Monday, March 09, 2009

A Neon Demon on Wheels

Netflix brought us the Wachowski Brothers' Speed Racer movie this weekend. Despite the bad mouthing it took in the press, we both really enjoyed it. They capture the feel of the classic show perfectly. But you aren't going to get depth of plot here. Why would you expect that with a Speed Racer movie?

I could give you a brief plot overview, but it's Speed Racer. Speed drives fast cars through multiple exotic and completely made-up countries as he tries to win the Grand Prix. Every race is fixed against him, but Speed has his friends like Racer X and his family on his side. And an awesome bulletproof car with buzz saws.

What you're going to get is action oriented racing scenes turned up to eleven. Most of the tracks and rally scenes look like they're taken straight out of a racing video game. But it's an alternative future/present/whatever. Every car has the Mach 5's jump jacks and if you ain't bumping, you ain't racing. Actually most of the racing scenes are more like boxing or wrestling than bumping. Cars are frequently destroyed in candy-colored pixie-stick explosions with the pilots being thrown clear in their gumball safety gear. Or brightly colored parachutes if they fall into a deep icy crevasse. Good stuff.

There are decent bare-knuckle fight scenes. With ninjas! Or cigar-chomping mobsters! And a monkey! That's hitting all the bases right there.

There are the obligatory scenes where Spritle and Chim-Chim stow away in various places. Unlike on TV, they are generally useful. They're either exposition and foreshadowing or acting as an important diversion that actually helps the Racers out. Good. Nothing like having to be constantly saving your grubby little brother and his monkey for no good reason.

Anyway, great movie. About my only complaint is that some of the characters curse. Rent it and be a kid again. But still best not to think too much.

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