Bright colors + lots of action + loud noise = perfect kid-flick. Oh, and it's in 3-D as well, for that extra appeal. However, our attempt at that format ended, by mutual consent, about 20 minutes in. Wisely, Rodriguez included a normal version on the DVD, so we went with that instead - and I can't say it reduced our entertainment level at all. Though Spy Kid would be a more fitting title, since Carmen (Vega) is notable by her absence. She spends much of the film trapped inside a video game created by the evil Toymaker (Stallone). Her brother Juni (Sabara) has to go in, assisted by Grandpa (Montalban, magnificently regal), rescue her, and prevent the game from going live and sucking in the youth of the nation.
While many films have been set in video games, few have done such a good job of capturing their lurid appeal, and Rodriguez' eye for cool action sequences works just as well in the virtual world as the real one. The plotting is, probably inevitably, somewhat spotty, and little more than a reflection of the game - five levels then the boss - and especially at the end, the parade of celebrity cameos becomes an unwanted distraction. Inevitably, the Wheel o' Morality spins, but the lessons learned here are not too ham-handed; surprisingly, violence doesn't solve all problems. Coming from the man who brought us From Dusk Till Dawn - the poster child for slaughter as a negotiating tool - that's something of a shock. Jabs at everything from the price of movie snacks to The Matrix (Juni is "the guy") help make this fine entertainment for people of all ages. Especially highly-caffeinated ones.