An over-the-top, sensory overload experience determined to replicate its frantic, television-anime origins,Speed Racer
is wild enough to induce a headache or wow a viewer with one dazzling effect after another. Adapted for the big screen as a live-action feature,Speed Racer
is written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, the sibling team behind the intensely satisfyingThe Matrix
and its busier, less interesting sequels. Where the rich mythmaking ofThe Matrix
was entirely accessible, however,Speed Racer
's overwhelming and gratuitously complicated story exposition is an enormous challenge to follow, let alone embrace. After a while, one simply surrenders to the unbroken din of dialogue concerning corporate chicanery, corruption in the sport of racing, and a value conflict between racing as a family business versus multinational cash cow. At the same time, the film's hyper-real equivalent of the oldSpeed Racer
cartoon's great whoosh of color, motion, and edgy production design--such as inventive uses of scene-changing wipes, bold framing, shifting perspectives--are more overbearing than fun.
Emile Hirsch plays Speed Racer, younger brother of a deceased racing legend, Rex, and son of car designer Pops (John Goodman). The latter invented Speed's Mach 5, and is singularly unimpressed by an offer from a giant conglomerate that would lock Speed into exclusive racing services. Speed opts instead for family loyalty, incurring the wrath of the conglomerate's ...