DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London

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I recently watched Catch That Kid, in which a band of pint-sized pre-teens lead by Kristen Stewart robs a bank to pay for her father's emergency surgery. While that film's central message was that it is acceptable to commit a major crime if you are doing it for the benefit of someone less fortunate, its sub-themes of adolescent sexuality and "boy toy" flirtations made it even that much more inappropriate for its PG audience. Needless to say, I welcomed with open arms the properly targeted and wholesome message exhibited by Agent Cody Banks 2. While it suffers major flaws from a sound filmmaking standpoint, with regards to enjoyable, decent family entertainment, Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London is funnier and packed with more action than its prequel.

Frankie Muniz reprises his role of Cody Banks, a junior CIA agent in training. Based out of Kamp Woody, Banks is dispatched to London to track and capture Agent Diaz (Keith Allen), a rogue government agent who has stolen top-secret mind-control technology and plans to use it in a very bad way. In the prequel, Banks' handler was Angie Harmon. It seemed her sole purpose in that film was to entertain the fathers who accompanied their children. This time around, Banks is escorted by the laughable, lovable Anthony Anderson (Kangaroo Jack, TV's All About the Andersons) whose hilarious antics blend quite nicely with the cool, Bond-like sophistication of the older-than-his-age Banks. Anderson adds that over-the-top edge to the action that plays well for the kids. Destination London's filmmakers understand their audience and successfully create a combination of pre-teen humor and ultra-cool gadgetry that suckers in the kids yet doesn't offend their parents.

Agent Diaz is in with Lord Duncan Kenworth, who's based out of his aristocratic English country home that doubles as a music camp for a gaggle of musical protégés from around the world. Lord Kenworth has the other half of the mind-control technology that Diaz needs to execute his diabolical deed. To get close to the action, Banks is planted amongst the musicians, but the problem is, he can't play an instrument. Not to worry though. Amongst his arsenal of gadgets, which includes exploding breath mints (insert product placement here), and a dental retainer with a built-in listening device, is a Clarinet that plays itself, allowing him to blend in amongst the group of geeky child prodigies.

Started by Rodriguez' original Spy Kids, the recent run of movies featuring children empowered to save the world is undoubtedly nearing its end. That the Spy Kids franchise felt compelled to revive the 3-D fad in an attempt to squeeze out one more installment; and that Catch That Kid felt it needed adolescent sexuality to miss its target, both speak volumes to my point. But Agent Banks 2: Destination London deserves a bit of attention if not for its blatantly shameless product placement, then for the fact that director Kevin Allen properly identifies children as his target audience and manages to keep the film's action at a lively pace without sacrificing family values. So many filmmakers these days feel the need to throw in adult humor or sexual innuendos (for reference, see 2003's Cat in the Hat) so it's refreshing when one doesn't.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1; Full Screen 1.33:1

Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround; French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; featurette; visual cast commentary; deleted scenes; photo gallery.

* Commentary: 36 user-specified commentary segments that offer short comments about the film or a specific scene.
* Featurettes:
o Agent Cody Banks: Back in Action: 8 minute promotional piece for the film.
* Interactive Quiz: Interactive pop-up questions that play throughout the film. Correct answers get congratulations.
* Deleted Scenes: 6 scenes that didn't make the final cut.
* Photo Gallery: still shots of the cast and crew.
* Trailers: trailer for additional MGM movies.

Number of discs: 1


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