is the best kind of dashing super-spy.

Harry takes teen hooligan 'Eggsy' (Taron Egerton) under his wing with the aim of training him as the next Kingsman agent. There are a few spies on this list with cool weapons, but Harry Hart wins for having the most insane, gadget-laden umbrella ever.


5. James Bond (Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig)

No list of the best movie spies is complete without MI6's finest, 007. Whether you like the original films, have only seen the Daniel Craig ones, or are just a fan of the books, James Bond is the ultimate spy.

Created by Ian Fleming and first published in 1953, the ensuing movie franchise has resulted in 26 films with the 27th (reportedly Craig's last) in the works at the moment.

Few characters are capable of redefining cinema, but James Bond is one of them.


6. Evelyn Salt from Salt (Angelia Jolie)

Salt was originally written with a male protagonist in mind (to be played by Tom Cruise), but was then rewritten for Angelia Jolie. Her character, CIA agent Evelyn Salt, is accused of being a Russian secret agent, so with a hair colour change, Jolie is on the run trying to clear her name.

Every spy needs to be hunted to prove their determination, and as Salt scales buildings and leaps from freeways onto moving trucks, we can barely catch our breath.


7. Jason Bourne from the Bourne series (Matt Damon)

Originated by author Robert Ludlum, Jason Bourne has now appeared in four movies (not including the spin-off starring Jeremy Renner), reigniting interest in the 21st century spy thriller. Directors Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass infuse everything with a paranoid, hand-held, post-Cold War atmosphere, and there are chase sequences to die for.

Plus, with Matt Damon in the title role as the amnesiac assassin in pursuit of his own identity, we have one of the most captivating characters in recent action movie history.


8. Ethan Hunt from the Mission Impossible series (Tom Cruise)

The main attraction of a film series spanning over 20 years, Ethan Hunt is one of Tom Cruise's most famous roles. Even if you haven't seen the films (who hasn't?), you know the theme music.

Hunt can glide down the tallest building in the world (Dubai's Burf Khalifa, in case you're wondering) and still not die, making him one of cinema's iconic spies. We have a feeling Cruise will still be hanging off planes as Hunt for another 20 years to be honest.

Sixth instalment Mission: Impossible – Fallout is on its way this July, only this time, Cruise is hanging outside of an airborne helicopter.


9. Jane Smith from Mr and Mrs Smith (Angelia Jolie)

Yes Angelia Jolie does feature twice on this list. Maybe she's just really good at playing a spy?

Mr and Mrs Smith is famous for being the film where Jolie and Brad Pitt began their relationship, but it's also a pretty decent thriller. The set-up: married couple John and Jane discover they're both rival assassins, who have been tasked with killing each other.

There's no denying that the Pitt/Jolie chemistry sizzles as the Smiths go to war, but Jane remains our favourite, because Jolie makes it all look so enjoyably effortless.

Red Sparrow is released on 1st March. Make sure to catch it at @Cineworld cinemas.

Nadine Shambrook is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.