Directed by Geofrey Sax
Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Alicia Silverstone, Mickey Rourke, Missi Pyle, Bill Nighy, Damian Lewis, Robbie Coltrane, Stephen Fry, Ewan McGregor, Sophie Okonedo, Andy Serkis, Ashley Walters, Alex Barrett, Richard Huw.
Rated PG (violence)
Reviewed by The Teen Critic on December 6, 2008.
I find it difficult to find even one good thing to say about Geoffrey Sax's disaster "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker," except maybe one good use of cinematography in the entire 93 minute running time. This is a film so awful in its every facet, so disquietingly uninteresting, so repugnantly, viciously irredeemable, that one wonders if the actors were even trying.
I have an interesting story behind my watching this film. A friend and I were browsing Movie Boy's website and decided to watch two films that he hated. We chose this and "Zoom." We had heard "Zoom" was the worst of the Tim Allen Trilogy of Shame in 2006, but hadn't seen it or the other two 2006 releases he was in, so we gave it a shot. We both figured, well, Movie Boy isn't always that smart about his star ratings, so his giving "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker" zero stars and "Zoom" half a star was just a fluke.
Good God, were we wrong. While "Zoom" was awful, you couldn't consciously hate it. It had a zeal, even if every scene failed miserably, a kind of "Sky High" rip-off. "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker," however, started as an "Agent Cody Banks"-lite for about five mediocre albeit harmless minutes and descended into such levels of awfulness that I don't think a family-friendly actioner has ever reached.
It is also the most incomprehensible drivel written before January 11, 2008 (when the impossibly worse "In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale" was released). The script is utterly lifeless, attempting to squish a plot that, while awful, is also much too large for a film like this. That is to say, if anyone could understand it. Not one second of expository dialogue is, well, expository. Not one action sequence makes an iota of sense. Not one character has enough depth (or any depth for that matter) to latch onto. This is not "so bad it's good" we're talking about. It's "so bad it's awful."
The plot I could understand (or remember) involves a plot to kill millions of children by transferring some sort of virus into computers. So, not only is it incomprehensible, but it is also inherently disturbing. Nice. But then, the transfer is so ridiculous that it doesn't even exist in a reality that is of any sort on this earth.
If "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker" is useful for one thing, it is how not to make a kid-friendly action film. From the schizoid, ADD filmmaking by Sax (who, big surprise, made the non-suspenser "White Noise" in 2005) to the nondescript cinematography (except one single crane shot near the end) to the unbelievably bad fight choreography (Alex beats up seven people with a rope and without any previous training), this film steps wrong in any direction. I would say to watch it if you just want to laugh at the badness of it all, but that would be like saying the badness is entertaining. It's not. It's depressingly bad.
Rumor is that star Alex Pettyfer was chosen out of 500 other boys to play Alex Rider. Those 499 others must have been unspeakably bad. I think Movie Boy says it best in his review, "...it's safe to say that a sock puppet could have been capable of delivering a more dedicated performance than Alex Pettyfer does." He's too kind there. I don't think that Pettyfer emotes one time in the entire film. Not that he has anything to work with here or anything. The supporting cast is no better (but thankfully not worse) with Alicia Silverstone giving the best performance in the film; the catch is, she's awful. Mickey Rourke acts like he has a million better things to do, and he probably does. Sophie Okonedo, Ewan McGregor, Robbie Coltrane, Bill Nighy, Missi Pyle, Andy Serkis, Stephen Fry, Sarah Bolger, and Damian Lewis are all wasted in nothing roles.
"Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker" comes to a point close to cinematic torture, but is one step away from that. It presents an endurance test for the viewer: How inept can it get at any moment? The answer is, a whole freakin' lot. This is irredeemable filmmaking at its very atrocious and the second-worst film I've ever seen. I've seen only six films I could say that about. So, that's saying a lot.