Monday, 27 July 2009

Film Review: SPEED RACER (2008)

Directors: Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski
Running time: 135 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 26th July 2009.


This was the first film the Wachowski brothers made after completing the Matrix trilogy. Based on a Japanese TV cartoon series, it has the look and feel of a comic book with the use of lots of primary colours and some really great special effects. I would have been disappointed with anything less from the Wachowski brothers.

All Speed Racer ever wanted to do was be a racing driver, just like his big brother Rex. While Speed is still quite young Rex gets involved with some bad people who want to fix races for their own ends. It ends badly for Rex when he is killed in a race. A few years later, a mysterious driver appears on the scene, Racer X, who goes all out to disrupt the plans of drivers corrupted by these evil doers. Speed grows up, fulfils his dream and becomes a racing driver, a very good racing driver. He drives a car designed and built by his father Pops Racer. The industrialist Royalton tries to sign Speed and his father’s team and when they refuse… let’s say this is where the fun starts.

As I said at the top, there are some great special effects in this film. It has the look and feel of a comic book and was reminiscent, to me, of Dick Tracy (1990). Good performances from all the cast, Emile Hirsch as Speed Racer, Susan Sarandon as Mom Racer, John Goodman as Pops Racer, Christina Ricci as Trixie (Speed’s girlfriend), Roger Allam as Royalton, Matthew Fox as Racer X and especially Paulie Litt as Speed’s little brother Spritle who’s comic antics with Chim Chim (the chimp) kept me very amused throughout. It was exciting and very entertaining; I guess the only thing that lets it down is its length. At 135 minutes I found the film far too long, especially for younger viewers. Apart from that, it’s not too bad.

My score: 7/10

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