Movie Details

STORMBREAKER

Alex Rider is a normal teenager who lives with his uncle, a boring bank manager, or so it seems until his uncle, Ian Rider, disappears under mysterious circumstances. Alex soon learns that his uncle was a spy for Britain`s secret intelligence service MI6. Uncle Ian had actually prepared Alex for a career in espionage by encouraging his hobbies, and with Alex`s skills in languages, scuba diving, mountaineering and martial arts, he has all the attributes of a perfect spy.

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Genre: Action / Art / Thriller
Running Time: NA
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Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Bill Nighy
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Review
Writer: Pairamaporn Buranakol

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Watch this if you liked: "Spy Kids", "Agent Cody Banks"

The name is Rider. Alex Rider. No, this isn't another 007 movie, though it fits the category because it has three important things all British secret spies need to have: (1) a spiffy suit, (2) gadgets, (3) explosions. However, Double-O-Rider fails to impress as he comes off more as a reluctant spy than anything else.

"Stormbreaker" is the movie adaptation of the novel Stormbreaker, the first of the Alex Rider series, written by British author Anthony Horowitz. Apparently Horowitz also wrote the screenplay for the movie and chose Alex Pettyfer to play the role of Alex Rider.

Alex Rider (Pettyfer) is a 14-year-old schoolboy who learns that his uncle, Ian Rider (Ewan McGregor) was killed in a car accident. He is shocked to learn that his uncle, whom he always thought was a normal, boring, working man, was actually a spy for the British Secret Service, MI6, but then he got killed by his enemy. Alex is then recruited by Alan Blunt (Bill Nighy) and Tulip Jones (Sophie Okonedo) for a special operation to find out what his uncle was investigating before he was murdered.

This leads him to Darrius Sayle (Mickey Rourke), who is donating a free super-computer called Stormbreaker to every school in Britain. MI6 however suspects him of planting a computer virus in the system. Alex, in disguise as a computer nerd who won a free tour of Sayle's plant, finds out that it is not a computer virus, but a real virus which will affect the British school children once the Prime Minister activates the Stormbreaker in an official launch ceremony. Before he can escape, Sayle's accomplice, Nadia Vole (Missi Pyle) finds out his real identity and alerts Sayle. Caught like a rat in a snare, Alex must outwit his enemies and stop the ceremony from going forward at the risk of his own life.

Alex Pettyfer comes off with a disappointing performance as the reluctant spy, as the 16-year-old plays the character with all the emotions of a wooden shoe. Ian Rider should have definitely given his nephew acting lessons apart from all the self-defence classes, because he makes the villain suspicious of him from the word go. Regardless, he does break out of his mould at times and portrays Alex Rider as a likeable character, which is probably why he is likely to become the next poster boy for the fluttering teenage girls all around the world.

What was most irritating was the character of Alan Blunt, who was supposed to have been a heartless, ruthless MI6 leader with no qualms about sending a 14 year old boy into the den of evil; but Bill Nighy, in trying to bring slapstick humour to the character, makes Blunt a weak clown. It's hard to believe this man runs MI6.

Ewan McGregor, Andy Sarkis and Alicia Silverstone have minor roles in the film but they do make their presence felt whenever they appear on screen, though Silverstone looks haggard and aged since "Excess Baggage" and "Clueless".

With so much American movies in the cinemas these days, it's nice to be able to enjoy a British-made show, with everything very 'British'. You've got kids playing cricket instead of baseball in the film, horse rides down London's streets, and a classic scene; soldiers having a "cup of tea" while on their watch.

So if you've read the Alex Rider books, or happen to be a fan of good ol' Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys back in the old days, then this may come off as a toned-down fun version of those books. However, "Stormbreaker" fails to hold back the potential whirlwind of disappointing moments throughout the movie.

Cinema Online, 23 September 2008
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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