Looney Tunes: Back in Action – Stuntman, DJ Drake, has dreams of becoming an action star just like his father but his clumsiness is his undoing. Accidentally getting caught up with Daffy Duck being fired, Bugs Bunny and studio exec Kate desperately trying to get him back, and an exciting spy mission, D.J. finds himself pursued by the evil ACME Corporation. Can he discover the truths of the ‘Blue Monkey’ diamond before ACME head, Mr Chairman, can unleash its mysterious power on humanity?
Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) – Director: Joe Dante
Running Length: 91 mins
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Steve Martin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Comedy
‘LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION’ REVIEW
Following in the footsteps of live-action/animated movies like ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit!’ and ‘Space Jam’, ‘Looney Tunes: Back In Action’ follows the exploits of fan favourites, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck along with stuntman, D.J (Brendan Fraser), and studio exec, Kate (Jenna Elfman), as they accidentally get involved in a dangerous, James Bond-esque spy mission along with the evil ACME corporation, headed by child-like supervillain Mr Chairman (Steve Martin).
With plenty of classic Looney Tunes characters dotted throughout (although not quite enough screen time is given to any other than Bugs and Daffy), an exciting plot and good comedy throughout, this is a movie that should be better than it actually is. Unfortunately there isn’t enough laugh-out-loud humour and overall the movie is a little forgettable. With well-loved characters, a great cast and fun cameos it is a real shame that it couldn’t quite live up to the warm, nostalgic pathos of its origins. Perhaps its desperation to be a jet-setting spy homage was its undoing due to a rather confused and disjointed meandering between set-pieces and inability to stay in one place for long enough for the audience to get a handle on what is happening.
However, ‘Looney Tunes: Back In Action’ is generally enjoyable and, even if kids aren’t as familiar with the characters as their parents, they are bound to enjoy the silliness, slapstick and overall irreverent humour that Looney Tunes has always been loved for.
IS ‘LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
There are several scenes throughout that have typical Looney Tunes style violence. For instance hunter, Elmer Fudd, repeatedly shoots Daffy Duck in the face. He doesn’t suffer, there is no blood or gore but he does suffer injuries such as his beak being blown out of the back of his head, and his beak melting off his face. Whenever this happens, he is simply annoyed rather than upset or harmed.
Sylvester the Cat attempts to catch Tweety Pie while Granny cuts a hedge with shears; she chops the tip of Sylvester’s tail off, causing him to yowl loudly in pain. Granny doesn’t react to this at all and as this is more slapstick than anything, it is unlikely to upset kids too much.
A woman wears a tight, sexy cowboy outfit and does a song and dance routine, Daffy Duck ogles her and his eyes pop out of his head. Later, some women are briefly seen getting changed and wear revealing clothes, a character stops running to wolf whistle at them, however nothing at all graphic is seen.
A character holds a magical card with a small window inside it up to the Mona Lisa painting, as they look through it, they are given x-ray vision and they see the Mona Lisa wearing a plain, white bra for around two seconds.
A very droll man expresses concerns over the introduction to the Tazmanian Devil as a weapon due to him being ‘really stupid’. Taz takes an exception to this, begins his trademark ‘spin’ and disappears off-screen. A couple of seconds later, a skeleton sits in the man’s chair (implying that Taz has ripped the flesh from his bones). The man speaks and the jaw of the skeleton moves so what began as almost unnecessarily graphic turns into a surreal but fun comedic moment. The skeleton then collapses onto the desk.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT – IS ‘LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION’ FOR KIDS?
Although ‘Looney Tunes: Back In Action’ is a little forgettable and confusing, it is chockfull of fun, entertainment and snort laughs ensuring that kids are bound to enjoy it and parents won’t be disappointed with their favourite characters. Due to a lot of slapstick violence that younger children may not understand as comedic, we feel this movie is most appropriate for kids aged six and over.
- Violence: 1/5 (mostly slapstick in nature, very little actual suffering is shown and any that does occur is short-lived. Some scenes where torture is threatened or implied however the victim is always holds their composure and little suffering or long-term damage is seen)
- Emotional Distress: 0/5
- Fear Factor: 0/5
- Sexual Content: 1/5
- Bad Language: 0/5
- Dialogue: 1/5 (an ‘evil’ character talks about nine-year olds working in sweatshops and then says that ‘three-year olds are cheaper’)
- Other Notes: Deals with themes of espionage, helping others when there is no personal benefit, secret identities, reluctant friendships, ambition and seeing a task through to its completion.
Words by Laura Record