[Screen It]

 

"SPEED RACER"
(2008) (Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Extreme *Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy None Heavy None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Minor Heavy Moderate Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: Having followed in his older brother's footsteps, a young racecar driver must contend with changes to the sport that's driven his entire life.
PLOT:
Speed Racer (EMILE HIRSCH) is a young man who's quite good at auto racing, but that really shouldn't come as much of a surprise as his family runs Racer Motors. With everyone pitching in -- including Pops (JOHN GOODMAN), Mom (SUSAN SARANDON) mechanic Sparky (KICK GURRY) and even Speed's younger brother Spritle (PAULIE LITT) and his pet chimpanzee Chim-Chim -- they've developed a successful formula for winning.

Yet, things haven't always been happy. After a falling out with Pops, Speed's older brother and racing mentor, Rex (SCOTT PORTER), was apparently killed in a bad car accident following rumors of him becoming a dirty racer. Speed never bought into any of them, and honors his brother by allowing his previous racing records to stand.

Speed's success hasn't escaped the attention of racing mogul and uber-businessman Royalton (ROGER ALLAM) who wants the younger driver to join his team. Considering the abuse that fellow racer Taejo Togokhan (RAIN) has suffered at the hands of industry goons, it would seem wise for Speed to accept the offer.

Wanting to remain independent and abhorring the corporatization of the sport, however, Speed declines the offer and thus elicits Royalton's wrath. Yet, Speed has allies on his side. Beyond his best friend and former classmate Trixie (CHRISTINA RICCI), there's Racer X (MATTHEW FOX), a masked driver who wants to bring down the bad guys and thus is working closely with Inspector Detector (BENNO FURMANN) to put a halt to the corruption.

By participating in various upcoming races, Speed hopes to do what he can to stop Royalton, all while dealing with the mogul's corrupt but formidable drivers, including Snake Oiler (CHRISTIAN OLIVER).

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's a good bet many younger boys (and some girls) as well as fans of racecar driving and/or anyone in the cast will be interested.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For sequences of action, some violence and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • EMILE HIRSCH plays a young racer who's following in his older brother's footsteps and enjoys the sport for what it is. Accordingly, he's torn when Royalton offers him a sweetheart deal, and must contend with the repercussions of declining that offer. Intense and determined, he sets out to prove he's right, ends up having a brief falling out with his dad, becomes romantically interested in Trixie, and briefly uses benign profanity.
  • CHRISTINA RICCI plays his best friend and fellow former classmate who seems to live in the same house with the Racers. Her relationship with Speed edges on being romantic and appears to have turned that way at the end of the film.
  • JOHN GOODMAN plays Speed's dad who runs the family's racing business and doesn't want him to turn out or end up like his older brother, Rex, eventually did. He becomes concerned about Speed as well as Royalton's influence on him. He uses some profanity.
  • SUSAN SARANDON plays Speed's mom who's similarly concerned about his well-being.
  • PAULIE LITT plays Speed's wild younger brother who's often acting up and out with his playmate, Chim-Chim the family chimpanzee.
  • SCOTT PORTER plays Speed's older brother who influenced the younger boy's decision to follow in his footsteps. He had a falling out with his father and had to deal with rumors of being a dirty driver before seemingly dying in a bad car crash.
  • KICK GURRY plays the Racer team's mechanic.
  • ROGER ALLAM plays a wealthy industrialist who wants Speed to join his well-financed and highly polished racing team. When Speed declines the offer, the businessman turns ugly and sets out to destroy the young racer.
  • MATTHEW FOX plays a mysterious, masked racer who's working with Inspector Detector to try to bring down Royalton. He also gives advice to Speed.
  • RAIN plays a Japanese racer who wants Speed and Racer X to join forces with him to defeat Royalton's team (especially after being tortured by various goons for his actions), but has ulterior motives.
  • YU NAN plays his sister who's concerned about him and his actions in the races.
  • BENNO FURMANN plays a racing official who's investigating corruption in the sport and business.
  • CHRISTIAN OLIVER plays a corrupt racer who tries to remove Speed from various races, including by attempting to kill him.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this PG-rated action/adventure flick. Profanity consists of a barely bleeped out "s" word, while other more benign expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some cleavage is present and a few miscellaneous female characters wear revealing attire, while some men are seen shirtless.

    Car racing violence is present (bumping, crashing and exploding vehicles, with implied but unseen deaths), while several scenes feature comic book style fighting (punching, kicking and struggling) as well as attempts on others' lives via various weapons. Some of that has bloody results, and some of those scenes may be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers, but probably no one else.

