Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Written by:Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub
Released: September 20, 2001
Grade: B

It’s an impressive line up this school holidays in contrast to the mediocre schedule (with the exception of Shrek) that graced us back in June.  Released this week are Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Warner Bros’s Cats And Dogs which would ordinarily make for a busy week.  However, both films are going head to head with Dimension’s Spy Kids - already a proven hit in the States and believe it or not, a sequel is currently in production.

Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez (Banderas and Gugino) were the best spies in the business until they retired, married and began a family nine years ago.  Their kids, Carmen (Vega) and Juni (Sabara) know nothing of their parents past and think of them as “uncool”.  Both have their own problems at school but they’ll prove insignificant when their parents come out of retirement for an old friend and are kidnapped by Fegan Floop (Cumming), a television star creating a robotic army to take over the world.

Carmen and Juni are transported to their parents’ secret hide-out where they learn how much has been kept from them.  Using the varied fancy inventions their parents have developed, the two know it is up to them to rescue them, stop Floop and save the day.

I was disappointed with the simplicity of Spy Kids.  Sure it’s a kids film but with a wide variety of stars (including Banderas, Cumming, Tony Shalhoub and Robert Patrick) I thought it’d have a more adult undertone.  There’s lots of cool action scenes with fun special effects but I’m sure more could have been made of the story (especially considering how impressive some recent family flicks have been).

So take the kids and prepare for hyperactivity (plenty of kids were jumping with excitement in my screening).  Don’t expect the same satisfaction from yourself.