Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 2008
Directed by
Andy Wachowski / Larry Wachowski
135 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Andrew Lee
4 stars

Speed Racer

Synopsis: Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) has always loved cars. When he wins a prestigious race, he is drawn into the world of high stakes racing, and the corporate politics and corruption behind it. Unable to do anything else, he fights it the only way he knows how, on the track.

Speed Racer, the 1990s cartoon series, never took off in Australia. We got Star Blazers and Astro Boy. But it was big in the US for a time, and nostalgia can sometimes be a wonderful thing. Especially when a talented group of people come together to transform a poorly animated television series into one of the most entertaining and thrilling films of the year.

Being a live action version of a Japanese animated series, reality doesn’t factor much in the equation. Instead, we get a lush colour palette, cheesy dialogue uttered by flawlessly noble heroes and snarling bad guys, a complete lack of irony and no respect for the laws of physics. Its combination of guilelessness and bravura is incredibly charming. The film is breathlessly edited together, telling the entire history of the Racer clan in the midst of car races, family conversations and corporate conspiracies and counter-plots. The flashbacks are seamlessly edited into the fabric of the story, each reveal adding layers to characters, their motivations and their emotional life. It’s not often that you get a blockbuster film that’s willing to tell a story rather than just string together action sequences and break it up with a bit of exposition. However, Speed Racer is both a thrilling experience and an amazingly well composed ode to family, loyalty and the value of both when they are placed under threat.

But for all that, it’s the car races that are the great thrill of the film. Some have described it as Car Fu, as the cars flip, roll, smash into each other and generally defy physics repeatedly as they jockey for position spinning wildly around racetracks that look like the result of playing with too many slotcar sets as a kid. It doesn’t matter in the least, the film operates in its own reality and it’s a rush to experience. The races are amazing, full of fun and stunts and with never a dull moment. And that’s the great thing about the film, Speed Racer is never boring, never lulls, it just keeps on accelerating until it hits the finish line. A pop confection, full of vibrant colours and speeding cars, this film is unbelievably good, flat chat fun.




Want more about this film?

search youtube  search wikipedia  

Want something different?

random vintage best worst