    All sorts of behavior, some potentially dangerous, is present that might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes. Various characters drink in various scenes and a few smoke, and some tense family material and brief crude humor are also present.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that during races and some from lightning.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of camera movement (including racecar point of views, panning to follow cars and some bouncy footage, etc.).


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • A miscellaneous woman has a martini.
  • Royalton has what may be an alcoholic drink.
  • Miscellaneous people hold drinks.
  • Royalton asks Speed if he'd like water, bubbly or a shot of rye (presumably whiskey), and the latter says yes, but we don't know to what and don't see any such drinking.
  • We see a flashback to glasses of champagne being raised for a toast.
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks.
  • A waitress carries several large but empty beer pitchers away from a table.
  • Speed and Trixie have wine.
  • Miscellaneous people have champagne, while Taejo and his father have the same.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see thugs repeatedly smack and backhand Taejo, leaving him with a split-lip that's a little bloody. They then drop a raw and bloody animal leg into an aquarium of piranhas that quickly devour that. When bullets later put holes in that tank, the lead thug has a follower put his finger into that to plug it. The piranhas then get that finger. While we don't see the actual eating, we do see the man react in pain, as well as some blood mixing with the water.
  • Spritle says, "I'm gonna hurl" when Speed and Trixie nearly kiss, but neither occurs.
  • Spritle states that he's going to send Royalton some Chim-Chim cookies (possibly referring to excrement).
  • We see a flashback to Rex having a slight cut on his forehead following an unseen crash.
  • Chim-Chim throws what appears to be poop that hits a villain on the face.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some young girls gossip about Speed's family, with one saying that young Speed is dumb. As a result, young Trixie punches that girl in the face.
  • We see TV footage of Rex seemingly bumping another car during a race, with the commentator stating that Rex has become a dirty racer.
  • Young Speed punches and then struggles with another kid who badmouths Rex.
  • We see that Spritle and Chim-Chim snuck into Royalton's plane and ate a bunch of candy without permission. A worker then arrives, and the two have to sneak out to avoid being caught.
  • Royalton and many others turn out to be corrupt, especially in regards to the races. When Speed turns down his offer to join his team, Royalton sets out to destroy Speed, and employs various thugs (who also beat up Taejo) and drivers to try to assist in that regard.
  • Royalton reveals that all of the previous grand prix races have been fixed.
  • Speed and Trixie agree to tell a white lie to his family about them going skiing, when they're really headed off to a race that Pops has forbidden Speed from participating in.
  • During a race, various drivers use devices in their cars to try to damage or destroy opponents' vehicles.
  • It turns out Taejo got Racer X and Speed to help him win a race only to drive up the stock price of his father's company.
  • Royalton offers $1 million to any driver who will eliminate Speed during a race.
  • A driver uses a spear hook to grab Speed's car during a race to prevent him from getting ahead.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers but probably few others.
  • The family reacts to what appears to be an earthquake, but when they go outside, they see it's from Royalton's jet that's landed there.
  • We see thugs repeatedly smack and backhand Taejo, leaving him with a split-lip that's a little bloody. They then drop a raw and bloody animal leg into an aquarium of piranhas that quickly devour that. They then take Taejo and place his hand into that tank, but an alarm distracts them and the fish don't get Taejo's hand. When bullets later put holes in that tank, the lead thug has a follower put his finger into that to plug it. The piranhas then get that finger. While we don't see the actual eating, we do see the man react in pain, as well as some blood mixing with the water. They then throw Taejo from the moving trailer out onto the road, but beyond being somewhat bloodied, (face, hand, etc.), he's okay.
  • Some thugs hold Taejo by the neck and let him dangle that way outside a tall building.
  • There's more bumping during a race, including one car going off a cliff (we don't see the impact below). Speed and Snake Oiler then battle on a twisty mountain road, including Speed having his spinning tire up on Snake Oiler's car, coming quite close to him.
  • Royalton's menacing and angry demeanor might be unsettling to very young kids.
  • There's more car bumping, crashing and exploding during a race, while Speed ends up going off a cliff, but is okay as he drives right back up it, although Snake Oiler repeatedly shoots a handgun at him and his car. Snake Oiler then ends up going off the cliff and parachutes out just in time as his car hits something and explodes.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Missiles/Explosives: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • We see a flashback to young Speed handing a wrapped package he was earlier given to his dad. Rex realizes what it is, hurriedly places it on a go-cart and sends that down the driveway where it then explodes (in a non-realistic, cartoonish fashion).
