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Transformers Revenge of The Fallen

Monday, May 12, 2008

SPeeD RaCeR: FuLL ReVieW...

HANDS up, all those who expected this one to be an assault on the senses - with CGI-heavy visuals and frenetic racing action amped up in trousers-rattling THX that would pound the most seasoned viewer into submission. Hands up, too, all those who figured that nothing short of a double dose of aspirin before the movie would keep a headache away. Or that we’d be (mis)treated to two hours of pod-racing on wheels.

Put your hands down - we (that includes me) figured wrong. Not only did Speed Racer turn out to be a surprisingly painless affair, it further piled on the surprises by ending up a watchable movie with a meaningful story about simple integrity taking on corruption and its complex justifications, and winning. Based on the classic cartoon, the Wachowski Brothers’ take on Speed Racer is a staggering visual buffet, with razzle, dazzle, a chocolate fountain and some of those nice pink peeled shrimp thrown in.

In short - there’s no shortage of eye candy here, with a little extra to keep those with less frivolous tastes from being totally turned off by the madcap pace and cartoony moments. I’d better ‘fess up here and say that I’ve never been a Speed Racer fan but that still didn’t deter me from enjoying the movie for what it is: a big, dumb, carefree, unapologetic tribute to its source that still manages to slip in a few not-so-subtle digs at the alleged fixing and corporate shenanigans that have dogged almost every big spectator sport in recent years. The title character (Hirsch) is an aspiring race driver haunted by the death of his big brother Rex, who died in a dangerous rally after falling in with organized crime.

By winning his first big race, Speed becomes a target for acquisition by corporate sleazeball Royalton (Allam), whose vast empire is built on the very business of fixing races. Naturally, the homespun philosophy of his auto mechanic dad Pops (Goodman) wins out over the allure of luxury and riches, but all Speed does by turning down Royalton’s offer is to turn himself and the whole Racer family into the sport’s pariahs. Enter Racer X (Fox), Inspector Detector (Furmann) and a Royalton business rival (Rain) who offer Speed a way back into the racing game and also a means to bring down the corrupt tycoon. Of course, you can bet your life Speed is going to have to bet his life in the process - he’ll have to enter the very same race that claimed his brother.

For all its zip, Speed Racer clocks in at over two hours, and it really could have benefited from some trimming. Not of the dramatic moments, mind you, but the excessive racing sequences. Contrary to what most of us might pre-suppose, the movie’s off-the-track moments are actually quite engaging and taking a little bit off the central rally and all its overblown set-pieces might have actually helped the film a bit. Come to think of it, the film’s one big liability could well be its wacky race sequences, which are for the most part really hard to follow. Who’s doing that stomach-churning spin? Which team is pounding which team off the track? Where’s Penelope Pit stop and the Ant Hill Mob? Heck, if Speed’s Mach 5 car wasn’t so shiny-white, the hero would just blend into the maelstrom like everything else. Best enjoyed if you can disengage the gears of that constantly-in-motion mind of yours; just strap yourself in and have fun. Go! - Thanks to David Arul (The Star)

P/s: For me, I'd rate it 5 stars out of 5...No words can be described on how they've done the heavy CGI as par as the Transformers visual effect...Go watch it guys!!!