Secret Agent Cody Banks was a clever take off on the James Bond
series. In that movie a young super-spy had all the abilities of
a typical movie secret agent except one: he couldn't talk to girls.
The awkward teenager fighting an international conspiracy was both funny
and action filled. Will the sequel be able to recapture the charm
and humor of the first? It doesn't even come close.
In this film, Cody's (Frankie Muniz) CIA instructor from summer camp
has fled the country with some stolen some mind control software.
He is trying to have it developed into a usable weapon for world domination.
The CIA tags Cody to bring in his old mentor and sends him to London where
he has been enrolled in a summer music academy for talented musicians.
The only problem is that Cody doesn't play an instrument. (Why they
didn't send someone who could play an insturment isn't mentioned.)
But when the mind control device is perfected, the bad guys start implanting
them in world leaders and controlling their every move, it's up to Cody
to save the day. Wild and wacky hijinks ensue.
There was a lot that I didn't like about this movie, but it boils down
to the fact that it just was too silly and stupid. The original film
made sure to explain why a child agent was needed and why an adult wouldn't
do. This movie bypasses any such explanations. Another
difference is that the supporting characters in this film are all there
to act as comic sidekicks. The eccentric weapons expert was particularly
There were a lot of really dumb scenes in the movie; it was hard to
pick the worst. The mind control scenes were just brainless.
(No pun intended.) But the secret agent camp at the beginning had
to be the most irritating. This movie was just a series of silly
gags strung together. Instead of a serious movie with comic aspects,
like the original, this sequel is a wacky comedy painted onto a spy movie
Frankie Muniz tried his best to get through this movie, and did an admirable
job for the most part, but his natural charm couldn't overcome the limitations
of the horrid script. The food-flinging scene was particularly painful.
Anthony Anderson who plays Banks London handler was good in Barbershop,
but was too exuberant and wild in this picture. It's too bad these
two talents weren't given better material to work with.
One irritating thing about this DVD is that there are forced trailers
that play when the DVD is inserted into the player. The menu button
is disabled, but you can chapter skip through them with out much problem.
You shouldn't have to though; even Disney has learned that lesson.
The 5.1 English soundtrack was clean and clear, with a good dynamic
range. The explosions and loud effects won't give your system a workout,
but they are forceful enough. There are also soundtracks in French
and Spanish, both in stereo, and subtitles are available in English, Spanish,
French and Chinese.
The video quality was very good. The disc has a widescreen anamorphically
enhanced image on one side, and a pan and scan version on the other.
I viewed the widescreen version, and spot-checked the P&S version and
the image quality seemed to be the same. There weren't any digital
defects worth noting, and the colors were bright. About what you
would expect from a recent film.
There were a good number of extras included on this DVD, but they all
appear on the widescreen side of the DVD. There isn't anything on
the P&S side, not even a screen telling you to turn the disc over,
which would have been nice.
"Agent Mode" Interactive Quiz:
A series of pop-up quiz questions that are shown throughout the course
of the movie. The movie pauses and a question about the scene that
was just shown is asked. If you get it right, you are congratulated,
and if you get it wrong you get more chances until you select the correct
response. This really interrupts the flow of the movie, and isn't
fun the first time you see the movie.
Spy on the Set: Visual Cast Commentary:
Seemless branching is used to interrupt the movie and insert the stars
over the frozen scene. There are 36 of these interruptions where
the three main characters talk anywhere from literally a few seconds up
to a minute about the film or a scene. The whole thing feels scripted,
especially the jokes, and there isn't really anything interesting that
is said. This does interput the flow of the movie, so you might not
want to have this option selected the first time you view the film.
A regular audio commentary would have been better.
Agent Cody Banks: Back in Action:
An 8½-minute fluff piece that was used to promo the movie.
Extended and deleted scenes:
Six scenes that were cut from the film (or shortened) for good reasons.
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery:
A series of pictures of the cast on and off the set.
There is also a series of trailers for other MGM films.
Overall this was a wasted effort. The script was very bad, the
acting was weak and the jokes were dull. Instead of a spy movie with
jokes, like the first movie, this time the producers went for a total comedy,
except it wasn't funny. It is amazing that no one realized what made
the original movie enjoyable. It feels like they purposely extracted
all of the good elements from Cody Banks 1 and discarded them.
If you are really curious, you might want to rent it, but most people should
Skip It, even if you enjoyed the first film.