Not recommended under 10, PG to 13 due to violence, disturbing scenes, themes and coarse language.
This topic contains:
- overall comments and recommendations
- details of classification and consumer advice lines for Speed Racer
- a review of Speed Racer completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 June 2008.
Overall comments and recommendations
|Children under 10
||Not recommended due to violence, disturbing scenes, themes and coarse language.
||Parental guidance recommended due to violence, disturbing scenes, themes and coarse language. May be too long for younger children.
|Children 13 and over
||OK for this age group
About the movie
This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.
|Name of movie:
|Consumer advice lines:
||Action violence and coarse language
This review of the movie contains the following information:
A synopsis of the story
Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is an
eighteen-year-old driver taking the race-world by storm in his “Mach 5” racing
car as he chases his dead brother’s track record. For Speed and his family
racing is a way of life. Speed’s father Pops (John Goodman) designed and built
the Mach 5, with support coming from Mom (Susan Sarandon), Speed’s younger
brother Spritle (Paulie Litt), Speed’s life long companion Trixie (Christina
Ricci) and mechanic Sparky (Kick Gurry).
Life for Speed changes dramatically when E.P. Arnold Royalton (Roger Allam) the
owner of Royalton Industries (makers of car engines) offers Speed a place on
his race team. When Speed refuses, Royalton turns nasty, revealing that all
races are fixed to profit powerful corporations. Royalton informs Speed that unless
he signs with Royalton industries he will never be allowed to win a race and
that his career, family and life will be at risk.
Speed is approached by Inspector Detector
(Benno Furmann) of the CIB, and asked to join forces with Racer X (Matthew Fox)
and a Japanese racer Taejo Togokhan (Rain) to enter the gruelling Casa Cristo
race in an attempt to expose Royalton’s illegal race fixing activities.
Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.
Corruption in the world of car-racing
Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.
Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.
Speed Racer contains frequent stylised
action-violence, much of it on the race track. There are frequent scenes of
cars crashing, including cars flying through the air and bursting into flames.
Examples of violence include:
- Competitors frequently slam their cars into
rival competitor’s cars to force them off the track.
- Drivers use spiked wheels to shred the
tires of other drivers and dump slime onto the track, forcing cars to skid out
- Circular saw blades extend from the front
of one car, cutting a path through anything they encounter.
- The driver of one car catapults a hornet’s
nest into a rival driver’s face, causing the driver to lose control and swerve
off the road.
- A driver throws a live snake into the lap
of a rival, causing the driver to flip his car which bursts into flames.
- During a race a driver repeatedly fires a
handgun at Speed.
- Speed deliberately rams a rival’s car,
forcing the driver to drive off a cliff.
- Rex Racer crashes into the side of a tunnel
with the car exploding into a burst of flames. We hear that Rex was killed in
- The young Speed sits on Rex Racer’s lap in
a car speeding around a racetrack. When we next see Speed he has bandages
around his head and is missing his two front teeth, while Rex has cut to his
- In a flashback, ten-year-old Trixie punches
another ten-year-old girl in the face.
- A ticking package is sent to Rex. He puts
it into a go-cart and sends it into the street where it explodes without
causing any injuries.
- In a flash back, we see a young Speed racer
attacking another young boy with his fists.
- A large intimidating gangster slaps and
punches Taejo Togokahn in the face resulting in Taejo having a bloody nose.
- Two men grab Taejo, forcing one of his
hands into a pirranha filled tank but the hand is pulled out before the piranhas
reach it. The main offender threatens Taejo with, “next time it’s your sister
- Gangsters in a semi trailer shoot at an
approaching racing car with machine guns. The driver returns fire, using his
own mounted machine guns, causing the trailer to swerve all over the road. The
gangsters inside the trailer fall and tumble about and we see the trailer
riddled with bullet holes. The gangsters throw Taejo out of the back of the trailer
and he tumbles and rolls along the road but appears uninjured.
- Old TV footage shows a stunt driver on the
bonnet of a car crashing through a burning fence and a man in flames running.
- A man holds another man by the throat
dangling him over the edge of a high-rise building; the man does not fall.
- A Ninja poisons Taejo by dripping poison into
his mouth while he is asleep.
- Ninja-like attackers fight with Speed
Racer, Racer X and Pops with punches and kicks to the face and body. One man
twists another man’s arm and fingers and we hear the sounds of bones breaking.
Pops lifts attackers and slams them into the ground and out of a window. Racer X
punches one attacker so hard in the face that the attacker is lifted out of his
- A Ninja attempts to stab Speed with a poisoned
dart from a blowpipe, and we see several people lying unconscious on the ground
the result of having been struck by poisoned darts.
