Spy Kids (2001)

spykidsTwo kids discover their supposedly uncool parents are famous secret spies. When the parents get caught by an evil genius, they must band together and rescue their parents. This is such a nice movie. Not for its action or acting, but for its simplicity. It makes so many attempts at being nonviolent even though there is a lot of martial-arts scenes, and no guns. James Bond would be proud of these kids. The two offspring of enemy secret spies turned lovers obtain the elements of being a spy, though they don’t know it yet. Alexa Vega’s character is the oldest sister and contains the physical abilities and ferocity of a spy, and Daryl Sabara’s character obtains the mental and technological abilities it takes to be a spy.

Their parents go on a new mission and get captured by a children’s show host and taken hostage so they can obtain a weapon Antonio Banderas’ character created a long time ago called “The Third Brain”, which, when implanted into robots can make them super-intelligent and killing machines (Though we never see them actually hurt anybody). Now the two kids inadvertently jump into the role of spy and must save their parents. Robert Rodriguez does an excellent job of making a kids action movie without it being too hokey or corny. The problem with this movie is it goes to great lengths to prevent violence to the point where it becomes excruciatingly hokey and cheesy.

We have these soldiers called the Thumb-thumbs which looks like giant thumbs but are very powerful. Then we have the psycho robotic kids which are called “Spy Kids” which, again, never actually hurt anyone. Then we have the enemy who turned into some three faced freak which kind of reminded me of a Tim Burton movie or something. The ending is especially corny when the daughter begins giving a speech about family and the power of it. Been there done that. That said, I loved that all the major roles were taken by Latino actors. Antonio Banderas, Alexa Vega, Danny Trejo, and Cheech Marin. Robert Rodriguez did an excellent job of incorporating these actors into the movie without making them stereotypical characters.

They were strong, smart, and crafty. Me being a Hispanic myself found this to be a change of pace. The special-effects are quite good and the fact that they’re used to tell the story and are not used as devices to attract movie-goers is quite original. The kids play off each other very well and never miss a beat with perfect-timed humor and acting. This features cameos and small parts from actors from previous Robert Rodriguez films like Danny Trejo (Desperado, Dusk Till Dawn), Cheech Marin (Desperado, Dusk Till Dawn), Robert Patrick (The Faculty), and Antonio Banderas (Desperado), to name. Bravo to Mr. Rodriguez for giving a upstanding fun yet clean action movie.