The brothers Weinstein can claim till the cash cows come home that they still run an edgy little indie factory. But with ”Spy Kids,” the Miramax/ Dimension boys are lifting a page from parent company Disney’s playbook, spinning off a McDonald’s tie in from this $35 million James Bond for kids action flick. As for the movie itself, Banderas and ”Spin City”’s Gugino — a last minute replacement for Kelly Preston — play superspies who bail out of the espionage game to marry and start a family. But the couple’s plans for a quiet Cleaver clan existence are shot to hell when they’re kidnapped by a cartoonish villain (Cumming), and it’s up to their gadget toting kids (Daryl Sabara and Alexa Vega) to save them.
”This movie was born in ‘Four Rooms,”’ says Banderas, referring to the 1995 omnibus film in which he last teamed up with Rodriguez. ”After we finished shooting, Robert said to me, ‘We ought to do more with these guys.”’ Regarding his bullet riddled body of work, Rodriguez, the guerrilla auteur behind the $7,000 ”El Mariachi,” says, ”After ‘Desperado’ and ‘From Dusk Till Dawn,’ I’ll finally have a movie I can show my kids.” Make that two movies. Smelling a hit, Bob Weinstein has already greenlit the prestrike start of a sequel.