Review Date: March 26, 2001
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Robert Rodriguez
Producers: Robert Rodriguez, Elizabeth Avellan
Alexa Vega as Carmen Cortez
Daryl Sabara as Juni Cortez
Antonio Banderas as Gregorio Cortez
Carla Gugino as Ingrid Cortez
When their international spy parents are kidnapped by the evil Floopster, two children are left to take over the spy game for their family and rescue the day. Bad guys that look like thumbs, a multitude of kewl gadgeteries and all the action that you've seen in any kid's movie for some time, ensues.
A colorful kickass kid's adventure packed with cool gadgets, groovy tunes, funky stunts and plenty of fun for the whole family, including moms and pops. And considering that I am neither a kid, a mom or a pop, I even dug the movie a lot, so I can't imagine this flick not hitting the right chords with anyone looking to have a good time at the movies (which is probably why Miramax has already green-lit the sequel). Then again, all you need to do is look at what kids are being offered in the market today. They either get the really dopey stuff like POKEMON and BARNEY, or the gross-out idiotics of movies like SEE SPOT RUN. This movie, and its writer-director, takes the kid's market and mixes it in with various elements from other successful "adult" franchises like THE MATRIX, JAMES BOND, hits puree with pieces of NIGHTMARE BEFORE X-MAS and DR. SEUSS, and comes out with an energetic, original piece of cinema that most kids should adore! And most other people, like myself, will likely get a kick out of it as well. This is family entertainment at its finest. There is no on-screen violence in this movie. There is no blood in this movie. All of the fights and entanglements are either cartoony or off-screen, and the whole thing moves like a jet and packs a solid punch thru the wall of kiddie film mediocrity. You go, boyee!!
Robert Rodriguez has taken his flashy style, his John Woo-esque camera shots, his mucho Latino vibe and rubbed it all over a movie filled with some very, very cool new toys and an underlying message of "family above all" . Okay sure, the story is a little corny, i.e. a children's TV show host manufacturing a line of spy kid robots, but this is all in fun, and if you're not having fun in this picture, then you're just not "getting it". This film actually reminded me a lot of CHARLIE'S ANGELS, in that, it's so over-the-top, goofy and kinetic, that some might not appreciate it on a realistic level, but hey...the movie's entertaining and that's the bottom line! And as if that wasn't enough, this film also contains two of the hippest inventions seen on the big screen this year: the thumb-thumb dudes and those crazy jet-packs! Believe you me when I say that you will neither forget or not dig on those crazy, dumbass thumb-thumb characters, walking around, bouncing into walls...just hilarious. And that whole jetpack sequence was also exhilarating and as fantastic as any kid would want it to be. And if you're any kind of homage buff, you'll notice many a nod by the director to artists such as Dali and Gaudi, film such as SUPERMAN and AUSTIN POWERS, and yes, even a wink to one of his own previous creations, THE FACULTY. This movie's got it all: thrills, laughs, adventure, a nice message, a great score, lotsa style and plenty of fun for the whole family.
The movie also includes small roles for Terri Hatcher, Tony Shalhoub, Robert Patrick and Cheech Marin, as well as a pretty cool surprise "cameo" near the end. All in all, this film just makes you want to be a kid again! Fun times...
(c) 2013 Berge Garabedian