Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 8+
Action-packed kids' film fun, with a few sputters.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Speed Racer is a fast-paced, visually kinetic car racing movie -- which is the first family-targeted movie from Matrix creators Larry and Andy Wachowski -- seems tailor-made for kids under 12 who've been raised on video games and anime adventures. The central family sticks together, which is nice to see, and there's hardly any swearing or sexual content. But some of the fairly frequent fight scenes are quite vicious, with tons of bone-crunching noises and other sounds (though there's not that much in the way of blood). One beating fairly early in the story is somewhat brutal (and includes the threat of a hand getting eaten by piranhas) and could upset young children. The basic good-vs.-evil story will entertain kids, but it may leave older teens and adults -- especially those who love the original '60s animated series -- indifferent.
- Families can talk about whether Speed Racer feels more like a live-action film or a cartoon. Why? What do you think the filmmakers wanted watching it to feel like?é
- If family members have seen the Matrix movies, you can talk about what they have in common with Speed Racer, if anything.
- Families can also discuss how the movie portrays Speed's family. How does it compare to families in other movies?
The good stuff
Educational value: Kids learn a bit about cars and the sport of car racing.
Positive messages: Some deception, violence, and betrayal -- but since this is a classic good-vs.-evil story, the bad guys get their comeuppance in the end. Parents and children are portrayed as having a fairly healthy, supportive relationship.
Positive role models: The central family sticks together and Speed has tons of support from his race-car builder dad, encouraging mother, feisty girlfriend , cheerleading brother (Paulie Litt), and the family's pet chimp. Racer X is an enigmatic driver who recruits Speed to fight for justice.
What to watch for
Violence and scariness: Plenty of fight scenes that mix kung-fu with regular brawling and gunplay. A gun is trained up a man's nose. Although there's not that much blood, there's lots of bone-crunching, head-banging, and the like (and the sound effects can be gruesome). Mob-like criminals threaten to throw one racer into a vat of piranhas after they beat him pretty brutally; later, a man's finger is eaten by the same fish (the tone of this scene could be scary for young kids). Car crashes aplenty, though no one is hurt badly.
Sex: A couple of kisses in the end. There are also some mild sexual innuendoes and some menacing suggestive comments about a young woman from a villain.
Language: Mostly tame ("holy moly," "hubba hubba"), aside from a few uses of "ass," a "damn," and a bleeped-out "s--t." Brief rude finger gesture.
Consumerism: Some logos for Royalton Motors, cars, and cigars, but nothing excessive.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: One character smokes, and another is given a box of cigars.