More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
2.47

Awesome: 10.53%
Worth A Look: 5.26%
Average: 10.53%
Pretty Bad68.42%
Total Crap: 5.26%

2 reviews, 7 user ratings


Latest Reviews

This is Where I Leave You by Jaycie

Babadook, The by Jay Seaver

Duke of Burgundy, The by Jay Seaver

Redeemer by Jay Seaver

Force Majeure by Jay Seaver

Cub by Jay Seaver

Hardkor Disco by Jay Seaver

Zero Theorem, The by Peter Sobczynski

Tusk by Peter Sobczynski

Maze Runner, The by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Peter Sobczynski

"Oh Mickey, You're So Fine-Too Bad That Your Movie Sucks!"
2 stars

Back in the days when the James Bond films first became worldwide sensations, it seemed as if everyone in the world was trying for a time to cash in on the trend with their own cut-rate epics featuring dashing superspies, maniacal supervillians and a bevy of beauties trying to fill the shoes (among other bits of apparel) of the likes of Ursula Andress. Although some of these knock-offs had their charms–especially the Flint films with James Coburn and maybe Dean Martin’s Matt Helm flicks–most of them were closer in quality to the instantly forgettable likes of “Secret Agent Super Dragon” and “Operation Kid Brother” (starring Neil Connery, real-life brother of you-know-who). Therefore, it shouldn’t be too surprising that even though Robert Rodriguez’s reasonably delightful “Spy Kids” series is presumably defunct, now that the stars have literally become too big for their britches, the popularity of those films continues to inspire others to come up with their own versions of the concept of children involved in international espionage. To that end, we now have “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker,” a British import that clearly wants to be the teen equivalent of “In Like Flint” but comes off more as the playground version of “Danger! Death Ray” instead.

Based on a series of young adult books by Anthony Horowitz, the film stars newcomer Alex Pettyfer as Alex Rider, a teenaged orphan living in London with his Uncle Ian (Ewan McGregor). Alex is bummed because his uncle is always away on business–although you would think that this wouldn’t be such a problem when you realize that this leaves him in the care of sexy housekeeper Alicia Silverstone (maybe if the film had been made back in the days of her Aerosmith videos)–but it turns out that Ian is a British secret agent who is always off saving the world with an array of fabulous gadgets, just like the other guy. (Uncle Ian–I just got it!) Unlike the other guy, Ian’s luck doesn’t quite hold out and he gets killed off so quickly that McGregor’s prominent position on the poster seems like kind of a cheat. Anyway, before long, Alex finds himself brought in by a couple of agency higher-ups (Bill Nighy and Sophie Okonedo) who shock him with the truth and then shock him even further with the news that they require him for the kind of secret mission that he has been covertly training for his entire life.

It seems that American-born, London-educated computer zillionaire Darius Sayle (Mickey Rourke–yes, Mickey Rourke) is about to gift the entire British school system with the Stormbreaker, a high-tech computer system that will revolutionize education with the kind of virtual-reality technology that we all oohed and aahed over in “Disclosure”–a kid can walk down a verdant glen and suddenly encounter a herd of incredibly realistic dinosaurs. (Of course, it is hard to imagine what this technology could do for those pesky fundamentals like math and English–will there be an attack of dangling participles–though the wonders it could do for sex-ed sadly remain a mystery thanks to the PG rating.) Because he is a computer zillionaire, it is naturally assumed that Sayle has a diabolical plan for world domination up his sleeve but British Intelligence isn’t sure what it could be so they ask Alex to pose as the kid who will be giving the Stormbreaker a test run as part of the prize in a promotional contest. Before long, he uncovers the secret plot (imagine a class-conscious riff on the maniacal plan in “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”) and soon finds himself single-handedly defeating armies of hired goons, saving his cutie girlfriend (Sarah Bolger), confronting the spy (Damian Lewis) who killed his uncle and keeping a straight face while looking at the increasingly unsettling visage of Mickey Rourke (who looked more human in “Sin City” than he does here).

“Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker” contains many of the elements found in the “Spy Kids” movies–a goofball story in which the fate of the world rests in the hands of a seemingly ordinary kid, an array of weirdo gadgets (including some disguised as Nintendo games–as if any self-respecting teen would be caught dead with Nintendo) and brief appearances from an array of familiar faces (besides those already mentioned, the film also finds room for Stephen Fry as the “Q” equivalent and Robbie Coltrane as the Prime Minister)–but utterly fails to replicate the charm. Even by the standards of kid-oriented silliness, the story is a bland and boring concoction that goes about its preposterous way with a grim determination that sucks the fun out virtually every scene–even the action scenes lack the giddy glee that were the hallmark of the “Spy Kids” films. Even more damaging is the inescapable fact that as the allegedly dashing and charming Alex, Pettyfer is a complete washout–he is sullen, mush-mouthed and seems to spend the entire movie in the throes of a perpetual pout.

The only thing saving “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker” from total disposability is the hilariously screw-loose performance from Mickey Rourke as the maniacal villain. Seemingly filled with genuine contempt for the whole enterprise (he really looks as though he wants to kill the hero in the slowest and nastiest manner possible), he stomps through the proceedings with the kind of over-the-top turn that sees him at his absolute Rourkiest. I can’t say that this is the kind of film that I expected him to wind up doing in the wake of his beautiful and acclaimed performance in “Sin City” but I will tell you that when he is on the screen, things are never boring. Too bad for us that a.) he isn’t in every scene and b.) his character is perhaps the only one that won’t be around for the sequel–not that anyone will be holding their breath waiting for such a thing to come along anytime soon.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15071&reviewer=389
originally posted: 10/13/06 16:20:18
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2006 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/28/10 Thomas Dischinger I love this movie1 The cast is great, especially Alex Pettyfer! 5 stars
10/22/09 Jon Barber The worst movie I have ever seen in my life. 1 stars
9/09/08 BadWebDiver Bland eye candy with no heart. 2 stars
1/09/08 M. Kerjman A funny sci-fi mix of traditional paranoid spying with underage sexism in London, England. 3 stars
2/28/07 Beau It was thourghly enjoyable, it was good entertainment and i would reccommend it 4 stars
2/05/07 William Goss Surprisingly fun to laugh AT, thanks to lead adults (save for Silverstone), but nothing new 3 stars
11/20/06 gordykins omg this film is mint i love ale soooooooo much hes sexy! gr8 film i just love it ohxx 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  13-Oct-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 02-May-2007

UK
  21-Jul-2006

Australia
  21-Sep-2006




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2014, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast