SPEED RACER: Just Kiddie Thrills & Spills
SPEED RACER (CGI actioner)
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? The story occurs in a futuristic comic-book city caught in a time-warp. Here we find young Speed Racer obsessed with auto racing even when he is in the middle of a class test. His brother, Rex (Scott Porter) is a race driver and his Pops (John Goodman) is a car-builder. Of course, Speed grows up to be hot-shot driver even though the family has lost Rex in a car crash. After winning spectacularly in a race, Speed, his girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci) and family are 'courted' by the flamboyant Royalton (Roger Allam) who wants Speed to sign up with his company.
The rest is predictable stuff, alternating between racing action and downright juvenile antics of the Racer family that includes a chimp as pet. Watch out for the chimp, though. He tends to steal the show.
The cast, Ricci, Hirsch and Susan Sarandon (as Speed's mom) are overwhelmed by the computer effects. Korean pop sensation Rain will probably stir up interest among Asian audiences as racer Taejo Togokahn, but even with his presence, the subplot, about Corporate Villains making a mess of the sport, gets dried up soon enough. Even Japanese thespian Hiroyuki Sanada is wasted here. His Mr Musha, another corporate monster, gets only cameo treatment.
THE LOWDOWN: Mainly for children who love the "Spy Kids" movies.