Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London

on March 12, 2004 by Kim Williamson
First, the mistakes. The biggest is the action violence cited by the MPAA for the PG rating; given that our hero, CIA agent Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz, reprising his 2003 role), is now older, apparently he can't just outwit the miscreants as in the original--he has to punch and kick them in no-holds-barred battle. For at least the younger side of the film's target audience, this could be unacceptable for parents. Second, the ending is blown; after a lengthy setup that looks like Cody is going to have to come to the personal rescue of a dozen world leaders, including the U.S. president, he's reduced to chasing the bad guy as he tries to make a petty escape after the plot has been elsewhere foiled. Third, part of the original's charm had to do with his double life--being a young-teen CIA agent on the side, even as he has to take out the trash at home; here, Cody is pretty much a full-time mini-Bond.

The setup: Banks is spending time at a CIA summer camp when Diaz ("The Others'" Keith Allen), a disaffected CIA veteran demoted to being camp leader, steals mind-control software; his plan, to take over the world. For a reason not made clear enough, the Organization chooses the youngster to track him down. As before, Banks befriends said pretty girl (here, Hannah Spearritt of Euro band S Club 7), this time while attending an exclusive music school. It's run by the wife (Anna Chancellor) of a computer scientist ("I Capture the Castle's" James Faulkner) in league with Diaz. Aiding Banks is the jive-talking Derek ("Kangaroo Jack's" Anthony Anderson).

Were it not for the marvelous Muniz, rescuing virtually every scene with his effortlessly charming presence, "Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London" would quickly go stale. As is, for the preteen crowd, this sequel will have enough movement and comedy to satisfy. But there's probably too little of either to justify a "Cody 3." Starring Frankie Muniz, Anthony Anderson, Hannah Spearritt and Keith Allen. Directed by Kevin Allen. Written by Don Rhymer. Produced by David Glasser, Andreas Klein, David Nicksay, Guy Oseary and Dylan Sellers. An MGM release. Action/comedy. Rated PG for action violence and some crude humor. Running time: 101 min

Tags: Frankie Muniz, Anthony Anderson, Hannah Spearritt, Kevin Allen, Don Rhymer, David Glasser, Andreas Klein, David Nicksay, Guy Oseary, Dylan Sellers, youngster, mind-control, computer scientist, violence, spy, sequel, family action

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