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Speed Racer Review

This movie, from the Wachowski Brothers, is perhaps the ultimate live action cartoon. I haven’t seen the early anime on which it is based but I don’t think you need to.

This is beautiful to look at, filmed almost entirely with vivid, primary coloured computer graphics, the only non-cgi elements are the actors themselves. The races are hyperactive, non-stop action with acrobatic cars fitted with cool gadgets. Seriously, this movie carries a style all of its own – well done messrs Wachowski!

It stars Emile Hirsch, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox and Christina Ricci. All the actors do a great job considering their stereotypical characters and really get into the spirit of the film. The bad drivers appropriately snarl and sneer, the evil crime boss and industry mogul are joyfully overacted, and even John Goodman’s fight scenes are great to watch 🙂

Surprisingly, the plot is decent, even though there’s never really any doubt how things will pan out. And there are the odd touching moments such as the dad to son talk, and the background of the “myserious” Racer X. Bet you could see his “secret” coming from a mile off!

This was panned by the critics, and didn’t do too well at the box office. It will probably do better on DVD. Personally, I think the film delivers what is meant to. Some feel the running time at over 2hrs is too long, but it felt just right to me. It never felt boring and never let off it’s rapid pace.

Don’t get me wrong: this is not going to leave a lasting impression with the viewer and won’t win any awards (apart from special effects and videography) – but it’s an enjoyable two hours and you’ll really get caught up in the proceedings. This is a kids film but really anyone will like it.

Nice to see Ben Miles popping up as a commentator in the last race – I remember him well from the excellent “Coupling” TV series.

8.5 / 10
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes