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Inspector Gadget Review

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When security guard John Brown (Broderick) is badly wounded while saving the life of a scientist's father, she reconstructs him, packing his body full of gadgets. Before long, he's recruited into saving the world from the evil plans of Dr Claw (Everett).

★★★★★

Back in the mid '80s, Children's ITV meant Inspector Gadget. Backed with the catchiest theme tune, a built in catchphrase ('Go, Go Gadget...') and a broad gaudy style, this Gallic tea-time pleaser made a hero of an inept, trenchcoated baddie-buster - half Clouseau, half Swiss army knife - who sought justice through a self-contained gizmo for every occasion. Always on the lookout for such a surefire premise, Disney has writ Gadget real, the effect emerging as scattershot but fun.

After an opening five minutes of barnstorming slapstick, the film sets up its premise well as security guard John Brown (Broderick in genial 'gee-whizz' mode) is turned into Gadget by scientist Brenda Bradford (Fisher) after he is severely wounded attempting to save her father's life. Yet, once Gadget is operational, the script is artless in exploiting the man-machine's capabilities - Rupert Everett curiously underplays his nemesis, the nefarious Claw, who (surprisingly) wants to take over the world - throwing in an evil Gadget doppelganger (providing the film's best moments), an unfunny talking Gadgetmobile (providing the film's worst) an undercooked love story and some broad mugging that makes The Three Stooges look nuanced.

However, there's a likeable feel to the whole endeavour. Director Kellogg, originally a commercials whizz, throws everything in with gusto and occasionally conjures up great visuals that capture the show's look. Yet, he has little feel for how to mix the concoction: material squarely aimed at kids vies with injokery - everything from Last Of The Mohicans and Godzilla to the cartoon show's origins is plundered - in a slipshod fashion that never really gels.

Something more engaging would not have gone amiss.

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