HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Agent Cody Banks Spy-jinks
Year: 2003
Director: Harald Zwart
Stars: Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff, Angie Harmon, Keith David, Ian McShane, Arnold Vosloo, Martin Donovan, Cynthia Stevenson, Daniel Roebuck, Connor Widdows, Darrell Hammond
Genre: Comedy, Action, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: For the past few years, the C.I.A. have been running a covert programme, in the guise of a summer camp, training little kids as secret agents. One such kid is fifteen year old Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz), now partnered with foxy field agent Ronica Myles (Angie Harmon), who is less than happy with what she considers a glorified babysitting job. His task is to get close to high school princess Natalie Connors (Hilary Duff), whose scientist father Dr. Connors (Martin Donovan) has perfected a series of microscopic nanobots able to destroy any carbon or silicone based substance. Evil mastermind Dr. Brinkman (Ian McShane) and his henchman Francois Molay (Arnold Vosloo) plan to use them for evil ends. An expert in martial arts and outfitted with all the high-tech gadgets at the C.I.A.’s disposal, Cody has just one problem: he can’t talk to girls.

While not as inventive as the Spy Kids movies, Agent Cody Banks has surprisingly cool stunts, personable leads and a winning sense of fun going for it. The concept is killer when you think about its target audience: contrasting the painful, awkwardness of adolescence with Cody’s need to be a super-suave, James Bond type. As if high school kids didn’t have enough pressure to cope with. However, the film is driven by a need to rush to the next cool gadget or daredevil stunt and consequently squanders some of the comic potential. The core subplot involving Cody’s need to prove himself mature and capable to cut it in the spy world and high school is rendered too slight.

The script was co-written by Ashley Miller and the team of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, better known for their run of biopics including Ed Wood (1994) and The People versus Larry Flint (1998), although they first hit big with the Problem Child movies. Thankfully, this is far better than that nightmare franchise and cleverly taps the fantasies and anxieties of your average teenage boy. Who wouldn’t want a crack C.I.A. team to tidy their room or perform other household chores, while their zipping around in a red sports car with a pretty blonde? Or which among them could honestly say they wouldn’t get tongue-tied at a lycra-clad Angie Harmon or use their x-ray specs to glimpse girls’ underwear? Such foibles are presented with a degree of self-chastising embarrassment that keeps Cody awkward and vulnerable instead of precocious and crass.

Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz is an engaging young hero and interacts nicely with leading ladies Hilary Duff and Angie Harmon, who like him were TV veterans from The Lizzie McGuire Show and Law & Order respectively. None of them seem to have gone on to much of a movie career, which is a shame since their charm compensates for the slight story. It seems content to merely restage James Bond set-pieces like the gambling scene or the descent into the high-tech lair, rather than wittily re-imagine them for a young audience. Where it scores is with the action and stunt-work which pack a real thrill. Where in the past many child heroes threw custard pies or cardboard boxes, Cody gets to take a punch or whack bad guys with frying pans - yet without the slapstick cruelty that mars Home Alone (1990). Plus erstwhile Lovejoy and Deadwood star Ian McShane gets a nicely squishy demise thanks to former Disney starlet Ms. Duff, which proves a welcome surprise.

Norwegian director Harald Zwart has a peculiarly impatient style that lessens the impact of some dramatic and comedic scenes, but calms down - or else hands over to the second-unit - to deliver some strident action. Most of the skateboard stunts, explosions and hovercraft chases pack more honest thrills than say, Die Another Day (2002). Zwart also pulls off one genuine jump-out-of-your-seat moment near the climax wherein villain Arnold Vosloo, of The Mummy (1999), pops out of nowhere. Agent Cody Banks proved popular enough to warrant a sequel: Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004) that ditched sultry Angie Harmon for blubbery Anthony Anderson. Seriously, who thought that was a good idea?

Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 5282 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: