Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Mickey Rourke, Sophie Okonedo
Director: Geoffrey Sax
Running Time: 93 mins
Stormbreaker is a British film about a schoolboy who enters into the Special Forces division of MI6 after the death of his super-spy uncle, and is tasked with bringing down a billionaire with a plan to kill millions.
I remember how popular the Stormbreaker book was back in the mid-noughties, but it seems that the film didn’t really manage to capture viewers’ imaginations in the same way. Stormbreaker is a perfectly pleasant movie – with lightweight espionage intrigue aimed squarely at younger viewers – it’s just that the film is just so generic, so simplistic and at times even quite dated.
Of course, the target audience here is kids and tweens, so anything of real weight or depth wouldn’t be welcome. And for the younger viewers, I think Stormbreaker has enough energy and enough scope to prove an entertaining watch that might serve as an entry point to enjoying the likes of James Bond and Mission: Impossible.
One of the stranger things about the film is that it often feels a little caught between its own espionage story and parodying other spy movies. Again, its lightweight atmosphere means that’s not hugely distracting, though with often comical performances from the likes of Bill Nighy and Mickey Rourke, it can be a little hard to discern whether you should be laughing at Stormbreaker or not.
Still, in the lead role, a young Alex Pettyfer does a great job. He’s not enormously charismatic, but neither is he an unconfident or shy young lead as can often prove the case. He holds his own against an impressive A-list cast, though the majority of the adult actors are hardly working to the best of their abilities here.
The real fun in Stormbreaker for adults isn’t going to come from its story, nor even its comedy. However, there is something delightfully enjoyable about just how innocent it is. Apart from the fact that you can sit back and watch it with your brain turned off, there’s something really nice about watching a spy movie that isn’t beholden to any of the constraints of character depth or even the laws of reality.
The long and short of it is that Stormbreaker is a kids’ movie for kids. There is some fun in watching it as an adult, though it’s hardly going to capture you in the same way as some of the better spy movies out there can. It’s simple and easy-going, but it’s not particularly interesting, and sometimes difficult to really laugh at and enjoy to the full. So, that’s why I’m giving it 6.5 overall.