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Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker
If you're wondering what makes Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker notably different than stuff like Spy Kids and Agent Cody Banks, I'll tell you:
Operation Stormbreaker has British accents, whereas those other movies do not.
And while it's true that Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider books may pre-date those other movies, the simple truth of the matter is that "underage espionage" is a sub-genre that's really worn out its welcome in the past half-decade or so. And aside from the first Spy Kids, none of the flicks have been all that memorable.
So here's another one: After his spy uncle is killed by a ruthless assassin, teenager Alex Rider finds himself sucked into the world of ultra-dangerous espionage-land, where ruthless assassins are only part of the problem. The dreamy young spy will also contend with nifty gadgets, freaky femme fatales, crazy chases and predictably narrow escapes.
Frankly none of it is all that interesting, and while Stormbreaker is professionally mounted and intermittently slick enough to hold one's attention, the simple truth is that it's a tired idea from the word go, and it's not a flick you'll be thinking of once the end credits have disappeared from your screen.
Aside from a few small nuggets of wacky gimmick casting (Mickey Rourke as your nefarious villain? Andy Serkis as a deformed henchman? Alicia Silverstone as someone expected to deliver lines of actual dialogue?) and maybe three or four creative bursts of kinetic energy, Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker is an instantly forgettable confection that'll bore more kids than it entertains.
Still, it's a whole lot better than those Cody Banks flicks. Yuck.
Audio/Video: Dolby Digital 5.1 in your choice of English or French. (Optional subtitles are available in English or Spanish.) Audio quality is perfectly crisp, as is the anamorphic widescreen transfer.
Extras: A half-dozen featurettes inhabit the Special Features menu, each one fairly self-explanatory: From Page to Screen (6:56) covers the inspirations and preparations; Stunts (5:04) focuses on the semi-interesting action scenes; The Horse Chase (3:24) looks at one of the specific set-pieces; Visual Effects: Creating Sayle's Tower (4:29) dishes the dirt on one of the flick's more compelling locations; Casting Alex (5:23) explains how the young Mr. Pettyfer was brought to the project; Martial Arts Master Donnie Yen (4:16) delves into the two battle scenes that were choreographed by the very talented Mr. Yen.
Also included is the original theatrical trailer.
And let's be honest: The "child spy!" concept ... isn't really all that cool to begin with. It's actually kind of silly.