Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker Parent Guide

Overall B-

Suave, cool and sophisticated, this blonde adolescent gets pulled into the world of secret service activities after his uncle Ian (Ewan McGregor), whom Alex (Alex Pettyfer) didn't know was a spy, is killed while on a mission. It's a high-octane adventure with oodles of action violence that will play well to young adolescents... if their parents are okay with a few senseless killings.

Release date October 5, 2006

Violence C-
Sexual Content A
Profanity A-
Substance Use A

Why is Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker rated PG? The MPAA rated Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker PG for sequences of action violence and some peril.

Run Time: 93 minutes

Parent Movie Review

It’s time for Cody Banks to step aside and for the Spy Kids to have a serious think about heading back to school and pursuing a real career now that UK teen hero Alex Rider has come to town. Suave, cool and sophisticated (in fact, a little too much so for supposedly being only 14!), this blonde adolescent gets pulled into the world of secret service activities after his uncle Ian (Ewan McGregor), whom Alex (Alex Pettyfer) didn’t know was a spy, is killed while on a mission.

Yet for years Uncle Ian—who was also the boy’s guardian—was preparing his charge for a life of covert activity. It’s only now, after being conscripted by hard-nosed secret service supervisors Alan Blunt (Bill Nighy) and Mrs. Jones (Sophie Okonedo) that Alex discovers his future has been mapped out for him. The lad is further compelled to comply after these government bosses tell him his nanny’s (Alicia Silverstone) visa has long expired and that she will be deported… unless he cooperates.

On his first mission, he must infiltrate the laboratory of Darrius Sayle (Mickey Rourke), maker of an incredibly powerful computer called The Stormbreaker. Not known for his generosity, Sayle is suddenly playing philanthropist after he announces that thousands of his pricy PCs will be handed out to schools around the country. Suspicious that the businessman’s motives may be evil, the young sleuth sets out to discover what’s really going on.

For parents who tire of searching for action movies suitable for young teens, Stormbreaker may fill the list of traits your kids are looking for. Although the script isn’t particularly intelligent, its propensity for having the hero barge into dangerous circumstances for no good reason does provide ample opportunity for him to engage in all forms of conflict with bad guys, resulting in the expected action sequences.

Parents may be surprised however, by the intensity of some of the depicted violence, especially considering the film’s US PG-rating. A man with two handguns (pointed straight into the camera) assassinates Alex’s uncle in the opening sequence. We don’t see the impact, but it’s a vivid scene none-the-less. A similar episode is repeated later in the film, as well as the shooting death of another background character in consequence for making a simple mistake. Thankfully, language is very clean and there is no sexual content—as this junior Bond isn’t even provided with a love interest.

Featuring a passel of famous UK faces and some well-orchestrated stunts that include a cool bicycle chase (I’m left wondering who gets more screen time—Alex Pettyfer or his stunt double), this film will likely leave its intended audience pleased. Still, the portrayal of senseless killings may have families with secret agent wannabes proceeding cautiously when considering undertaking this “operation.”

Starring Ewan McGregor, Sarah Bolger. Running time: 93 minutes. Theatrical release October 5, 2006. Updated

Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker
Rating & Content Info

Why is Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker rated PG? Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker is rated PG by the MPAA for sequences of action violence and some peril.

This junior spy film contains more violence than most US PG-rated films. Gunplay is included throughout. In one instance a man is assassinated, and in another a man is killed for making a simple mistake. Along with hand-to-hand and foot-to-crotch combat, there are many moments of peril and a couple “made you jump” scenes. No blood is shown as a result of these situations. As well, there’s a big dangerous jellyfish we know will tangle with someone before the movie’s end. Language is limited to a couple uses of the word “heck.” No sexual content was noted.

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Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker Parents' Guide

Does your perception of media violence change when you see a murder in a movie targeted at kids versus one made for adults? Was it necessary for these elements to be included in this movie? How could the writers have “written off” Alex’s uncle without having him shot?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker movie is December 18, 2006. Here are some details…

Related home video titles:

Successful movie franchises featuring young covert operatives include: Agent Cody Banks I and its sequel Agent Cody Banks II: Destination London, and Spy Kids—Episode I, Episode II and Episode 3-D: Game Over. Ewan McGregor, who plays Uncle Ian, is perhaps best known for his role as a mentor in another popular movie series, Star Wars—Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack Of The Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.