  • Spritle and Chim-Chim watch an old cartoon where characters hold swords and knives.
  • A starter pistol is used to start a race.
  • During a race, various drivers use devices in their cars to try to damage or destroy opponents' vehicles. One of them uses spiked balls and such in an effort to strike Speed's car. Another uses rotary devices to try to chew up Speed's tires and/or vehicle body, but his car has a device that blocks that.
  • Some throwing stars accidentally fly out and land in a wall as Pops spins around a ninja assassin.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: A barely bleeped out "Holy sh*t," "Holy cannoli," "Jeepers," "You can bet your ass he's damn proud of his little brother," an incomplete "What the..?" "We got our eye on you mister," "Sweet," "Don't mean squat to them," "Hubba-hubba," "I'm gonna hurl," "You poor naive chump," "No way!" "You're the devil," "Gonna send this guy some Chim-Chim cookies," "Like hell they are," "Turds," "All I was doing was saving your ass," "Not this time, punk," "Bye-bye, little turd," "Making an ass of myself," "Jeez," "What madness is going on here?" and "Are you insane?"
  • All of the racing (and sliding along the track and other stunts) may be enticing for some kids to imitate, which also holds true for the fighting and other such behavior.
  • We see that young Speed has done one of those flip-page animations in the bottom corner of a writing pad where the flipping of successive pieces of paper creates a moving image, in this case of two cars crashing into each other (he does this during school).
  • Young Speed repeatedly pleads, "Please, please, please."
  • Rex has young Speed sit on his lap as they drive, and tells the boy to close his eyes and listen (while Speed is the one driving).
  • Spritle and Chim-Chim imitate action they watch in an old cartoon, resulting in Spritle standing on the arm of the sofa.
  • Sparky has a tattoo on his arm.
  • Speed discovers that Spritle and Chim-Chim hid in his trunk.
  • Spritle gives "the finger" to Royalton when leaving.
  • Racer X usually wears a mask to reveal his identity.
  • Snake Oiler has a tattoo on his neck.
  • We see miscellaneous tattoos.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of action-oriented and some suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 barely bleeped out "s" word, 4 asses, 1 damn, 1 hell, 2 uses each of "God" and "Oh my God" and 1 use of "Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Mom shows a little cleavage in various outfits in several scenes.
  • We see a little miscellaneous cleavage.
  • A minor character shows some cleavage and then does so again later.
  • Briefly seen, old-style artwork shows some bare skin, but the view is too quick to tell if there's any nudity in it.
  • A thug suggestively tells Taejo that he has a soft spot for Taejo's sister.
  • Trixie shows some cleavage in a low-cut top.
  • We see miscellaneous cleavage.
  • We briefly see a woman in what appears to be a bikini top.
  • We see some cleavage.
  • We see Speed shirtless, and later see Racer X the same way (in separate rooms).
  • We see Taejo shirtless.
  • Some female models where leotard type outfits that have half-thong-like bottoms, thus revealing part of their bare butt cheeks (less than half).
  • After a "cooties" alert from Spritle, Speed and Trixie kiss (for a few seconds, but it appears rather chaste).
  • SMOKING
  • We briefly see a few minor characters smoking (including cigars).
  • Royalton gives a box of cigars to Pops.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • After some teasing of what occurred in preceding scenes, we learn that Rex died in a bad wreck during a race. We then see the family reacting in shock and grief over the bad-looking accident, including young Speed crying, Mom shedding a lone tear, and Pops withdrawing from life (although he later comes out of that by watching an old race on TV with Speed).
  • We see a flashback to Rex leaving home and quitting the racing team, with Pops telling him that if he leaves, he better not come back.
  • We see a brief and distant flashback view of Rex's funeral.
  • Pops is mad at Speed (and Trixie) for lying to him about going skiing when Speed was really headed off to participate in a race forbidden by Pops. Eventually learning of that, Pops then orders them to return home with him, but Speed refuses to do that.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Professional car racing.
  • Losing a family member.
  • Royalton's comment that racing isn't about the cars or drivers, but is about money and power.
  • Royalton reveals that all of the previous grand prix races have been fixed.
  • Family run businesses.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A racecar crashes during a race, but the driver appears to be okay.
  • Some young girls gossip about Speed's family, with one saying that young Speed is dumb. As a result, young Trixie punches that girl in the face.
  • Young Speed accidentally wrecks his go-cart through some hedges and overturns, but is okay.
  • We see a flashback to young Speed handing a wrapped package he was earlier given to his dad. Rex realizes what it is, hurriedly places it on a go-cart and sends that down the driveway where it then explodes (in a non-realistic, cartoonish fashion).
