I may be a little naive, but I think one of the aspects of adapting materials between mediums is to encourage (or at least tacitly imply) someone to look at the original material. I find it particularly odd in the case of Speed Racer. Being somewhat aware of the cartoon but never having seen it, I’ve now formed the opinion–just based on the film–it’s for six year olds and anyone older than six years of age watching the cartoon is a little slow. The Wachowskis’ adaptation suggests there isn’t a single intelligent thing in the source, something their insanely bad, outrageously expensive adaptation gleefully amplifies.
The film is aimed at an audience of adults–it’s not aimed at NASCAR fans, simply because it gives the appearance of being high brow (but couldn’t be further from)–but adults who think the things they liked at age six are good. Not realizing a six year old might not make the best cinematic or literary recommendations.
Still, the film is so unbearably bad–the green screen shooting (there are very few real sets) looks terrible–I find it hard to believe the film has supporters, but I know it does… I’ve read positive reviews. Though such reviewers must be driving to work in a gift from Warner Bros….
I do have one positive observation to make about the film. The casting of John Goodman and Susan Sarandon. While their performances are awful, their makeup is very successful.
Otherwise, it’s indescribably bad.
Directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski; screenplay by the Wachowskis, based on a manga and an anime by Yoshida Tatsuo; director of photography, David Tattersall; edited by Zach Staenberg and Roger Barton; music by Michael Giacchino; production designer, Owen Paterson; produced by the Wachowskis, Joel Silver and Grant Hill; released by Warner Bros.
Starring Emile Hirsch (Speed Racer), Christina Ricci (Trixie), John Goodman (Pops Racer), Susan Sarandon (Mom Racer), Paulie Litt (Spritle), Roger Allam (Royalton), Rain (Taejo Togokhan) and Matthew Fox (Racer X).
Posted in 2008, Action, Australia, ⓏⒺⓇⓄ, Color, English, Family, Germany, Sport, USA, Warner Bros.
Tagged Andy Wachowski, Christina Ricci, David Tattersall, Emile Hirsch, Grant Hill, Joel Silver, John Goodman, Lana Wachowski, Matthew Fox, Michael Giacchino, Owen Paterson, Paulie Litt, Rain, Roger Allam, Roger Barton, Susan Sarandon, Yoshida Tatsuo, Zach Staenberg
Has there ever been a major studio ninja movie before? As far as I know, no. There were the Cannon ones in the eighties, but those, obviously, don’t count.
Actually, I didn’t even know Ninja Assassin opened theatrically. I’m slow keeping up with what qualifies one film to be released theatrically while another not. The main reason I can’t believe Ninja Assassin made it to the theaters is its standing as an enjoyable bad film. I mean, it’s not entirely bad, but it’s a complete piece of crap. It’s a ludicrous, terribly written disaster (apparently the producers hired J. Michael Straczynski to come in and punch up the script and he applied his usual level of horridness to it), but it’s not bad. McTeigue’s direction is absolutely fabulous. The fight scenes mix choreography and blood in a way I haven’t seen done as successfully since The Street Fighter. He really makes the film thrilling. It’s a symphony of violence in a way I’m not sure I’ve seen before–it’s completely and utterly mainstream, but still over the top, excessive and totally silly.
Unfortunately, McTeigure’s directing skills don’t include the ability to direct actors. The only reasonable performance in the film is Naomie Harris, who’s a) too good for this kind of tripe and b) wonderful. The lead, Rain, plays a sensitive Terminator, but with less emotive abilities than Schwarzenegger. It might have something to do with the language barrier.
Ninja Assassin is utterly useless and a lot of diverting entertainment.
Directed by James McTeigue; screenplay by Matthew Sand and J. Michael Straczynski, based on a story by Sand; director of photography, Karl Walter Lindenlaub ; edited by Gian Ganziano and Joseph Jett Sally; music by Ilan Eshkeri; production designer, Graham ‘Grace’ Walker; produced by Grant Hill, Joel Silver, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski; released by Warner Bros.
Starring Rain (Raizo), Naomie Harris (Mika Coretti), Rick Yune (Takeshi), Ben Miles (Ryan Maslow), Sho Kosugi (Lord Ozunu), Anna Sawai (Kiriko), Sung Kang (Hollywood) and Richard van Weyden (Ibn Battuta).
Posted in 2009, Action, ★, Black and White, Color, Crime, Drama, English, Germany, Thriller, USA, Warner Bros.
Tagged Andy Wachowski, Anna Sawai, Ben Miles, Gian Ganziano, Graham 'Grace' Walker, Grant Hill, Ilan Eshkeri, J. Michael Straczynski, James McTeigue, Joel Silver, Joseph Jett Sally, Karl Walter Lindenlaub, Lana Wachowski, Matthew Sand, Naomie Harris, Rain, Richard van Weyden, Rick Yune, Shô Kosugi, Sung Kang