It’s not many movies with the alternate title of “Spy High” that doesn’t feature much spying. Of course, if you’re interested in a spy movie where the trio of heroes do nothing but sit at a computer typing over and over, then you’re going to love what “Task Force 2001” has in store for you. And just for your information, the trio of aspiring spies has a sidekick dog named Rocky that does most of the work. Because of Ethan Hunt really lacked a sidekick with fur and a tail. Of course! “Task Force 2001” has a great concept and some interesting ideas, but really none of the budget to commit to unfolding the intended action scenes.
So we’re reduced to watching what look like a glorified television pilot, and a lot of alleged action sequences that are mostly set in locales that are easy to film in and around. At one point our hero Andrew is training with his friends in a beach. This involves switching a bag back and forth trying to evade local authorities anxiously trying to grab it from them, as it contains crucial information. And during the climactic face off, we mostly watch our heroes going undercover in an office building and outrunning a lot of guards that are mysteriously unarmed despite being henchmen for a ruthless corporate executive. His plan is to make a video game that also happens to double as a program for a weapon of mass destruction—or something.
Either way, he holds hostage a really gorgeous game programmer who is trying to stall the production of the game and begs for the help of Andrew and his pair of friends that begin training beside him to become spies for a top secret organization. A lot of the movie seems to be set up for a potential TV series or series of movies, thus a lot of sub-plots are set up and never quite resolved. There’s a plot about a video game company producing weapons, there’s the emphasis on Andrew and programmer, and there’s a suggested romance between Andrew and his adorable best friend Catherine.
The latter of whom drops so many obvious romantic hints to Andrew, their dynamic is practically a modern take on Alice the Maid and clueless Sam the Butcher. Most of “Task Force 2001” is painfully boring when it’s not being silly. There’s often way too much emphasis on what tricks dog Rocky can do that he comes off much more competent than his master. The villain is also one of the least imposing movie villains of all time, spending most of his screen time scowling and growling at his victims, and doing little else. I’m glad that we never got a series of sequels or TV show, because even with the budget “Task Force 2001/Spy High” just doesn’t have anything remarkable to bring with it. The heroes are boring, the plot makes no sense, and I’m still not sure what respectable spy has a dog sidekick.