Del reviews ‘Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’

Image courtesy of Paramount.

“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” Starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis and Hugh Grant. Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. 2 hours, 14 minutes. Rated PG-13. Theatrical release.

Del’s take

“Honor Among Thieves” is silly, stupid, fun, and undeniably entertaining, even for an avowed hater of all things fantasy. Yet there’s little meat on the ribs of this escapist fantasy showing at a theater near you – assuming a theater near you remains in operation.

The story is about widower Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine), whose wife was killed by a vile group of conjurers known as the Red Wizards. Edgin, along with growling sidekick Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), half-baked wizard Simon (Justice Smith) and shapeshifter druid Doric (Sophia Lillis) embark on a quest to retrieve a relic that can bring back Edgin’s wife. Along the way they must free Edgin’s estranged daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman) from the clutches of Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant), a former ally who has turned traitor, and thwart the restoration of the Red Wizards, led by Sofina (Daisy Head).

It’s not as complicated as it sounds.

The journey takes them through various magical realms where they meet new friends and defeat old enemies. Talking corpses, overweight dragons, raging owlbears and magic portals make for a colorful if not eventful quest.

Humor is pervasive, which suggests “Honor Among Thieves” does not take itself that seriously. And with Chris Pine leading the campaign, how could it? Pine imbues Edgin with plenty of James Tiberious Kirk – alternating swagger and joke-cracking – as he and his merry band of adventurers tumble from one cliffhanger to the next. The movie’s standout performer is Smith as fumbling Simon, the wizard with a heart of gold. Simon pines for Doric (Lillis) and along the way discovers that with sufficient self confidence he can reasonably go toe-to-toe with a powerful mage like Sofina.

“Honor Among Thieves” closely follows the Marvel model of moviemaking – lots of action, gorgeous special effects, not much in the way of character development or world-building, and a thin plot to frame the action sequences without telling too much of a story. Entertaining, yes. Memorable? Hardly. It’s like having a Mimosa and Eggs Benedict for brunch: By mid-afternoon you’re already wondering what’s for dinner.

As quests go “Honor Among Thieves” doesn’t compare to “Lord of the Rings.” It’s like “Narnia” with dirty jokes. You’ll be entertained but a day later you won’t remember a thing.

But do see the movie in a theater if possible. Only a theater can deliver the grandeur, and the shared experience, that all movies deserve.

I give “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” a solid B. It was entertaining and well acted, but the story was forgettable.

Del Stone Jr. is a writer and former journalist.

Image courtesy of Netflix.

“The Christmas Chronicles 2” Starring Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Darby Camp, Julian Dennison, Jazhir Bruno, Darlene Love, and others. Directed by Chris Columbus. 115 minutes. Rated PG. Netflix.

Mladen’s take

Kurt Russell as Dexter in “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes.” Charming and prescient. Russell as Jack Burton in “Big Trouble in Little China.” Funny and athletic. Russell as Snake Plissken in “Escape from New York.” Kick-ass awesome and honorable. Russell as MacReady in “The Thing.” Perfect and human. Russell as a demigod in the second “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Nicely two-faced. Russell as Santa Claus in “The Christmas Chronicles 2?” Yup, he pulled it off.

I’ll let Del, the artistic, detail-oriented plot summary know-it-all blowhard describe “The Christmas Chronicles 2” storyline below. But, it’s enough here to note that Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus (Goldie Hawn) do PG battle, with support from a couple of kids, to save Christmas and the soul of an elf gone bad.

“Chronicles 2” is a neat story with good enough acting by everyone, with one exception: Russell. He’s the standout in this film. And, I’ll be damned, if his singing – that’s right, singing – isn’t good, too.

You’ve probably registered by now that I consider Russell one of the world’s greatest actors. It’s possible that merely his presence in “Chronicles 2” is enough to make me put on rose-colored glasses before I review the film. Not so. It’s clear that Russell had enthusiasm for his role. It’s that enthusiasm that carries the film. Russell’s Santa Claus is what the former St. Nick ought to be, a tough guy with a big heart.

We meet Santa as he mushes his flying reindeer in low-level pursuit of the dastardly Yule cat, an intimidating creature with, as it turns out, a coward’s will. Santa is as adept at maneuvering his sleigh as Plissken a glider, MacReady a flamethrower, or the Guardian’s demigod a planet. Russell’s and Darlene Love’s vocals in “The Spirit of Christmas” is boosted by their addictive fervor. The uplifting song, backed by a troupe of dancers, rocks.

