The final part of one-time maverick director Rodriguez's winning, inventive and ethnically proud kids' trilogy abandons, for the most part, the teasing interplay between the sibling junior spooks Juni and Carmen (Sabara and Vega) in favour of a greater emphasis on spectacular visual effects (mostly in high-definition 3-D), with sequences dictated by computer gaming. It takes an appeal from the US President himself (Clooney) to persuade ex-agent Juni, now padding the mean avenues of California as a private dick on $4.99 a day, to rejoin the Organisation. His mission is to save his imperilled sister, trapped in Level 4 of a virtual reality game promoted by 'the Game Master' (an over-eagerly parodic Stallone). The plot requires Juni, aided by grandpa (Montalban), to advance quickly through the game's various levels. This involves some magnificent set pieces, from a power-chariot race to a robotic gladiatorial combat, for which Rodriguez and his team combine hi-res graphics, digital enhancement and 3-D technology to exhilarating effect. If the film disappoints, it's due to high expectations. It certainly retains a light-hearted sense of irony, a playfully adroit intermeshing of adult and child sensibilities, and a complementary use of design, music and effects. But even Rodriguez, it seems, can fall victim to the temptations of technology, and its tendency to swamp the human. The seductive performances of former cast members Marin, Cumming and Buscemi are reprised as mere cameos, and are sorely missed.
Cast and crew