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When Inspector Gadget’s crime-fighting mechanism goes haywire and he arrests Riverton police chief Quimby’s mum for driving at 0.3mph over the speed limit, he is replaced by new, improved model G2 (Elaine Hendrix). Quimby (Mark Mitchell) immediately puts G2 on the case of Claw (Tony Martin) the evil wrong-doer who has escaped from custody and has created a time freeze laser beam which will be used in a bold bid to heist $50 trillion in gold bullion from the Federal Reserve. With the help of his niece, Penny (Caitlin Wachs), an eager amateur sleuth, Gadget (French Stewart) tries to save face but his glitches get in the way as much as his emotions do. He has taken a shine to the shapely G2 and is compelled to protect her from the paws of the Claw.

Review by Keith Lofthouse:
Recording just 20 percent of positive reviews on the Rotten Tomato website, the original 1999 production was a big splat with critics who condemned the dismal Disney comedy as “painfully unfunny, uninspired” and “confusing.” Despite the virtue of brevity it was “torture to sit through” and at only 77 minutes in length it’s fairly clear that a fair hunk of it was junked on the cutting-room floor. Incredibly, it earned just on $100 million at the U.S. box-office alone, which not only shows that kids are suckers for effects and gimmicks, but they didn’t much care that a timid Matthew Broderick was plainly miscast as the cybernetic crime-fighter who on command of “go-go gadget” can pull any mallet, mix-master or brolly from his hat to deal with the law-breaker at hand.

It was no surprise that Broderick declined to return for this direct to DVD and video sequel…even less surprising that Rupert Everett would reprise his evil Claw since the young fans of the original TV cartoon were furious that Disney deemed to put a face to Claw when he was always faceless before. Without a box-office name on the marquee, the fictional city of Riverton USA was moved to Brisbane, Australia where it utilised cheap local talent on both sides of the camera to spin out a superior sequel that is “cartoonier” than the original and much more fun, with oodles of stunning effects that belie the shrunken budget. Broderick’s replacement is French Stewart, the squinty-eyed, perpetually perplexed alien from TV’s Third Rock From The Sun, who is engagingly goofy and has perfected the same clipped delivery that Don Adams famously voiced in classic Get Smart and the 1980s Gadget cartoons.

In the Charles Durning mould, Mark Mitchell brings exuberance and energy to his role as the blustery police chief Quimby and, acting completely against type, Sigrid Thornton is deliciously catty as the preening, publicity hound (er...bitch) Mayor Wilson. From a live action point of view, it was a mistake to effectively clip the claws of the cat-stroking Claw, who - shot with his back to the camera, or hidden beneath a wide-brimmed hat in shadow or in shroud - seems about as menacing as a Mintie. It’s a thankless role for Tony Martin, whose face is only revealed in a bounteous “behind the scenes” package, which includes a swag of deleted scenes featuring the fresh-faced Wachs (pronounced Wacks) as the unfortunate victim of most cuts. Stewart, Hendrix and Zamm provide a lively audio commentary on the action and say nice things about the Australian cast and crew, although Mark Mitchell’s co-stars keep referring to him as “Marvin”or “Martin” despite the promptings of director Zamm.

Published December 26, 2003

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(US/ Australia, 2002)

CAST: French Stewart, Elaine Hendrix, Mark Mitchell


SCRIPT: Ron Anderson, William Robertson, Alex Zamm

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1.85: 1. Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound

SPECIAL FEATURES: Set Top Games (Illustrated Gadget, Gadget Simulator), The Gadgets Behind Gadget’s Gadgets featurette, Bloopers and outtakes, deleted scenes, audio commentary (Stewart, Hendrix, Zamm), Music soundtrack, Music Video


DVD RELEASE: September 17, 2003

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