  • Young Speed punches and then struggles with another kid who badmouths Rex.
  • We see another bad crash and resultant explosion during a race.
  • We see thugs repeatedly smack and backhand Taejo, leaving him with a split-lip that's a little bloody. They then drop a raw and bloody animal leg into an aquarium of piranhas that quickly devour that. They then take Taejo and place his hand into that tank, but an alarm distracts them and the fish don't get Taejo's hand. When bullets later put holes in that tank, the lead thug has a follower put his finger into that to plug it. The piranhas then get that finger. While we don't see the actual eating, we do see the man react in pain, as well as some blood mixing with the water. They then throw Taejo from the moving trailer out onto the road, but beyond being somewhat bloodied, (face, hand, etc.), he's okay.
  • Thugs in a trailer open fire on Racer X who's caught up with them on the road. Handguns and machine guns are fired at him, along with missiles, with him avoiding all of that. He uses his own machine guns to hit and blow up more missiles, and then to strafe the trailer, with those inside ducking for cover. They then throw Taejo from the moving trailer out onto the road, but beyond being somewhat bloodied (face, hand, etc.), he's okay.
  • We see brief flashback footage of a race wreck and then a man partially on fire.
  • There's car contact and then some explosions of cars during a race (with us not knowing the status of the drivers), while a competitor locks up Speed's car, resulting in a bad crash.
  • Some thugs hold Taejo by the neck and let him dangle that way outside a tall building.
  • During a race, there's more contact between cars, with bumping, crashes and explosions.
  • During a race, various drivers use devices in their cars to try to damage or destroy opponents' vehicles. One of them uses spiked balls and such in an effort to strike Speed's car. Another uses rotary devices to try to chew up Speed's tires and/or vehicle body, but his car has a device that blocks that. Meanwhile, as a car flips over him, Racer X reaches up and punches the driver in mid-air, while a hornet's nest is dropped down onto another car and its driver.
  • Taejo nearly punches Speed, but Racer X catches his fist and stops him.
  • We see a ninja assassin scaling an outside wall, positioning himself above Speed who's asleep in bed, and then dripping some substance down a string toward Speed's mouth, while a knockout dart hits a guard in the neck, rendering him unconscious.
  • Racer X battles a ninja assassin who's entered his room at night, and various blows (punches and kicks) are blocked as well as delivered. Racer X finishes him off by smashing a table against the ninja, pinning him to a wall.
  • Meanwhile, Speed avoids another ninja repeatedly jabbing a syringe at him. They then get into a fight with various blows blocked and delivered, and the ninja has Speed by the neck. Sparky tries to intervene, but the ninja repeatedly bends his arms and stomps down on his foot. Spritle and Chim-Chim then each grab one of the ninja's legs, thus allowing Speed to punch him in the face. When he rebounds back upright, Speed punches him several more times (including in the gut). Pops then grabs the ninja's punch aimed at him, picks him up, spins him around (sending throwing stars flying off his body and into the wall, while Pops also bashes him through a vase, breaking it), and smashes him into a table. He then puts him on a hotel cart that he shoves away, sending it and ninja across the room, out onto the balcony, and over the railing (we don't see the impact below).
  • A villain aims his gun at Taejo who grabs his arm and disarms him and then has him by the neck.
  • There's more bumping during a race, including one car going off a cliff (we don't see the impact below). Speed and Snake Oiler then battle on a twisty mountain road, including Speed having his spinning tire up on Snake Oiler's car, coming quite close to him.
  • Thugs fire machine guns at the good guys, and then aim that and handguns at them. Spritle then fires his slingshot that hits the lead thug, followed by Chim-Chim throwing what appears to be poop that hits the villain on the face. That's followed by a large-scale fight between the good guys (including Trixie) and the villains, with all sorts of punches and kicks thrown and delivered. Toward the end of that, Spritle kicks one in the crotch, followed by a monkey wrench being used to hit a villain several times, including by Chim-Chim.
  • There's more car bumping, crashing and exploding during a race, while Speed ends up going off a cliff, but is okay as he drives right back up it, although Snake Oiler repeatedly shoots a handgun at him and his car (with the bullets hitting but not breaking through the cockpit canopy). Snake Oiler then ends up going off the cliff and parachutes out just in time as his car hits something and explodes.
  • Racer X and Speed bump cars while alone on a racetrack.
  • During the final race, various cars bump into others, resulting in crashes and explosions. During this, one car lands on a huge spike and explodes, while Speed avoids crashing cars as they all descend a steep hill on the track.



  • Reviewed March 3, 2008 / Posted March 9, 2008

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [American Made] [Battle of the Sexes] [Flatliners] [A Question of Faith] [Stronger]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2017 Screen It, Inc.