Shut Up And Drive
I'll go on the record to say that Ghostface's 1996 video for "Daytona 500â€ is one of rap's most brilliant to date. The song alone is a beast of speaker-bashing magnitude, with Rza's brolic spin on "Nautilusâ€ and the unstoppable triple team chemistry of mid-90s era Ghost, Raekwon, and Cappadonna. Can it be that it was all so simple then? But I digress. What made the video so superior was how poorly it synced its Speed Racer cartoon footage to the verses. Sort of like a Godzilla movie, but much cooler because Racer X spits the line "the arsonist, who burn with his pen regardless.â€
Now, those bizarre Wachowski Brothers (Andy and Larry) have turned the old Speed Racer toon into a next-level, 2.5D green screen extravaganza. Who cares that the reclusive siblings shun media, and one of them reportedly dresses in drag? They're responsible for the brilliant mindfuck that was The Matrixâ€”we'll dismiss its pair of painfully flawed sequels for now. And with Speed Racer , they've assembled an ace cast (the highly talented and young Emile Hirsch as Speed; super sexy Christina Ricci as his boo Trixie; and Susan Sarandon and John Goodman as his parents) to deliver the second thumbs-up flick of this fresh summer movie season (the first being another Ghostface-related film, Iron Man. Nicely done, Pretty Toney).
Do know, though, that Speed Racer is a kids/family film, without question. There's no cursing, playful music always accentuates the not-so-violent mischief, and there's a real-life chimpâ€”the almighty Chim Chimâ€”bashing villains in the head with a wrench. Good times, indeed. Sure, it's flawed. The breakneck pacing and editing make it at-times a bit too dizzying to fully follow the kinetic racing scenes, Lost's Matthew Fox's performance as Racer X is about as lifeless as any man's hormones while standing alongside those Miss Rap Supreme gals (save for Nicky2States and Cherry, of course), and it's two-hour runtime is about 20 minutes too long. Yet, the lead acting minus Fox is all grade-A, and the visuals are stunning.
Will Speed Racer win any awards? Hell no, but is it good-natured fun? Definitely. It's not the kind of flick you and your boys go see together, really, but if you have kids or nieces/nephews, take them to this piece of escapist eye candy. Now, I wonder, which big summer movie, will be the first to truly suck? My predictions: Adam Sandler's Borat-light You Don't Mess With the Zohan and/or Mike Myers' Borat-meets-Austin Powers The Love Guru. Place your bets.
**For nostalgia's sake, here's Ghostface's great "Daytona 500â€ video. They just don't make them like they used to, huh? For kicks, check the Speed movie and then watch this clip. It's pretty surreal.