Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker

Opens at area theaters, Fri., Oct. 13. Rated PG. 87 minutes.

When his uncle (Ewan McGregor) dies unexpectedly on an alleged business trip, ordinary English teenager Alex Rider (Alex Pettyfer) soon learns that there's a family tradition of secret agents, and he's next in line. Initially reluctant, he quickly gets into the swing of things when his American au pair (Alicia Silverstone, oddly miscast) is threatened with deportation by the head of MI6 (Bill Nighy, delivering more entertainment value with one eyebrow than everyone else in the movie combined). Alex must infiltrate the headquarters of an eccentric software mogul, who for some odd reason is played by Mickey Rourke under a bad wig and inches of thick pancake makeup, a misstep so wrong it's almost right. Stephen Fry, Robbie Coltrane, Andy Serkis, and Distraction host Jimmy Carr round out the cast, which would be fine if this were a comedy, but it's ostensibly an action movie, and the action is so poorly shot as to be embarrassing; even a Donnie Yen–staged martial arts sequence is ruined in the editing. LUKE Y. THOMPSON

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