Starring: Daryl Sabara, Alexa PenaVega, Sylvester Stallone
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Running Time: 84 mins
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over is an American film and the third in the Spy Kids series. Upon the launch of a major new virtual reality video game, Juni is forced to venture into a dangerous virtual world created by the Toymaker in order to save his sister.
I remember seeing this at the age of 6 in the cinema with those awful paper red-and-blue 3D glasses, and I loved it. In that, as well as recognising while watching it in 2016, this is a perfectly harmless and light film that I’m sure young kids can have fun with. However, when looking at it from any other criteria, it’s difficult to say where Spy Kids 3-D impresses apart from being a candidate for a so-bad-it’s-good badge.
Briefly, before I explain the many problems with this film, I’ll say that whether you’re young or old, you won’t hate this film. Kids should be able to look past the issues, but even I wasn’t bored out of my mind with this film. It may be poorly-made and full of laughable problems, but its incredibly light-hearted atmosphere and simple story was just enough to keep me in a good mood – not boring or frustrating me at any point.
That said, there’s very little else to redeem Spy Kids 3-D. The biggest issue of all is in the name, and it’s the use of 3D. Back in 2003, before Real D 3D came along, this seemed pretty cool and futuristic, but even so, that doesn’t mean it looks any good. Particularly nowadays, the entire film looks horrifically ugly, and the completely excessive amount of things being thrown at you from the screen is laughable to say the least.
Now, I know that the film’s look is intended to mimic the graphics of an early 2000s kids’ video game, but there are moments outside of the game that still use special effects to incredibly poor effect. The in-game visuals are laughably bad, but acceptable given the context, however watching Antonio Banderas fly across the sky on blue screen in a lab coat, or even an incredibly basic gaffe like Sylvester Stallone’s insanely obvious bald cap, are what make this film feel like it should be in the so-bad-it’s-good category.
It’s not quite as painful to look at as Sharkboy and Lavagirl, but you must go into this film accepting its seemingly low production value (on a budget of $38m), even in comparison to its two predecessors in the Spy Kids series.
Finally, I have to talk about the performances. On the whole, the kids aren’t too bad, and give enjoyable enough performances throughout, fulfilling the role of young lead actors. The majority of the supporting cast is okay too in their small roles, but there’s one person who puts in a performance of legendary proportions.
That person is Sylvester Stallone. Honestly, even in a kids’ spy action sci-fi movie, I wasn’t expecting this sort of performance. On a level similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman & Robin, Stallone plays The Toymaker, the film’s main villain, as well as a collection of other characters in The Toymaker’s circle. A hippie, a Russian (?) general and a ‘bald’ scientist are the main three roles alongside The Toymaker, and they’re frankly hilarious to see. His turn as The Toymaker himself is pretty bad, but these three bizarre and random characters are just shockingly bad, and makes for some of the best unintentional laughs of the whole film.
Overall, as surprisingly harmless and light as this film was, I can’t in good conscience say that it’s any good. Young kids may like the novelty of it all (although now I think about it, they may not be at all impressed with the graphics), but on the whole, this is one of those laughably bad productions that’s right on the verge of deserving cult status. With horrific visuals, awful special effects and basic production errors, along with one of the most bizarre performances of all time from Stallone, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over is simply not a good film, and that’s why it gets a 5.8 from me.