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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

Stormbreaker (2006)  rating

Review: written 2007

Bond for Teenagers

An efficiently crafted junior Bond clone, this should keep the teenagers amused, and maybe, just maybe have enough excitement in there to keep the grown ups from getting too restless.

Alex Ryder has grown up in the care of his uncle (Ewan Macgregor) - when his uncle dies, Alex finds out he was actually a spy, and all those extracurricular activities (hang gliding, martial arts, mountain climbing etc.) were actually covert training. So, with a little more training with the SAS, MI6 recruits Alex to take his uncles place.

The plot itself has holes big enough to drive a truck through, involving a sinister plan to place computers in all the schools in the UK and get them to unleash a virus. Not, as it happens, for world domination or gross extortion, but just for revenge for being bullied at school.

On the plus side, Alex Pettyfer is faultless in the role, bringing a credibility to the idea of a 14 year old fit enough to tackle the role of spy in the Bond mould. Bill Nighy is quirky in the role of his MI6 boss, but all other roles are tired and stereotyped to the extreme, not least Mickey Rourke who is so heavily made up as to appear like an advert for Max Factor. Every single woman's role is two dimensional and almost superfluous, but a series of cameos (Ewan Macgregor, Robbie Coltrane, Stephen Fry), help nurture the idea that this is a worthwhile event movie. Having the UK as a background for a movie of this nature is a pleasant change, and the British acting talent involved help emphasise that.

But for all you adults considering a purchase, don't expect a Bond replacement - this is strictly for the kids. But if they are the ones you are aiming to please, this might well do the trick.





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