review for My Name Is Modesty on AllMovie

My Name Is Modesty (2003)
by Josh Ralske review

Regardless of its provenance, My Name is Modesty has all the markings of a movie that was rushed into production on a limited budget, and with a script that needed more than a little fine tuning. Unlike the 1966 film Modesty Blaise, this one handles its subject matter with unrelieved earnestness, which seems inappropriate for what should be a fun, sexy spy thriller. Alexandra Staden, all legs, lips, and cold blue eyes, has a strong, enigmatic presence, and could have starred in such a film. Instead, screenwriters Lee Batchler and Janet Scott Batcher (who also worked on Batman Forever) and director Scott Spiegel (who has worked frequently with Sam Raimi), give us the story of two presumably tough individuals locking eyes for 60 minutes over a roulette wheel, while one of them, Modesty, tells the story of her troubled childhood as a refugee. And those are the more compelling scenes in the movie. The flashbacks to Modesty's childhood are fairly hackneyed stuff. The filmmakers spell out what they should infer, and still provide little insight into how Modesty became what she is. They don't even delve into her apparent lifetime infatuation with heavily accented elderly men. The payoff is a brief and unconvincing scene of hand-to-hand combat between Modesty and Myklos (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), her captor, and then the film's title is stated as a punch line, which is actually one of the few witty moments on offer. My Name is Modesty is intermittently watchable, but far too glum.