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Sly Kids

Stallone will play villain in next ''Spy Kids.'' The third installment will be in 3-D

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Sylvester Stallone will face off against his smallest opponents yet in his next movie, and he's likely to get his ass kicked. Still, it'll probably be a hit for the actor, whose career is badly in need of one. It's the third installment in the ''Spy Kids'' franchise, in which, Variety reports, Stallone will play a villain called the Toymaker.

In "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over," Stallone's baddie traps young heroine Carmen (Alexa Vega) in a virtual-reality game, and the rest of her secret agent family -- brother Juni (Daryl Sabara), their parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino), and their grandfather (Ricardo Montalban) -- must come to the rescue. Director Robert Rodriguez, who shot the first two action spectacles on a budget and reaped a total of $196 million at the U.S. box office, only just started filming, but he expects to get the movie into theaters on July 25. ''I've always been a big fan of Sylvester Stallone,'' he tells Variety. ''His larger-than-life persona will be a great addition to the 'Spy Kids 3-D' universe.''

As the title indicates, the movie will be in 3-D, but it won't look cheesy, Rodriguez promises. ''The technology has advanced significantly, thanks to the advent of high-definition digital moviemaking,'' he said last week in a statement. The 3-D effects are an outgrowth of the virtual-reality plotline, he said. ''Once the characters go into the videogame, the audience puts on the glasses, and it's in 3-D,'' Rodriguez said. In the game's universe, ''anything is possible. In fact, Ricardo Montalban, at 82 years old,. gets to lava surf and ride an ultra-cool motorbike.'' That bike sounds like a must-have; does it come upholstered in fine Corinthian leather?

Originally posted Feb 11, 2003