- A man points a gun at Taejo. As Taejo grabs
and twists the man’s wrist we hear the sounds of bones breaking. Taejo then grabs
the man by the throat and takes the gun away.
- A man drives his car over the top of a car
driven by Trixie, trying to grind Trixie’s head with the wheel of his car. The wheel spins inches from Trixie’s face.
- A group of gangsters hold Speed, Racer X,
Trixie, Pops and Spritle at gunpoint. A brawl erupts with lots of punching and
kicking, with men being thrown through the air. Pops twists a gangster’s foot
and Spritle shoots one of the attackers in the head with a slingshot. Spritle’s
chimpanzee throws faeces at a man, hitting him in the face and hits a man over
the head with a wrench, knocking him unconscious.
- Speed takes out his pent-up aggression by
driving in a reckless manner around a racetrack, crashing his car into Racer X’s
Material that may scare or disturb children
Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.
In addition to the above-mentioned violent
scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb
children under the age of five, including the following:
- Rex Racer lies on an operating table with
his face covered in bandages.
- After his brother is killed, the young
Speed racer is seen distraught and crying on his mother’s shoulder.
- Royalton offer a million dollars to the
driver who can kill Speed during the Grand Prix and the men racing against him
all look very threatening.
- A large, intimidating Japanese cartoon
character with an ugly face and broken teeth threatens to eat his victim’s
- Arnold Royalton takes on a very threatening
and intimidating demeanour, at times appearing insane.
- Spritle opens a door to be faced with Racer
X wearing a mask. Spritle looks scared and screams out, calling Racer X the
“harbinger of doom.”
- A glass ball filled with blood explodes.
- One scene contains images of a tank of
vicious looking pirranhas with large razor-sharp teeth. A large piece of bloody
meat is dropped into the tank and the piranhas in a feeding frenzy strip the
meat to the bone. Later when the same fish tank gets a bullet hole in its side,
a man is forced to put his finger in the hole and we see pirranhas swimming
towards the finger. The man screams and flails about and the water turn red.
Later we see the man with a bloodied bandage around the stump of his severed
- Several scenes show a young overweight boy
(Spritle Racer) gorging himself on lollies and junk food to the point where he
either collapse from exhaustion, or becomes hyperactive.
Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes
Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.
Children in this age group may also be
disturbed by some of the violence and scenes described above.
Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.
Nothing of concern
None of concern
Speed Racer contains infrequent low-level
sexual references. Examples include:
- After seeing Speed and Trixie about to
kiss, Spritle tell them “I’m gonna hurl”, He then make a remark about
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some partial nudity and sexual activity in
this movie, including:
- Several scenes feature women wearing
revealing clothing, including short skirts, brief shorts and low cut tops.
- Speed and Trixie sit in a car overlooking a
romantic scene. They talk and then lean towards each other but are interrupted
by Spritle before they kiss.
- A female racer sticks her tongue out at Speed
in a sensual manner, revealing a stud in her tongue.
Use of substances
There is some use of substances in this
- Several scenes show people drinking beer,
champagne and mixed drinks.
- Mr Royalton give Pops a box of “hand
rolled” cigars and we later see a man smoking a cigar.
- We see images of a hookah pipe, but do not
see people smoking from it.
- Mr. Royalton asks Speed if he would like
some champagne or a shot of whisky. Speed refuses.
- Speed and Trixie drink wine in a
- A Ninja uses poison dripped down a string
to incapacitate a driver and poison darts to incapacitate guards.
- Viking-like racers drink alcohol from mugs
in a rowdy manner.
Speed Racer contains some coarse language,
name-calling and putdowns. For example:
- Retard; insane; bumpkin; trash; He’s just
dumb; You can bet your arse; He’s damn proud; God help them; O my god; Shit; Little
turd; holy sh..; Keep that shit off my stack.
- Spritle makes a rude finger gesture to a
In a nutshell
Speed Racer, based upon the late 1960’s
animated TV show, is a stylised action car racing film which targets a young
adult and older adolescent male audience. The film runs for 2 hours and fifteen
minutes, and may be too long for younger viewers.
The main messages from this movie are that
right will eventually triumph over wrong and that criminals will eventually
receive their just rewards.
Values in this movie that parents may wish
to reinforce with their children include:
- self-sacrifice, loyalty and courage.
- family devotion
This movie could also give parents the
opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their
real-life consequences, such as:
- reckless driving and road rage
- the health risks to young children of being
over-weight like Spritle, and what should be considered as reasonable in terms
of consuming junk food
- excessive wealth and corruption
- the portrayal of female characters