|Andy Wachowski Director||previously directed The Matrix Revolutions|
|Lana Wachowski Director||previously directed The Matrix Revolutions|
Based on the 60's cartoon, the idiotically-named Speed Racer is a boy with ambitions to become the world's best racecar driver. Speed lives in the shadow of his older brother Rex, who died while racing, and must prove to his family that he won't succumb to the same fate.
Alfonso Cuaron was attached once attached to direct, and have Johnny Depp as Speed.6 More Trivia
We told you to take him out!
7 More Quotes
We tried but he's just too fast!
|Emile Hirsch||Speed Racer|
|John Goodman||Pops Racer|
|Susan Sarandon||Mom Racer|
|Matthew Fox||Racer X|
|Melissa Holroyd||Speeds Teacher|
|Nicholas Elia||Speed Racer|
|See Full Credits|
Speed Racer attempts to take the simple story of the TV show (young boy races awesome car) and make it into a more serious story, detailing a world where racing is everything, even affecting the economy of the world. Racing, being such a powerful event in the world, is thus heavily regulated by a secret group who determine which winner would be best for the world economy based on the sponsors they have.
Scaling back from this, though, Speed Racer tells the story of, well, Speed Racer, a teenage boy who knows how to do one thing with his life: race cars (that last name’s very convenient). Speed was very close to his brother, Rex, who was the one to first introduce racing into Speed’s life, and this idolization of Rex (and inability to sit still and concentrate on his schoolwork) leads Speed to follow in his footsteps, even after a tragic accident occurred and killed Rex.
And Speed races well. Very well. Of course, this isn’t a pansy Nascar league-this is the future of racing. Elevated tracks, loops, hard turns, sharp dives and weaponized autos are the way things work, and even the worst driver has to be able to marry these hazards into an opportunity for success. Speed seems to talk with his car, the Mach 5, and we catch him at the beginning of the movie chasing Rex’s ghost in a nearly record-breaking race.
It was actually Rex who taught Speed most of what he knows about racing. He would sneak Speed to the racetracks and do practice runs with them, teaching Speed to listen to the car, feel the tracks and everything, starting when Speed was a young boy (as a result, Speed can only focus on one thing-racing! If it weren’t for his girlfriend Trixie, he’d have never graduated high school).
The race is interrupted by flashbacks, showing a few key events from Speed and the Racer family’s past, including Speed meeting Trixie (she punched another girl who made fun of Speed), and most importantly, Rex leaving. He asks that, no matter what Speed hears, he never believe the rumors, and Pops tells Rex that if he leaves, he’ll never be allowed back. The flashback continues to show Rex turning into the most brutal of racers, taking out other racers indiscriminately, apparently working for the criminal underworld. The film returns to the present after showing Rex’s death in a race, and the devastation it brought the family.
In the end, he chooses to slow a bit, tears streaming down his face while Rex’s record holds, but his accomplishments aren’t missed. Speculation flies about whether Speed will wind up like Rex, but mostly, the sponsors are tuning in. The very next day, breakfast is interrupted by the head of Royalton Industries, full to the brim with brownnosing and bribing to attempt to have his company signed as a sponsor for Speed.
After a trip through the city, the family arrives at Royalton for the grand tour. The manufacturing of the cars, the training of the racers (including extreme physics and extreme weather conditions), and the awe-inspiring Inner-Positive Transponder motor (trade secret). Royalton even introduces them to future hall-of-famer Jack “Cannonball” Taylor (remember the name), who insists that if Speed wishes to win, he’s in the right place. The tour ends, and Speed decides to take some time to think things over.
