Speed Racer

2008

Speed Racer

Critics Consensus

The Wachowski Brothers have overloaded Speed Racer with headache-inducing special effects, and neglected to develop a coherent storyline.

40%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 213

60%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 401,311
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Movie Info

The Matrix masterminds Andy and Larry Wachowski usher anime icon Tatsuo Yoshida's classic 1960s-era hit into the new millennium with this family-friendly story of a young racecar driver who takes on the mysterious Racer X in a custom-made, gadget-loaded speed machine named the Mach 5. Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is the kind of driver that every wheelman wishes he could be: a born winner whose unbeatable combination of aggression, instinct, and fearlessness always finds him crossing the checkered flag with a comfortable lead. In Speed Racer's mind, the only driver who could present him with any real challenge is his late brother -- the legendary Rex Racer. Rex died in a heated cross-country rally known as The Crucible many years ago, and now his younger sibling is driven to fulfill the legacy that Rex left behind. To this day, Speed Racer is fiercely loyal to family. It was Speed Racer's father, Pops Racer (John Goodman), who designed the unbeatable Mach 5, and even a lucrative offer from racing giants Royalton Industries isn't enough to get the young ace to break his family ties. Upon turning down Royalton's (Roger Allam) astronomical offer, Speed Racer makes the shocking discovery that the outcomes of the biggest races are being predetermined by a handful of powerful moguls who pad their profits by manipulating the drivers. Realizing that his career would be ruined if word of the fix gets out, Royalton vows that the Mach 5 will never make it to another finish line. Now, the only way for Speed Racer to save the family business and beat Royalton at his own game will be to win the very same race that claimed his brother's life so many years ago. In order to accomplish that formidable feat, however, Speed Racer will not only have to rely on his family and the aid of his longtime girlfriend, Trixie (Christina Ricci), but form a tenuous alliance with his longtime rival -- the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox)--as well.

Cast

Matthew Fox
as Racer X
Rain
as Taejo Togokhan
Paulie Litt
as Spritle
Benno Fürmann
as Inspector Detector
Kick Gurry
as Sparky
Roger Allam
as Royalton
Nicholas Elia
as Young Speed
Moritz Bleibtreu
as Grey Ghost
Melissa Holroyd
as Speed's Teacher
Ariel Winter
as Young Trixie
Nan Yu
as Horuko
Gian Ganziano
as Everyman Announcer
Peter Jay Fernandez
as Local Announcer
Harvey Friedman
as Harold Lederman Announcer
Sadao Ueda
as Japanese Announcer
Willy
as Chim Chim
Valery Tscheplanowa
as Russian Announcer
Kenzie Lovelay
as Chim Chim
Sami Loris
as Italian Announcer
Olivier Marlo
as French Announcer
Sean McDonagh
as Celtic Announcer
Christian Oliver
as Snake Oiler
Vinzenz Kiefer
as Crew Chief/Sempre Fi-Ber Driver
Mark Zak
as Blackjack Benelli
Julia Joyce
as Blonde Pack Leader
Clayton Nemrow
as Race Announcer
Ricky Watson
as Race Commentator
L. Trey Wilson
as Press Man
Lauren Blake
as Flight Attendant
Ralph Herforth
as Cannonball Taylor
Waldemar Kobus
as Vinny--Cruncher Thug
John Benfield
as Cruncher Block
Max Hopp
as Cruncher Thug
Julie T. Wallace
as Truck Driver
Matthias Redhammer
as Marvin the Cleaning Man
Hiroyuki Sanada
as Mr. Musha
Matthias Redlhammer
as Marvin the Cleaning Man
Ecki Hoffman
as Joel Goldman
Stephen Marcus
as Security Goon
Art LaFleur
as Fuji Announcer
Peter Navy Tuiasosopo
as Fuji Announcer
Paul Sirr
as Dour Face
Ramon Tikaram
as Casa Christo Announcer
Melvil Poupaud
as Johnny "Goodboy" Jones
Kady Taylor
as Queen of Casa Christo
Junior Sone Enang
as Shark Driver
Dari Maximova
as Flying Fox
Werner Daehn
as Sempre Fi-Ber Leader
Komi Togbonou
as Thor-azine Leader
Leila Rozario
as Hydro-cell Driver
Steven Wilson
as C.I.B. Security Man
Karl Yune
as Taejo Body Guard
Togo Igawa
as Mr. Togokahn
Jonathan Kinsler
as Fuji Reporter
Anatole Taubman
as Fuji Reporter
Ben Miles
as Cass Jones
Frank Witter
as Security Official
Megan Gay
as Senior Race Official
Corinne Orr
as Grand Prix Female Announcer
Joe Mazza
as Nitro
Joon Park
as Yakuza Driver
Milka Duno
as Gearbox
Amira Osman
as Count Down Tower Woman
Ashley Walters
as Prince Kabala
Jens Neuhaus
as German Announcer
Sesede Terziyan
as Turkish Announcer
Ill-Young Kim
as Korean Announcer
Yuriri Naka
as Japanese Announcer
Oscar Ortega Sánchez
as Spanish Announcer
Yu Fang
as Chinese Announcer
Narges Rashidi
as Persian Announcer
Andrés Cantor
as Grand Prix Announcer
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Critic Reviews for Speed Racer

