(2013, US, 117 min) Dir Roger Bertle. Cast Elle Fanning, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ed Harris, Sam Elliott.
“S.P.O.T.S. stands for Special Protection Organisation, Teenage Service,” says Sam Elliott’s General Macey, pacing before his new adolescent recruits, “And yes, we did do that on purpose. So what is it for, this organisation? Well let me tell you – if we were to send in a bus full of students into North Korea or Iran on a cross-cultural exchange then nobody would bat an eyelid, not really. If those students were to be highly trained assassins? Well then, that’d be an advantage, wouldn’t it? The perfect cover for the perfect killers.” Think Kick-Ass meets Mission: Impossible. Will Poulter’s troubled Danny is spirited away to the S.P.O.T.S. training camp following the death of his parents and finds himself being trained as the ‘Cleaner’ for his assassin’s cell that includes Fanning’s trained killer Mindy and Brodie-Sangster’s tech head Patch. Their mission, following the obligatory training montage, is to use a school trip to the fictional Eastern European country of Ezkhazia to kill its West-unfriendly premier who is played by Ed Harris and, despite all appearances and biographical similarities, is definitely not Vladimir Putin. No sir. Ex-ad man Bertle’s flashy, bubbly direction and the film’s appealing leads helps to ease the moral issues of the ensuing underage bloodbath even though the whole thing’s totally reprehensible.