The film cuts to a bunch of shady mob-types beating up an unnamed Asian man, then threatening to feed him to a tank of piranha for a betrayal he dealt them. The room, which was apparently a trailer on a car designed to look like a living room, suddenly is filled with the sounds of an alarm, and everyone panics, asking “is it him”? The “him” turns out to be Racer X, a mysterious, masked racer who battles against the underground and unsporting conduct rampant in the race world. After shooting the truck up pretty badly, the mobsters chuck the Asian man (later revealed as Taejo Togokahn), out the back, and Racer X stops and picks him up. X offers to help the man take down the drug cartel by bringing them to justice, and he refuses. X kicks him out, hands him a card, and drives away.
Royalton is then shown, talking to another man, planning to buy out another company so he can create a monopoly on Transponders. It then cuts to the next day, with Speed visiting Royalton once more. He gives an anecdote about how after Rex died, the family lost their will to race, until one night when neither could sleep and watched a classic Grand Prix race on TV. Ben Burns won, he said, and from then they realized that racing is in their blood. He then says no to Royalton, who begins to laugh.
Royalton then gives Speed a lesson on how Racing really works. The WRL (World Racing League) was created by 5 men, and goes on to say that one of them, driving an Iodyne racer, crashed out. Iodyne stock lost and Sirrus, the winning company, saw a giant leap in stocks. A deal was penned, and now Iodyne makes all the power cells that almost everything makes-because Burns was meant to win in his Sirrus racer. The founders of the WRL met to discuss the finish order Grand Prix, as they had for years before, and as a group still does this day. The true heart of racing, he says, doesn’t lie in any of the bull Speed talked about, but in the cold might of money.
Royalton then threatens him, saying that the next race Speed goes to in Fuji, he won’t win. He won’t even place as he tries to prove everything he’s just heard isn’t true. Sure enough, Speed loses, but only because they use a Spearhook against him-an illegal weapon for the races. Soon after, Royalton says that litigation will be leveled against the Racer family, which will, in the end, bankrupt them when they lose their clients.
As Speed sits, defeated after the Fuji race, Ben Burns himself walks in and compliments Speed’s driving. Speed asks about the Grand Prix and whether it was fixed or not, and Burns essentially confirms it, further knocking down Speed’s opinion of what racing actually is. He begins to believe that Royalton is right, that racing is all about money, but his mom talks to him and convinces him otherwise. Racing isn’t just the money, she says. Speed creates art, fills them with pride, and races for the love of it. They’ll figure it out, she says, and then the doorbell rings.
Inspector Detector and Racer X who arrive and try to enlist Speed to stop the corporate crime that occurs in the WRL. If they help Taejo Togohahn in an off-road race, the off-road race that Rex died in, then they can connect a dangerous race fixer with Royalton and get them both in jail for the rest of their lives. Understandably, Pops says no, so Trixie and Speed decide to sneak off to Casa Christo (the race). This discussion finally helps Speed figure out what Rex was trying to do-he knew the league was dirty, and he was trying to change it. He rubbed the wrong people the wrong way, and so they had him killed.
The Casa Christo race is brutal and filled with as much cheating as there are racers, especially with everyone being paid to take out the wild cards, being the team of Racer X, Speed and Togokahn, so that the Snake Oiler team can win, as planned. After the race, Speed confesses that him and X seemed to make a great team, like they’d done it before, and that X may really be Rex. No one believes him, but he still feels it true.
Things are going well until Spritle (Speed’s younger brother) puts the race on and Pops sees it. So the Racer family flies out to confront him.
Pops chews Speed out and tells him that he won’t change the world by driving a car, but Speed says it’s all he knows how to do, so he’ll try as much as he can. The Racers decide to stay because Speed is staying and even go to fix up the Mach 5 (extra defensive modifications caused it to handle differently).
Being sore losers, Royalton gets a troupe of ninjas to break in and poison Speed’s team. They get Togokahn, but X was waiting and beats his up single-handedly and with a well-toned chest. Speed wakes up and fights his when Spritle accidentally wakes up and notices the ninja. Then Pops, the ex-Greco Roman wrestler, puts him in his place (out of a window).
