There he goes, there goes Speed Valkor. Ok, so that's not how the song goes but that doesn't matter because it's all in fun. And that's what the Wachowski's new film, based on the hit anime and Manga series "Speed Racer" is all about. It's sugar-coated crack kind of fun that simply blows your fucking mind!
"Speed Racer," tells the tale of Speed (yes that's his name), a kid who grows up encompassed by everything that's racing. He follows his brother Rex Racer in the circuits, until his untimely demise. So Speed takes the reigns, winning a race and nearly beating his brother's record. His win attracts the attention of Royalton, CEO of the Royalton corporation. Royalton is bent on getting his way no matter what it takes. He wines and dines Speed and family, but Speed isn't biting, which really pisses Royalton off, and he doesn't take no for an answer none to easy. Royalton sabotages the next race, leaving Speed and his family to face some harsh times. But enter Racer X; he and his company "Inspector Detector" devise a plan that will bring Royalton's evil ways to light. And it all revolves around the "Casa Cristo Classic" race, which was the same race that killed Speed's brother. But the story delves even deeper than that as an, even more, sinister plot is afoot. Can Speed win the big race and take down the big corporation? Of course, he can! This isn't spoiler material, it's Speed Racer! You know how the movie is going to end, so the question is: Is Speed Racer worth sitting through?
The answer to the above question is a resounding YES! "Speed Racer" is everything a fan of the show could possibly dream of and more. The real life rendition of the Mach 5 is here, Speed's outfit (with a subtle ascot) is here, Chim Chim and Spritle hiding in the back of Speed's car is here and Trixie flying high in the sky and also having Speed's back is here. It's all here!! And as a fan of the show (though not the biggest) I commend the Wachowskis for remaining true to the source. The film, visually speaking, is beautiful beyond words; what the Wachowskis have done is create a world so damn gorgeous that you will literally want to take it home with you, dream about it, masturbate to it, and even swim in it. I'm talking immersive and beautiful, with colors so big and bright, it damn near gives you cavities it looks so sweet - even when things are at their most miserable. Think "Dick Tracy" but turn it up 20 times over. It looks that good. The racing (because it's all about speed) is tops and you'll definitely be in for the ride of your life. The screen flips, turns, twists, and spins in so many ways it'll take your breath away. Yes it was all green screen and yes it was CGI, but you know what? I don't really care! I love the feeling of ripping through a straightway, screaming through turns, the sound of the cars crunching, explosions, and oh god!! I gotta see this movie again!!! The acting deserves big ups because the original series had some straight up cheesy performances. The main players kind of bring the cheese down a notch, but its still cheesy, yet in a cheddary, good way. Emile Hirsch, as our main man Speed Racer, turns out a fine performance, so does Christina Ricci as Trixie, though I'm not too fond of her saying "Cool Beans", it doesn't come out with enough UMPH! John Goodman, as Pops, stands out as the best performer in the entire movie. The film may be about Speed Racer, but John Goodman, you are a god! Big props also go out to Roger Allam aka Royalton, who really hams it up as the bad guy. I mean this guy really hams it up, but you'll love every second he's on screen. Finally, in the acting department, we gotta give props to Paulie Litt as Spritle who not only churns out a fine performance but also works well with the monkies who played Chim Chim. Lastly, I cannot forget the end song which is a really nice blend of US, Japanese hip hop with some reggaeton (???) tossed in that totally completes the film.
The pacing could use a bit of work as some scenes seem to drag longer than they should. Also, I don't remember too much about the TV series, but I feel we didn't need to know Racer X's true identity. It just totally sucked me right out the film.
I know I'm a bit behind on this review, but it's not too late to catch "Speed Racer" in theaters while it's still hot. Sure "Iron Man" and Narnia are reigning supreme, but what do you do after that? Go see Speed!! And if you've already seen it then go see it again. It's the most fun you'll have within the theaters. It's visually stunning, with great acting, and lots of action that will kick your teeth in. I'm gonna give Speed Racer 5 stars, even with my minor objections, because it kicks that much ass!