Be patient with Mrs. Claus. Hawn seems a bit, I don’t know, stiff, uncomfortable, somewhat slightly off when we’re introduced to her character, but she gets better as “Chronicles 2” moves along.

The principal children in “Chronicles 2,” Kate and Jack are portrayed adequately by their actors. Belsnickel, the wayward elf is OK, too. I didn’t consider any of them unlikeable or unsympathetic, but they weren’t all that likeable or sympathetic either.

By the way, it seems that you don’t have to watch the original “Chronicles” before watching “Chronicles 2” to enjoy the latter. There’s enough backstory in “Chronicles 2” to satisfy curiosity about “Chronicles 1.”

I don’t recommend that religionists, particularly soulless evangelical muthers and counter-progressive Catholics who support imbecile lame duck poser president Trump and his immoral, nonwhite people-hating administration, watch this film. The movie has “Christmas” in its title, but Christ plays no significant role. In some ways, “Chronicles 2” is a Santa origin story and it uses the star of Bethlehem to help carry the plot.

I have no urge to put “Christ” back in “Christmas” as will be displayed by yard signs and bumper stickers sure to go up in the next couple of weeks in my part of Florida. For me, Christmas is about presents, the company of family, and good food. For the “Chronicles 2,” Christmas is the time of year for all people everywhere to come together to share good will and express hope for a better future. Hear, hear … as long as I get presents.     

Russell gets an A+. “The Christmas Chronicles 2” is B-ish. “Elf” remains my favorite Christmas movie with real people and “Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer” my favorite animated Christmas film.

Del, take it away. Try to avoid the pedantic, will you?

Del’s take

Hmphf. Mladen telling me not to be pedantic is like Hitler telling Stalin not to be mean.

It was my suggestion we review “The Christmas Chronicles 2,” folks. That’s right. I went out on a limb, after having once been stung by our deviation from the sci-fi/horror/action formula by reviewing “The Jane Austen Book Club,” aka “Plan 9 from Palo Alto.” I still have sympathy stomach cramps after that one. While “Christmas Chronicles 2” was nowhere near as bad, it is no “Reservoir Dogs.”

Because Mladen was too lazy to review the plot, I’ll fill you in:

Kate Pierce (Darby Camp) is now (because she also starred in the original “Christmas Chronicles” released in 2018) a typically entitled teenager who is pissed because her mother (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) dragged her and her brother, Teddy (Judah Lewis) to Cancun for the Christmas holidays along with new boyfriend Bob (Tyrese Gibson) and his son, Jack (Jahzir Bruno).

(Sheesh, is that enough parenthesis for you?)

Kate would rather be home for the holidays with her friends, the snow, and her angst. Mom moving on in life after Dad shuffled off this mortal coil was not part of Kate’s unified field theory and like every other teenager in every other movie in which a parent passes on, Kate wants to punish Mommy Dearest for allegedly “forgetting about Dad.”

She hatches an evil plan to catch an early flight back to the frozen wasteland of home, but things go off the rail when Belsnickel (Julian Dennison), an elf who has fallen from grace, snatches Kate and young Jack as part of his own evil plan. Via wormhole they’re transported to the North Pole and left in the cold for Santa (Kurt Russell) to rescue. Santa carries them through the protective shield surrounding Santa’s Village (Mrs. Claus’ Village?) and Belsnickel hitches a ride inside so that he may steal the Christmas star, a kind of lodestone for the Star of Bethlehem that powers the village and makes our capitalistic, consumer-driven Christmas hell possible.

What ensues is a series of mildly amusing vignettes barely held together with a gristle of plot. Suffice it to say that along the way snotty Kate will learn not to be such a selfish, moody brat. All the other trifling conflicts get wrapped up in a sparkly red bow. Spoiler? Well, no. These movies are as predictable as the depressing deficit in my checking account at the end of each month.

I won’t tell you “Christmas Chronicles 2” is a bad movie. It’s not. It’s stupid and irritating and has plot holes bigger than a collapsed Christmas star, but it’s not bad, not like “The Jane Austen Book Club.”

But it did irritate me. Every year, starting about mid-November, we’re inundated with so-called Christmas movies about those people … the ones with halogen teeth and taxidermed eyes who live in a Norman Rockwell vision of Christmas where the snow is virginal and the trees decorated in symmetrical splendor. Everything is “Stepford Wives” perfect, and the characters manage their tiny holiday peccadilloes with such gentle dexterity you wonder if they’ve ever stubbed a toe or broken a nail.

