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Stormbreaker
Stormbreakerposter2.jpg
United States film poster
Directed by Geoffrey Sax
Produced by
  • Marc Samuelson
  • Peter Samuelson
  • Steve Christian
Screenplay by Anthony Horowitz
Starring
Music by Alan Parker
Cinematography Chris Seager
Editing by Andrew MacRitchie
Studio
Distributed by United Kingdom
Entertainment Film Distributors
United States
The Weinstein Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) 21 July 2006 (2006-07-21)
Running time 93 minutes
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Germany
Language English
Budget $40 million
Money made $20.7–23.9 million

Stormbreaker (titled Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker in the United States) is a 2006 action spy film directed by Geoffrey Sax. The screenplay by Anthony Horowitz is based on his 2000 novel Stormbreaker, the first novel in the Alex Rider series. The film stars Alex Pettyfer as Alex Rider, and also stars Mickey Rourke, Bill Nighy, Sophie Okonedo, Alicia Silverstone, Sarah Bolger, Stephen Fry and Ewan McGregor. Stormbreaker was an international co-production between companies and financiers from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany.

The film's plot follows a teenage boy who is recruited by MI6 after his uncle, a secret agent, is killed in action. He is sent on a mission in Cornwall to gather intelligence behind Stormbreaker, an advanced computer system being provided to schools across Britain, and its creator, billionaire Darrius Sayle.

Intended to be the first entry in a film franchise, Stormbreaker grossed between $20.7 and $23.9 million worldwide upon its theatrical release, failing to recoup its $40 million budget and making the film a box office bomb. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film was largely criticized for its lack of originality and believability. As a result of these factors, plans to produce further Alex Rider films were dropped. A rebooted TV series, Alex Rider, premiered on Amazon Prime Video in 2020.

Plot

Alex Rider is a 14-year-old schoolboy who lives with his uncle Ian and their housekeeper Jack Starbright. Ian is supposedly a bank manager and is, much to Alex's regret, often away from home. One day, Alex is told that his uncle has died in a car crash, but quickly discovers that his uncle was actually a spy working for MI6 and was murdered.

He is then recruited by his uncle's former employers, Alan Blunt and Mrs. Jones of the Special Operations Division of MI6, who explains to Alex that his uncle has been training him as a spy. Alex initially refuses to cooperate but agrees when they threaten to not renew the visa and deport Jack as a result of his visa having run out seven years ago. Alex is then sent to a military training camp in the Brecon Beacons, the home of the Special Air Service. At first, his fellow trainees look down on him because of his age, but he soon gains their respect for his capabilities.

He sets off on his first mission, aided by gadgets from Smithers. Billionaire Darrius Sayle is donating free high-powered computer systems code named Stormbreaker to every school in the United Kingdom. MI6 is suspicious of his seemingly generous plans and sends Alex undercover as a competition winner to investigate. There, he meets Sayle himself and his two accomplices, Mr. Grin and Nadia Vole, and is shown the Stormbreaker computer in action. Later, while Alex is having dinner with Sayle, the suspicious Vole steals Alex's phone and tracks the SIM card to his house in Chelsea. She goes there and finds Alex's true identity; while there, she is disturbed by and consequently fights Jack. Despite being outclassed, Jack wins with the help of a blowfish, leaving Nadia to flee the scene. That night, Alex sneaks out of his bedroom window to observe a midnight delivery of mysterious containers to Sayle's lair.

The next day, Alex finds himself in trouble when his cover is blown. After attempting to escape from the facility, he is captured, and Sayle explains his true reasons behind Stormbreaker – each system contains a modified strain of the smallpox virus which, upon activation in the Stormbreaker release, will kill all of the country's schoolchildren. Sayle leaves Alex tied up and departs for the London Science Museum. Nadia drops Alex into a water-tank to be killed by a giant Portuguese man o' war, but he escapes using the metal-disintegrating spot cream supplied by Smithers, Nadia is subdued when she is hit by the jellyfish, rupturing the tank in the process. Alex then hitches a ride on a Mil Mi-8 helicopter piloted by Mr. Grin, using a sodium pentothal arrow to gain Mr. Grin's obedience. Alex parachutes out of the helicopter and lands just as the Prime Minister is about to press the button which will activate the computers. Alex uses a rifle to shoot the podium, which destroys the button, and ruins Sayle's plan.

Furious, Sayle leaves to carry out his back-up plan, and Alex, with the help of school friend Sabina Pleasure pursues Sayle through the streets of London. Fifty floors up on one of Sayle's skyscrapers, Alex reaches him and unplugs his backup transmitter. Sayle chases him out onto the roof and pushes both Alex & Sabina off the roof, leaving them hanging by a dislodged cable. Unexpectedly, Yassen arrives in a helicopter and shoots Sayle (in the same manner he did Ian) before rescuing Alex. Yassen then tells Alex that Sayle had become an embarrassment to his employers, and that Alex should forget about him, but Alex refuses saying that the killing of his uncle Ian means they are still enemies.

Alex returns to school; he and Sabina are talking about what happened and he says that it will never happen again. The film ends with someone observing Alex from a distance. He notices it and realizes that it's not the end.

Cast

Cancelled sequels

Prior to or after Stormbreaker's theatrical release, Horowitz had written a screenplay based on Point Blanc, but stated that the chances of further films based on the Alex Rider novels were "fairly slim" due to the film's underperformance at the box office. The Weinstein Company eventually cancelled their plans for a sequel, and Horowitz later expressed that the novels "do not translate well to the big screen".

TV adaption

A rebooted television series beginning with the second novel Point Blanc was produced by Eleventh Hour Films and Sony Pictures Television. This series was released on Amazon Prime Video and TVNZ On Demand in early June 2020.

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