"I am beginning to think women make the best spies (or agents)", says a distraught Audrey Hepburn enmeshed in a complex vortex of big cash, vicious double-crossers and Hitchcockian intrigue, in Charade, 1963. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World's stepmom Marissa is nowhere close to the reluctant spy that mademoiselle Lampert is but she is a spy alright, in director Robert Rodriguez's fourth instalment of Spy Kids after a gap of eight years.
'The world will end' is at the heart of this film, raising distant memories of recent Hollywood romps which take on the might of the unknown to save the planet of life. The story is presented to us like a story of a regular suburban family, of kids (Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook ) and their mischief, of their stepmother (Jessica Alba) and her secret identity as a spy and a dog (voiced by Ricky Gervais) who talks more fluently than other dogs bark. When evil elements threaten our much-cherished peace and order, Marissa is pressed into service -- this time, she has own mini-army.
The adventure genre is increasingly becoming a laboratory of sorts for Hollywood to test its horrendous experiments and this is being done in the false hope that the viewer can be easily justified and convinced under the age-old
'suspension of disbelief' technique. The fact that this film comes with the additional perk of a 4D experience adds little value to it.
That said, most of such films arrive with an attractive package of special effects and action set-pieces. What's new in those gimmicks, then? In moviemaking, technology can never pass for storytelling. People still enjoy well-made silent films decades after the talkies rendered them out of business.
Even if Spy Kids 4 is targeted at the kids, it takes its audience too lightly. Usually, such action-adventure films don't have a story and it's futile to look for one. What they have is a concept in place of a story and it must be reminded that even concepts divested of engagement with emotions are not worth it. Spy Kids 4 falls into the category of hype over heft.