Film review: Race to Witch Mountain (PG)

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Directed by: Andy Fickman Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Annasophia Robb, Carla Gugino ***

THE pre-Star Wars Disney sci-fi adventure Escape to Witch Mountain gets a 21st-century reboot here, with beefed-up action, hyperactive editing and even a few shout-outs to George Lucas's blockbuster classic thrown into the mix. The latter come courtesy of a couple of Stormtrooper-costumed geeks attending a sci-fi convention, which seem to have been included here to give weary, age-appropriate guardians of Race to Witch Mountain's ADHD-afflicted target audience something to latch on to while wrestling with the wham-bam (and not always in a good way) pace propelling the extraterrestrial-kids-on-the-run plot. That plot finds Dwayne Johnson as a cab driver who becomes a reluctant, muscle-bound protector to a couple of otherworldly siblings on a mission to save their planet and ours from destruction. The global apocalypse storyline barely has time to register in between the kids (AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig) demonstrating their special effects-showcasing powers and Johnson doing what he does best: throwing bad guys through windows. As it happens, though, those things, along with Carla Gugino's presence as a bolted-on love interest for Johnson, sees this scrape by as diverting Easter holiday fare… but only just.

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