With all-new gadgets, high-flying action, exciting chases and a wisecracking new handler, Derek (Anthony Anderson), Cody has to retrieve the device before the world's leaders fall under the evil control of a diabolical villain.
Frankie Muniz, the now 18-year-old urchin of "Malcolm in the Middle," is back as a 16-year-old C.I.A. operative in this sequel to the fitfully entertaining "Agent Cody Banks." The subversive humor that occasionally brightened the first film — the notion, for example, that an innocuous summer camp is actually a high-tech C.I.A. training base for child agents — is absent from this sophomore effort, as is Hilary Duff, the highly popular teenage actress whose co-starring role in the first "Cody" likely had a lot to do with the film's success. Otherwise, things are pretty much the same, as the screenwriters Don Rhymer, Harald Zwart and Dylan Sellers do their best to duplicate the first film's blend of James Bondish adventure and adolescent anxieties. Young Cody is assigned by the director of the C.I.A. (Keith David) to track down the rogue agent Diaz (Keith Allen), who was once Cody's trainer at C.I.A. camp but has now joined the evil English aristocrat Lord Kenworth (James Faulkner) in a mad plot to rule the world by implanting mind-controlling microchips in the molars of world leaders. Directed by the British filmmaker Kevin Allen ("Twin Town," "The Big Tease"), "Cody Banks 2" is full of chase sequences and comic battles, but Mr. Allen's work is compromised by an apparent inability to match his shots in a spatially coherent fashion. It's never easy to tell who is chasing whom and in which direction, a needless confusion that dampens many of the thrills and scuttles quite a few of the gags. — Dave Kehr
2004-03-12 | Dave Kehr | Read the New York Times Review of Agent Cody Banks: Destination London