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Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (PG)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Includes 3D and 2D versions of the film; Mega Race set top game (3D and 2D); Commentary with Robert Rodriguez; Robert Rodriguez Film School; Making of; Surfing And Stunts Piece; The Effects Of The Game; Alex Vega In Concert (3 music videos); Making Traks With Alex Vega; Big Dink, Little Dink.

IS there no limit to the boundless energy of Desperado director, Robert Rodriguez? Having wowed kids, last Summer, with his Spy Kids sequel, Island of Lost Dreams, he now returns with yet another hyper-active children’s adventure, this time in 3-D.

And before you start groaning at the prospect of having to wear those cheesy spectacles again, it is worth noting that, for the most part, this third film in the series is immense fun; one which appeals to the child in every adult, while also providing plenty to amuse the younger generation to - its target audience.

The plot, on this occasion, finds ex-under-age agent, Juni Cortez, being forced back into the spy game to rescue his sister, Carmen, after she has become trapped inside the virtual reality world of a 3-D video game, designed by the evil Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone) to take over children’s minds.

The ensuing rescue plays out like an extended video game, designed to appeal to the Gameboy and PS2 generation, while tossing in the odd nod for the grown-ups to chuckle along to.

And chuckle they will, for by keeping its tongue rolled firmly in its cheek, the movie is a great deal more fun than it really ought to be - a visual feast for the children, which contains plenty of cameos to keep the movie buffs amused (George Clooney, Salma Hayek and Elijah Wood are among those who crop up).

Praise must also go to Rodriguez for managing to avoid the pitfalls of working within two unproven genres - most notably, 3-D, but also the video game format.

By weaving three dimensional scenes throughout the film, into the plot, and making it part and parcel of proceedings, it feels less of a gimmick than the tricks employed in movies such as Jaws 3, while the video games themselves make for some thrilling set pieces - most notably, a race against other road warriors (evoking memories of Tron) and a surfing sequence on boiling lava.

There are moments, however, when the non-stop action becomes a little monotonous, with some of the lesser sequences failing to match the heights of others, and the spy kids themselves come across as a little too precocious for their own good. Antonio Banderas is also criminally under-used, given that his character, Cortez senior, is actually terrific fun to be around.

But Stallone provides good value as the villain of the piece, taking on four characters (including a nerdy boffin!), while the aforementioned cameos are a delight.

The enthusiasm with which Rodriguez directs proceedings is also infectious and one can only wait with baited breath to see the mayhem he unleashes with his Desperado sequel, Once Upon A Time in Mexico.

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