The poison was revealed to be a sedative of sorts, weakening the muscles, making Togokahn unable to
race for a long time. Trixie comes up with an idea, though. They disguise Togokahn as his sister, put his sister in Trixie’s helicopter, and has Trixie fill in as the third racer. The plan is to switch back with Togokahn at a rendezvous in the mountains, where there are no cameras.
The change is made after a fight with the gang who fixes the races, and the team proceeds on through the cave Rex crashed in, planning on taking the lead and winning. Speed gets pushed off a cliff, but uses his driving, comes back in first. Snake Oiler begins shooting at him with a gun he had for some reason, so Speed pushes him off a cliff. With essentially the entire fleet of other racers knocked out, all the team has to do is survive and it’s over.
And after they do, the true meaning behind the race is revealed. Togokahn is selling his company, and Royalton wants in. The race was used to bring up the low stock market rating up so that their shares were worth more. The file, if it even existed, never exchanged hands.
After a bout of angry driving, in which Speed knocks Racer X’s car out, Speed confronts the mysterious racer and asks if he’s Rex. X pulls his mask down and reveals…he’s not Rex. X talks to Speed about what racing really means, and Speed begins to pack his bags, moving exactly like Rex did when he was leaving the house for the last time.
Pops doesn’t make the same mistake he did, and sits Speed down to talk to him and apologize for his behaviour. Pops talks about how much he loves his sons and tells Speed that he can return whenever he wants. The Grand Prix is mentioned again, and Speed mentions that the race was fixed. Pops laughs it off and the doorbell rings.
It’s Togokahn’s sister, and she has a present for speed- Togokahn’s invitation to the Grand Prix for this year. The family then gets their asses in gear and builds Speed a new race car-something that can compete with the fancy, machine-built beauties of Royalton Industries. Yes, the whole family, including child endangerment and animal labor. Royalton is shown teaming up with another company and making the ultimate Transponder car and has brought in Cannonball Taylor to win the race.
Speed’s arrival causes quite a stir as he arrives in the Mach 6. He’s a wildcard, something that isn’t supposed to be there and changes the equation completely. Royalton is losing it, and offers a million dollars to whoever takes out Speed, and all racers have their sights trained on him-indeed, the entire stadium does.
Speed’s racing has never been more powerful, more graceful. From dead last, he nears the leaders in record time. The path twists, turns, drops and even has portions covered in spikes. Effortlessly, though he catches up with Taylor, who uses the ultimate in cheating- another Spearhook, and the two of them are caught in spiral. Speed thinks fast, uses his jumps and shows a camera Taylor’s Spearhook, before crashing him out…until the Mach 6 burns out for the crash. X says to listen to the car from his viewing box, and Speed sits still, closes his eyes, and listens to the car. He shoves it into gear, ignites the engine, and explodes down the track, eating the competition back up from where he lost it. Victory is never in doubt.
Speed climbs out of the car in Victory Lane, cameras going off everywhere, the audience and announcers going wild. Royalton, realizing what this means, because to freak out and break stuff as Speed cracks open a nice cold bottle of victory milk.
Speed Racer was not well received critically. A lot of the panning for the film came from the outrageous visuals, with people going on to say things like "the Watchowskis have created interesting technology here. Hopefully, someone will one day make a movie with it." Topping off the complaints over the visuals was the fact that, for a purported children's movie, it's very long, over 2 hours, and filled with over-serious and confusing dialogue about economy and business. In response, Speed Racer flopped at the box office. After a short run, it was pulled from theaters, and on DVD very quickly dropped from full price at many stores.
Defending Your Movie: Speed Racer
Go, Matt Rorie, defend Speed Racer, go!
|review||Suprisingly fun crazy-ass movie (3 out of 5)||FoxMulder|
|forum||Defending Your Movie: Speed Racer||JoeyF|
|review||Under appreciated, Spectacle-filled Racing Action (5 out of 5)||Romination|
|review||Forget About Speed, The Visuals Blew Me Away! (3 out of 5)||Flap_jackson|