Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams
4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
faster cooler smarter taller Who could have predicted Rodriguez's double pronged career--unhinged, gonzo thrillers (From Dusk Til Dawn) and intelligent, gleefully entertaining kids adventures. The first Spy Kids was such a pleasant surprise, that no one was terribly bothered that Rodriguez had a second one ready barely a year later.

Now the Cortez kids (Vega and Sabara) are seasoned junior spies, working alongside their parents Gregorio and Ingrid (Banderas and Gugino) and developing a rivalry with another set of siblings, the Giggles (O'Leary and Osment), whose father (Judge) has surprisingly been promoted over Gregorio to top spy. And this rivalry extends to a new big case involving a mad scientist (Buscemi) on a remote island surrounded by mutant animals and the possibility of world destruction.

Whatever. The plot is over-complicated and under-developed, basically just a nonsensical framework for a series of action set pieces that show off either outlandish gadgets or juvenile ingenuity, with comedy asides to keep us laughing. And it works! Rodriguez does just about everything on the film (script, direction, production, design, editing, photography), and that singular vision shows. Everything looks cartoonish, but the film is smart and quick, and never talks down to kids at all.

There's a warped sense of humour that will appeal to every age group, and the performances are great fun, especially supporting roles (Montalban and Taylor are hilarious as Ingrid's meddling parents) and cameos (including the original film's villains Cumming and Shalhoub). It's also great to get more of Banderas and Gugino than before, having their own adventure and troubles. Banderas isn't particularly adept at comedy shtick, but it does make us laugh! And there's a nicely unpredictable sense that anything can happen at any point, which overcomes the weak storyline and keeps us thoroughly entertained right through to the obligatory credit-sequence outtakes. Roll on Part 3!

cert PG themes, suspense, mild vulgarity 4.Aug.02

dir-scr Robert Rodriguez
with Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Steve Buscemi, Mike Judge, Matthew O'Leary, Emily Osment, Ricardo Montalban, Holland Taylor, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Christopher McDonald, Bill Paxton, Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub
release US 9.Aug.02; UK 16.Aug.02
02/US 1h43

Face off. The Cortez family finds out who the villain of the piece really is (Gugino, Banderas, Vega, Sabara)....

banderas buscemi paxton cumming

See also:
SPY KIDS (2001)
SPY KIDS 3D (2003)

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© 2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall