Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London

Once upon a time, only good movies merited sequels. Now, with major studios worried about the bottom line, they see familiarity as the easiest way to profits. Franchises are the key, and the stars are signed to one or more sequels even before the first movie arrives in theaters (Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man contract called for three movies before filming even began on the first). The bad news is, movies that really aren't that good to begin with are generating sequels. Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London is a pointless sequel to a very mediocre original, that wasn't even that popular with audiences. It was a cut-rate James Bond franchise for kids, about a normal boy who ends up working for the CIA. As the title implies, this time he jets off to London for another dull adventure.

This time, he must bring in Diaz (Keith Allen, 24 Hour Party People, My Wife is an Actress), a rogue CIA agent, and one of Cody's teachers. Diaz is meeting up with Kentworth (James Faulkner, I Capture the Castle, Bridget Jones's Diary) to hatch a plan to take over the world. Each has a specific element necessary to create a device that can control minds, and the two hope to hatch their nefarious plan at a meeting of the G7 leaders. The CIA Director (Keith David, Hollywood Homicide, Head of State) sends Banks (Frankie Muniz, Agent Cody Banks, Deuces Wild) undercover as a clarinet prodigy (of course, he doesn't play the clarinet at all) to a prestigious music school run by Mrs. Kentworth (Anna Chancellor, The Dreamers, What a Girl Wants). Banks' handler is Derek (Anthony Anderson, My Baby's Daddy, Scary Movie 3), a washed up agent who is also undercover as the chef.

Cody Banks 2 proves that Muniz is not aging gracefully. He is coming off more and more as dull and arrogant, and it is not fun watching him kick and punch his way into and out of various situations. He really is not interesting to watch here. The script, by Harold Zwart (Agent Cody Banks, One Night at McCool's), Dylan Sellers, and Don Rhymer (The Santa Clause 2, Big Momma's House) is an uninspired series of lame action sequences and lamer jokes. This is a kids movie, and an action movie, but the two don't mix. Director Kevin Allen (The Big Tease, Twin Town) portrays Derek as a bumbling idiot, a fairly standard role for Anderson, but it's too bad that he sacrifices dumb jokes for any sort of realism (well, to be fair, realism is not the point of this film).

In the original, Banks was afraid to talk to girls. The writers apparently forgot this, as Banks has no problem talking to anybody, and is more than happy to shoot his mouth off at anyone, male or female. He has a really big attitude problem, and clashes with British Intelligence Agent (another teen undercover at the Kentworths) Emily (pop group S Club 7 member Hannah Spearritt). She's pissed that Banks came in a nearly botched her ongoing operation. However, soon they team up for some more lifeless action sequences, capped off by a truly atrocious musical rendition by the youth orchestra. The simple fact is that this is a pointless movie that nobody asked for.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 33 minutes, Rated PG for action violence and some crude humor.

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