Imagine getting an opportunity to go inside the video games such as Road Rash, Max Payne or any one of them that you played as a kid. Wouldn’t that be simply wonderful? That’s exactly what Spy Kids: Armageddon is all about. The film has tried to capture a bit of moral science and a whiff of nostalgia as well.
This spy action-comedy film, co-produced and directed by Robert Rodriguez, is the fifth instalment in the Spy Kids franchise. It is released as a reboot of the first film. Rodriguez directed the first film that came out in 2001, and it’s clear he has aimed to only upgrade it, and not change it entirely.
The basic premise of the film has largely remained unchanged. Two kids are the children of the world’s greatest secret agents. Their parents work for the OSS (Organization of Super Spies). Eventually, the kids find that out, and when the world is threatened, they get together with their parents, become spy kids, and fight the evil as a family.
Spy Kids: Armageddon (English)
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Everly Carganilla, Connor Esterson, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Billy Magnussen
Run-time: 108 minutes
Storyline: When two kids accidentally help an evil game developer unleash a computer virus across the world, they become spies to fight evil and save the world.
We have Patty (Everly Carganilla) and Tony Torrez-Tango (Connor Esterson) as the spy kids with cool gadgets, the smart brains to defeat the evil video game, while Nora Torrez (Gina Rodriguez) and Terrence Tango (Zachary Levi) are the spy parents.
The kids accidentally help their favourite game Hyskor’s developer Rey ‘The King’ Kingston (Billy Magnussen) get his hands on the ‘Armageddon Code’, a spy device developed by their parents. With this device (it can break into any electronic system), the evil developer unleashes a virus to turn everybody’s life into a video game on the earth. Now, it’s up to Patty and Tony to take charge and defeat the evil- the villains from Hyskor.
Rodriguez has successfully captured the nostalgia associated with the franchise. The sibling rivalry is very organic in the original film when compared to the latest one. If you have watched the original films, then the reboot is just a walk down memory lane, with upgrades in CGI and production design. If you have not, the content largely does not disappoint.
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Rodriguez has not delved too deep into the family background except for minor details like Patty being a rule-follower, Tony a rule-breaker, and how like most parents of this age, Nora and Terrence also try to keep their kids from using digital devices. This has worked in Rodriguez’s favour because the plot sets right in, without wanting a lot of support.
Carganilla, as Patty, and Esterson, as Tony, are simply adorable with their spy suits, a super cool robot sidekick Bronson, and just the fact that they are inside a video game, with castles, swords and lava. Rodriguez, Levi and Magnussen undoubtedly have had a lot of fun playing adults in a spy kids movie. The plot is a tried and tested formula but works mostly because of the dynamic that exists between the characters.
Reboots of popular originals are risky. The film takes off well, and when it lands, it does so with small thuds that shake the film but without affecting it much. Spy Kids: Armageddon is mostly devoid of faults, except for the preaching of morals. But, given that the target audience is kids, the morals are alright. And, arguably so, this is a cool way to preach them.
If you’re an adult watching the film, it might come across as a bit silly at times. If you’re a kid watching it, you will have a ball fighting Armageddon. If you’re a parent watching it with your kids, just imagine yourself wearing a cool spy suit; grab your gadget, kick back, forget all the silliness, have fun, and wait for your kids to be empowered.
Spy Kids: Armageddon is currently streaming on Netflix.