Looney Tunes
Back in Action

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Steve Martin and Timothy Dalton
Warner Home Video
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: PG
Available 19 July 2004

During a Warner Bros executive board meeting it is decided that Daffy Duck just isn't popular enough with today's kids and he is promptly fired. Living the studio he bumps into a recently-dismissed stuntman called Bobby Delmont and together they embark on a round-the-world adventure. Their mission? Find Bobby's father's missing blue diamond... and stay one step ahead of Bugs and the studio exec who are on their trail...

Looney Tunes: Back in Action was a bit of a surprise for me. I was expecting some hammy acting and a dull storyline, but this movie is anything but dull.

Brendan Fraser (The Mummy) stars as the unlucky security guard who want to make it big in Hollywood. He has the parental background - his father is actor Damien Drake, better known as the world's most famous movie spy. But, when his Damien disappears, his son soon discovers that he is not just an actor, he really is an undercover spy.

By far the best inclusion in this movie is Timothy Dalton as super spy Damien Drake. Dalton, to my mind, was the best James Bond in the franchise and I always thought it was a shame that he only made two films. Fraser and Jenna Elfman (as the studio executive who originally gets Daffy fired) turn in above average performances, which is a mercy because Steve Martin (as the head of naff products company ACME) turns in his worst performance of his career.

I was never really a fan of Martin - comedy works best when it's played subtly, not rammed down your throat at a hundred miles an hour. And in this movie he is way over the top - to be quite honest I was embarrassed for him. Imagine Rik Mayall's character from The Young Ones. Now imagine if Mayall was asked to ham up that performance by 100% and you'll have a pretty good idea of how Martin tackles his role. He acts badly, and in a movie where the other actors fit in well, he sticks out like a sore thumb. Thankfully, even this seriously bad acting can not drown a pretty good movie.

There are plenty of subtle jokes that adults will appreciate more than the kids. Matthew Lillard (Shaggy in the live action Scooby-Doo! movies) appears briefly, having a debate in the Warner Bros canteen with the cartoon version of Scooby and Shaggy about his acting in the movies. Our heroes also discover an Area 51 style military base (called Area 52) which houses, amongst other weird exhibits, a dalek, Roswell alien and Robby the Robot.

Ignore Martin (close your eyes and stick your fingers in your ears whenever he appears on screen) and you have yourself a pretty funny kids movie that adults will enjoy. Did I mention how truly awful Martin was?

Pete Boomer

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