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Concocting a candy-coloured, whizzing world of lightning-fast competitive racing, The Wachowski Brothers have moved on...
Concocting a candy-coloured, whizzing world of lightning-fast competitive racing, The Wachowski Brothers have moved on from the sexually audacious world of Bound and the sci-fi trilogy of The Matrix (progressively less enthralling as the franchise wore on) to bring a modern version of the classic Japanese cartoon Speed Racer to the big screen.
Emile Hirsch (Into The Wild, Lords Of Dogtown) plays promising young petrol head Speed Racer. His mechanically minded family - Pops (John Goodman), Mom (Susan Sarandon), kid brother Spritle (Paulie Litt) and kooky chimp Chim Chim - all nurture his dreams of glory. Cool girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci) and sidekick Sparky (Kick Gurry) are also on Team Speed. Years earlier, Speed's elder brother Rex (Scott Porter) mysteriously disappeared after a tragic accident during a dangerous race, and Speed dreams of emulating his worshipped sibling's success. Devious racing corporate team owner Mr. Royalton (Roger Allam) dangles a tantalising contract promising glory at the price of a sell-out, but Speed turns him down, which fires up the nefarious Royalton, who then schemes to destroy the noble Speed.
Little kids will adore the opening sequence where young Speed daydreams about becoming a racer, just like his cool big brother, but might find the menacing bad guys a bit too threatening. Tween girls should swoon over Christina Ricci's capable heroine. Teen boys may get a kick out of Sarandon as a sweaty MILF wielding a welding torch with ease. But an overlong and downright boring story, with its plodding family scenes interspersed between the action sequences, makes Speed Racer a bit of a flooded engine. Barely resembling the original 'analogue' cartoon, the visual effects are an action-packed neon seizure. Try to score some Ritalin off a neighbourhood kid so you can keep up...