Call To Action
Based on the popular book series by the same name, Alex Rider essentially rejuvenates the popular fictionalized character of the same name and produces a pretty good and enjoyable espionage thriller. With darker elements and more lighthearted teen drama, Alex Rider gets off to a pretty good start with its opening episode.
Episode 1 of Alex Rider begins with a man named Yassen driving into a car park and, with a briefcase in hand, setting to work assassinating the target above – which happens to be a man named Michael Roscoe. Controlling the elevator remotely, Michael falls down the empty shaft and plummets to his death.
We then cut forward and meet our main protagonist, blonde haired Alex Rider, who talks to his friend Tom about an upcoming party at school. Unfortunately, Tom has his phone confiscated prompting him to convince Alex to use his “particular set of skills” to break in and get it for him. Although he’s successful in his mission, Alex’s caught by the teacher and it prompts Uncle Ian to arrive and pick him up.
That evening at dinner, Alex gleefully shows a video of Parker pranking his Father but it gets Ian thinking, especially given Parker was taken away to a boot camp in France not long after and returned a very different boy. Midway through researching, their nanny Jack reveals that she’s passed her degree and now, she’s not going to be around to help anymore. When she leaves, Ian also leaves on “work business” but not before checking in with Alex and asking if the school Parker was sent to was Point Blanc. When he leaves, Alex heads to the party.
Ian meets his contact from Russia, who happens to be Yassen, with his work associate Martin. Unfortunately Martin double crosses him and holds a gun up to his friend’s head. After mentioning the “Varna File”, Yassen sighs and apologises, subsequently killing Ian and shooting Martin in the shoulder to make it look like an accident.
When Alex returns home, he learns the bad news about his Uncle and the police reveal he was involved in a head-on collision. Only, this is obviously a cover and as “members of the bank” arrive, Mrs Jones is given the task of speaking to Alex.
Visiting him at home, Alex asks Mrs Jones about Point Blanc but gets nowhere. Even worse, he also learns that no hospital in the area has records of Alex’s Uncle being brought in.When Tom arrives to offer his condolences, Alex has an idea and decides to use an app to trace the last known location for the phone – which happens to be the warehouse Ian was killed.
Alex heads down to the location with Tom and learns first-hand that powerful forces are covering this up. After recording an incriminating video, Alex races off after a black car that may hold answers.
Alex is eventually held up at gunpoint by a man named Crawley, someone who happens to be working with the British Special Forces. Obviously, Ian was not working for the bank and after some contemplation, the group inform Alex about the truth. After asking whether he’ll join them, Alex rejects the call to action and walks away.
In the morning, Immigration Services arrive to take Jack away while Child Protection also enter, forcing Alex to pick up the phone and agree to work with the Special Services. It turns out the officers inside the house were all part of a plan to get Alex involved. As he grabs his jacket, Alex heads out and gets in the car with Alan Blunt, which is where the episode ends.
With a nice, simple origin for Alex jumping into action and a clear contrast between the teen drama and darker crime thriller elements going on here, Alex Rider gets off to a pretty good start. The lighting is a bit of a problem though, especially during the underground warehouse section which makes it difficult to discern character faces. Having said that, the grimy and grittier look is something that certainly suits this espionage series.
Armed with an eclectic soundtrack and lots of promise going forward, Alex Rider gets off to a decent, albeit safe, start.
Published: 04 June 2020 at 11:23 am on