C’mon. We all know our teeth are yellowed, our eyes bloodshot, the snow will turn to muddy slush and the tree looks like it was decorated by a tweeker. But that’s OK because life is life. Let’s have a Christmas movie where Uncle Bob has to change his underwear because he made the mistake of trusting a fart.

It’s possible. I recommend “The Homecoming,” a 1971 movie starring Richard Thomas and Patricia Neal. It was the genesis of “The Waltons” TV series that aired for nine years starting in 1972. The story is about a Depression-era family in rural Virginia waiting for the father to come home on Christmas Eve during a blizzard. It accurately and effectively portrayed the desperate poverty of those years, and the simple yet heartfelt hopes and dreams of the people who endured that terrible time. It was way better than any frothy confection from The Hallmark Channel or, in this case, Netflix.

“Christmas Chronicles 2” is way too preachy and precious for my tastes. I watched it, I didn’t hate it, and Kurt Russell was awesome (the kid who played Jack was also awesome). But before watching a “Christmas Chronicles 3” I’d want to get my blood sugar levels checked.

People who enjoy the occasional sip of feel-good holiday movies will get their eggnog’s worth from “Christmas Chronicles 2.” Just don’t expect a shot of rum in that glass.

I grade it a B-.

Mladen Rudman is a former journalist and technical writer. Del Stone Jr. is a former journalist and author.

Image courtesy of Warner Brothers.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” Starring Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint. Directed by David Yates. 146 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Mladen’s take

The wizard in 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” was a charming wussie.

The two wizards in 1981’s “Dragonslayer” were powerful servants of goodness.

The three principal wand-wavers in 2010’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1,” are mopey and brooding, which must violate some kind of law of Wizard Conduct and Coolness.

The bad witch in Oz was shrill, menacing. Her flying monkeys to this day haunt children’s dreams. “Dragonslayer” offered a formidable and sentient dragon, which sought to protect its offspring and Vermithrax bloodline, as the creature to defeat. By the way, the book on which the movie is based is very good. The evil wizard in “HP and the DH” is as comically fierce as his name, Voldemort. Picture a pale green being with black teeth and gill slits for nostrils.

I somewhat enjoyed the first 90 minutes of “HP and the DH.” The remaining eternity was dull, barring a semi-touching death scene toward the end. I probably would have liked the second-to-last of the HP movies a pinch more had I brought a wizard’s dictionary, thesaurus, and voice translator to the theater. The cockney accent of the red-headed wizard played by Rupert Grint couldn’t be processed by my admittedly inadequate brain. Note to producers of “HP and the DH, Part 2”: Use subtitles whenever red-head speaks.

It makes sense, I suppose, that the HP movies have devolved from wistful to bleak as the principal wizards grew from children to adolescents. But, it was a substantial error to cloak the film’s special effects in grays. Even daylight was shot as though it was perpetual twilight in Potter’s lands. The result was loss of crucial detail that makes battle scenes plausible and thrilling or chilling.

Superb special effects, I suspect, would have been available in glorious brightness had “HP and the DH” moviemakers shifted some of the budget from rendering the movie too long to making it compelling. See “Starship Troopers” for an example of the way sunlit daytime reinforces a film’s plot and believability.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll see “HP and the DH, Part 2” at a theater when it’s released later this year. I’m mildly interested in witnessing the outcome of Hermione’s, Harry’s, and Ron’s search for the horcruxes, medallions that give Voldemort his strength. I’m also mildly interested in seeing what havoc the Dark Lord causes now that he has the Elder wand.

Then again, who cares?

The first “HP and the DH” was disappointing and, I understand, the second was shot at the same time.

Del’s take

I’m not a “Harry Potter” fan, which is not to say I dislike “Harry Potter.” Though I haven’t read the books I did see the first four movies. I thought they were perfectly fine, even fun, entertainment.

I knew going into “Deathly Hallows Part 1” I’d have some catching up to do. Much had taken place in “Order of the Phoenix” and “Half-Blood Prince.” While I expected to wander the Hogwart world in confusion at first, I assumed the pieces would fill themselves in.

What I didn’t expect was to be bored.