All Critics (213) | Top Critics (50) | Fresh (86) | Rotten (127)

  • Amid the overly earnest tone, (almost) squeaky-clean humor and familiar messages about teamwork and integrity is the rare film family that's as strong at the start as they are by the end.

    May 29, 2013 | Full Review…

    William Goss

    Film.com
    Top Critic
  • You have to be 12 to like it, and I have to say there is little or nothing here to remind us why we were all quite so excited about The Matrix.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Twelve-year-old boys should be wowed, but for the rest of us, it will depend on your appetite for eye candy.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Full Review…

    Tom Charity

    CNN.com
    Top Critic
  • Even the target audience of 10-year-olds might get jimmy legs sitting for a punishing 135 minutes as the Wachowski brothers projectile-vomit their cotton-candy dreams all over the big screen.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: 2/4
  • Given that Speed Racer itself is basically an elaborate commercial, the anti-corporate message inevitably rings hollow.

    Jun 12, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • I love the look and the style and the spirit of this film.

    May 12, 2008

Audience Reviews for Speed Racer

  • Oct 08, 2015
    Speed Racer is a movie for kids with plot elements for adults. Being of a younger generation, I did not find the movie to be sensory overload like some other viewers but can definitely see that as a legit point. Actually, I had mixed feelings on the visuals. Initially I found them cheap and fake but later found them to fit the theme and spirit of the movie. Overall, while not a great movie, Speed Racer has good sentiment and fun moments throughout and as a family movie I find it impossible to rate down.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 01, 2014
    The Wachowski Brothers bring the cult anime series Speed Racer to the big screen as a garish, visually captivating spectacle. The story follows a race car driver named Speed who fights to step out of his older brother's shadow and win the world championship without compromising the integrity of his family's motor company. Starring Emile Hirsch, John Goodman, Christina Ricci, and Matthew Fox, the cast is quite strong and delivers some good performances. However, as fascinating as the visual aesthetic is, the special effects are overdone and make the surrealist backgrounds seem incredibly fake and distracting. Additionally, the tone of the film is disjointed; mixing juvenile comedy with intense action and melodrama. While it has some impressive visuals and some high-energy races, Speed Racer is a crazy mess.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • May 06, 2013
    The Wachowski Bros trade in the cleverness and storytelling for fast-paced racing and typical nonsense. Speed Racer is a visually a remarkable adaptation of the television series, but could be improved in many many different ways with its flat story and simplistic performances from its ensemble. 2.5/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 04, 2012
    Andy and Lana (formerly Larry) Wachkowski are probably best known for directing the Matrix trilogy, the first of which set standards incredibly high for anything and everything thus far that followed or has followed. Their live-action, special-effects-heavy adaptation of the Speed Racer anime doesn't come close to touching the intellectual, revolutionary surface of The Matrix; although as a film that exists on its own, it's a fairly entertaining attempt at expanding to a larger audience for the duo. Plotting is a mixed bag due to a younger audience also being in mind, but the effects are surreal and wonderful enough to engage those who are complete technical geeks like myself when it comes to films. Messy and not quite a good movie, but it looks and feels like a live-action cartoon. It's art on its own right.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer

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