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Time Out says

They’re touting this Anglo-German ’60s-style teenage spy flick as the next big post-‘Harry Potter’ thing. And certainly, the production values have not been skimped on. It opens with a flash a bang and a wallop as we briefly catch the face of Ewan McGregor being pursued by an unknown enemy along a Cornish road. Shortly after, some bloke shimmies down from a helicopter and empties his handgun into the driver’s seat. Four minutes of screen time, and that’s Ewan’s lot. It transpires that McGregor’s Ian Rider was more than just the enigmatic uncle and guardian of 14-year-old blond skater dude Alex Rider (Alex Pettyfer). Ian was part of some secret agent operation and Alex is about to learn from Bill Nighy’s gloriously quirky MI6 spymaster (was he modelled on a Pathé newscaster?) that he is to be his uncle’s replacement and sent to investigate the suspicious goings-on at flamboyantly attired tycoon Darrius Sayle’s (Mickey Rourke) overly secure high-tech installation. Darrius has just offered all the schools in Britain a free Stormbreaker computer, but MI6 isn’t convinced of his generosity…

This is unabashed Bond-lite spy-jinks through and through, from the aforementioned opening to the Hamleys backroom serving as a gadget emporium to the predictable, London-set cliffhanging finale. Pre-teens usually love films where their peers are in jeopardy from nasty adults (witness ‘Oliver!’, ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’) and there’s every indication they’ll lap this one up too, despite the ridiculous storyline. Of the dressed-to-thrill cast, only Pettyfer disappoints; he just looks and sounds too bland to be a teen hero. But I’ll leave that for the kids to decide.
Written by Derek Adams

Release Details

  • Rated:PG
  • Release date:Friday 21 July 2006
  • Duration:90 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Geoffrey Sax
  • Cast:
    • Ewan McGregor
    • Mickey Rourke
    • Bill Nighy
    • Sophie Okonedo
    • Alicia Silverstone
    • Missi Pyle
    • Sarah Bolger
    • Alex Pettyfer
    • Ashley Walters
    • Damian Lewis
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