Brash, bright and barely coherent, the third outing in Robert Rodriguez's miniature spy series surely is "Game Over", but there's some fun to be had playing.
Young gingernut Juni (Daryl Sabara) has quit spying, but returns to the family business to rescue his sister, Carmen (Alexa Vega), who is trapped in the virtual reality gameworld of the Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone) - a split-personality villain who has been stuck in cyberspace for 30 years.
Why Juni left is unclear; the Toymaker's eeevil past opaque; the logic of the game world... well, it's not exactly crystal. Story isn't a strong point: this is a bigscreen videogame, where Juni and his plucky pals (others gamers) must battle through level after digi-level, to virtually save the world.
Boshed out less than a year after the first "sequel", and only two after the excellent "Spy Kids", this is a throwaway caper - all whiz, bang and what-the-hell's-happening? Writer, director, editor, composer, cinematographer and producer, Rodriguez is having a laugh - he won't want you to think, just be wowed by the visuals, mostly presented in 3-D.
You may well be amazed, you may well be irritated: the glasses gimmick affects people differently, eye ache or awe being typical reactions. Whether you "ahh!" or "argh!", there's no doubting the filmmaker's imagination - creating a colourful, kinetic cyberworld where the action appears effortless, despite being ridiculously effects-heavy ("The Phantom Menace" proved how difficult this can be).
Considerably more strained than any CGI is Sly, in his hoped for comeback. The Toymaker should be humorously hissable. Instead he's anaemic, with each of the actor's alter egos (martinet, guru and scientist) competing for poorest performance in limply scripted scenes.
It's the charisma of the child stars which carries the picture. And the infectious energy of the creator, whose frothy franchise has now run its course. Time to move on: only diamonds are forever.