While Hilary Duff has moved on to more substantive dramatic
parts, Frankie Muniz (TV’s “Malcolm in the
Middle”) is still playing the title role of Agent Cody Banks
— and he still looks all of 12 years old. In his newest
assignment, “Agent Cody Banks: Destination London,”
Muniz’s character, disguised as a youth orchestra member,
spies around England’s capital, trying to find a
mind-controlling device that slipped into the hands of a corrupt
CIA member.

Most of the gadgets in “Destination London” are
reminiscent of those in typical spy movies, but Muniz isn’t
suave enough to use them in true fashion. Throughout the entire
movie he is capable only of two different facial expressions:
shocked and anxious. With his mouth agape and eyes scrunched,
it’s amazing that he’s supposed to pass for a secret
agent. Of course, it doesn’t help that Muniz is surrounded by
a host of sub-par actors.

As the villain, for example, the supposed diabolical Diaz (Keith
Allen) relies too much on grunting and threats of breaking vases to
instill any real fear. As Banks’s fellow member of the
orchestra, Emily (Hannah Spearitt) is a lousy Hilary Duff
replacement. Spearitt’s acting capabilities fall short of
being believable, but she’s not the worst. Anthony Anderson
(“My Baby’s Daddy”), as Bank’s mentor
Derrick, contributes nothing valuable to the movie besides his
humorously enormous body.

Amidst poor acting and even poorer physical humor, it’s
hard to find a redeemable scene in the movie. Near the end,
however, there is a sequence worth mentioning: the crosscutting
between the orchestra playing Edwin Starr’s “War”
and Banks fighting Diaz. The scene’s timing is good enough to
make it the most climactic and promising point in the movie, and it
doesn’t hurt that there’s no dialogue.

Despite all of the shortcomings of “Destination
London,” it has plenty of enjoyable action sequences and can
be, for what it’s worth, a relatively entertaining preteen
flick.

If there’s going to be a third mission for Agent Cody
Banks, though, Muniz needs to mature greatly and find himself a
supporting cast with decent talent. It could also be beneficial for
all those involved to take cues from Bond and their other more
notable spy movie predecessors.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.