HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Down a Dark Hall
Mixed Blood
4D Special Agents
Helldriver
One Hour to Zero
Battle of Billy's Pond, The
Terror in Beverly Hills
Zoo Robbery, The
Anoop and the Elephant
Adrift
Never a Dull Moment
McQueen
Ugly Duckling, The
Apostle
Distant Voices, Still Lives
Hereditary
Cup Fever
Peril for the Guy
3 Days in Quiberon
Club, The
Best F(r)iends: Volume 1
Pili
Suspect, The
Baxter!
Dead Night
Thoroughbreds
Ghost and the Darkness, The
Strike Commando
Molly
Full Alert
   
 
Newest Articles
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
   
 
  Agent Cody Banks Spy-jinksBuy this film here.
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 Fiction
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 3739 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
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Alexander Taylor
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: