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Speed Racer grows up adoring his brother Rex, a race car driver of outstanding talent. The whole family of racing afficionados is shattered by Rex’s death in a terible accident, but Speed still grows to become the next family member to rule the race tracks in his family’s self-developed car. After he rejects the offer by the Royalton corporation to join their team of high-tech trained and welathy star racers, the corporate power turns against him, seeking to destroy his carreer and family.

I did not fancy to watch this film for years, because the plot as just outlined is so terribly boring that I could not imagine to possibly survive a screening. I do not like car chases in regular movies, I do in particular not like car racing movies, because I am not interested in car races. Film-audience mismatch, huh? However: Lured by the prospect of some eye-candy that would get me through an evening that I started being very tired to begin with, I picked the most spectacular-sounding effects orgy I had available, which was Speed Racer. I had seen clips before, which in terms of production design and colouring in particular had reminded me of a strange mix between Dick Tracy and The Flintstones (Papa Racer, in particular, cannot deny his resemblance to Fred F.). The opening race sequence is impressive, artistically well done, very innovative, and strangely hesitant in its show-off qualities. I only realised later (in the final scenes) what the film is doing: preparing you over two hours for more and more spectacular, more and more disturbing visuals. The design of the race sequences, but also of the city and the corporate headquarters of Royalton is outstanding, fabulous! But if you got exposed to the final race right away, with its absolutely ferocious editing, psychedelic designs, breath-taking speed, the un-trained mind would probably shut or melt down right away.
Interestingly enough, the visuals and effect are countered with over-simplistic dialogues, humour and characters, which in the comic spirit of the film is perfectly ok. Even the in principle completely annoying little brother with his monkey friend and smart mouth seems to fit in organically in a very Stooge-ish kind of way. The martial arts caricatures are silly and pretty funny.
I hate to admit it, but not really, because I like nice surprises: this was one of the most orginal blockbuster movies I have seen in quite some time. When finished, I immediately rewatched the final minutes for their sheer stunning beauty.

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