Reviews

Spy Kids 3-D Game Over

3

Could this be the last we'll see of the Spy Kids? If so, this enjoyable caper is a good way to sign off, reuniting as it does the ensemble casts of both prequels in a surreal if rather incoherent adventure. The 3-D gimmick is usually a sign of desperation, but here it's just another loopy element in a franchise that's always been one hinge short of a screen door. And while the fuzzily indistinct FX won't exactly send the IMAX bods running for cover, they're sure to have the little ones oohing and aahing.

With big sis Carmen (Alexa Vega) trapped inside a virtual-reality video game for most of the film, it's left to junior 007 Juni (Daryl Sabara) to carry the plot on his increasingly stocky shoulders. His mission? To finish the game from within before the Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone, hamming it up in four demented guises) brainwashes the world's youth.

From robot battles to freeway chases via surf rides over lava, helmer Robert Rodriguez outdoes himself with every sequence. But he saves the best to last with a hilarious finale on the streets of Austin, Texas that has the whole Spy Kids gang - - Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub, Steve Buscemi et al - - teaming up for old time's sake. What's missing is the family dynamic (Antonio Banderas and Carlo Gugino's spy parents are limited to walk-ons), though at least Ricardo Montalban's Gramps has more to do this time around.