Speed Racer ★★

i'm...sorry, but I think for anime-inflected racing movies i'll stick with 2 fast 2 furious? at least singleton's take on an existing franchise disrupts the cultural hegemony of rob cohen's flame-pants'd gen x vision with a bona fide southern rap video, whereas the anti-capitalist messaging here is hampered by the uncomfortable legacy of cultural imperialism.

obvs the original speed racer was coded as american and they were dutifully working within the template the original product demanded , and only after being brought onto the project, but when the "resistance" is built around the effect of globalized capitalism on the american family, and japanese allies turn out to be double crossing businessmen, "they don't make ninjas like they used to," and richard roundtree turns out to be a sellout whose poster needs to be torn down, it's hard to work up any sense of solidarity.

Points for a self-contained/coherent vision heavily reminiscent of the outkast bob video, but one thing that also kept me at a distance is its dutiful recreation of a dubbed import meant stilted dialogue that actors only occasionally were able to inject personality into, otherwise constrained by a hermetically sealed universe that, unlike 2 fast 2 furious, or say, talladega nights, doesn't really use racing to reveal anything interesting about america or its filmmakers other than a facile attack on the hollywood studio system while still selling toys for it.

As someone who went to bat for iron man 3 and thor: ragnarok i'm not against that on principle, but also won't pretend they're not operating in a devil's pact with ike perlmutter. It's also kind of just a classic children's film trope? Like, the hey arnold movie featured the characters organizing against a gentrifying television conglomerate despite it being release by a giant television conglomerate. I'm not against reclamations of unfairly maligned box office bombs whose entire existence was built around selling toys and video games but i feel like i only have so much room at this point, and would rather the critique of the police state-industrial complex offered by super mario bros.