In a nutshell, “Deathly Hallows” follows Harry, Hermoine and Ron as they cross the globe – or at least the UK – searching for the Horcruxes that will allow the evil Lord Voldemort to consolidate his hold over all things magic. They must destroy the Horcruxes, a feat they discover will be impossible without the Sword of Gryffindor. Along the way they scramble from subplot to subplot, escaping death by the hairs of Harry’s chinny-chin-chin.

People die, both good and evil. Battles rage. All things hang in the balance. And the movie ends with a cliffhanger – a perfectly adequate way of setting up the final chapter in the Potter saga, due in theaters this summer.

But in “Deathly Hallows” the magic vanishes. Not the wand-waving and incantations we’ve grown to know and like about the previous Potter movies. I’m talking about the innocence and the wonder of the Hogwarts universe, where children and evil trees and dragons co-exist, the world of possible anythings.

In “Deathly Hallows” wands become assault rifles and magic a banana clip. As Mladen noticed, the world is rendered in sad tones of gray. Relationships between characters take on the maroon shadows of a soap opera, all grim and unhappy and suspicious.

I agree with Mladen about Ron’s spoken lines – I could barely understand his mumbled Cockneyed accent. Hermoine’s perpetual foul mood diminished my sympathy for her. And Harry struck me as subtracted from the passion of events, as if he were preoccupied with an algabraic word problem.

I understand “Potter” author J.K. Rowling aged the characters from one book to the next, and darkened the plot in a similar fashion. Director Yates’ rendering of “Hallows” is true to the book. I don’t fault him for that.

But I think it’s a mistake to remove the one ingredient that made all the “Potter” movies so enjoyable – the fun. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1,” is no fun. It’s dark, moody and depressing – and way too long.

I might pass on Part 2, because as Mladen said, who cares?

Mladen Rudman is a former journalist and technical editor. Del Stone Jr. is a former journalist and author.

Image courtesy of Double Edge Films.

“Ink.” Starring Christopher Soren Kelly, Quinn Hunchar, Jessica Duffy, Jennifer Batter, and others. Directed by Jamin Winans. 107 minutes. Not rated. Amazon Prime

Mladen’s take

My boss recommended that I watch “Infinity Chamber.” I did and liked the film enough to see what other movies starred Christopher Soren Kelly, the computer hacker and insurrectionist in “Infinity Chamber.” The film “Ink” popped up. It was accompanied by an interesting summary, so I watched it. I did not regret my decision and Del better not either.

He and I take turns choosing which movies to review. While Del often picks losers, I seldom do. “Ink” is no exception to my sterling track record, but Del may disagree, albeit ineffectively.

“Ink” is a parable about right and wrong. The film tackles the notion of ambition and the way it can not only destroy those who are stepped on, but those who do the stepping. Trump should watch the movie. “Ink” explains in a Brothers Grimm sort of way why he’s so fucked now that he’s no longer occupying the White House. U.S. senators Tumbleweed Cruz, Rabid Rand, Lilting Lindsey, Himmler Hawley, and Murine McConnell, to name a few, would also benefit from watching the movie. In the end, “Ink” shows the way to redemption, which those boys will need badly before it comes time for them to meet their Maker.

Kelly plays two characters in “Ink,” terrible husband John, who’s even worse as a father, and Ink, a junior partner to the Grim Reaper. Toss in the supernatural kidnapping of John’s daughter Emma, portrayed very nicely by then-young Quinn Hunchar, by Ink; a group of fairy-like do-gooders trying to rescue Emma from Ink; and some very interesting others who side either with goodness or badness as this other earthly story unfolds, and you have a movie that reaches A-.

I was charmed by the film’s low-budget special effects, though using electrical tape to make X’s across the life rhythm keeper’s eyes annoyed me. It’s the life rhythm keeper, however, who is central to one of the film’s neatest pieces. He initiates an event that causes a chain reaction of incidents that result in John helping his daughter recover from her Ink-induced exposure to the dastardlier aspect of Dreamworld, the cabal of Incubi. The way the Incubi are depicted, by the way, is cool and psychedelic. It reminded me of the scenes in “Brazil” where the servants of the totalitarian state use information processing equipment fitted with magnifying glasses to read material used to destroy lives. Or were magnifying screens part of the setting of the movie version of “1984”?

It took me a moment to adapt to the way “Ink” works. But, I’m not particularly bright and Del less so. It may be easier for you to orient yourself. Be patient for the first, oh, 15 minutes of the film. By then you should be fully immersed in the realm the movie creates. Keep in mind that this movie must have had a small budget. It relies on drab urban landscapes, inner-city plots, and industrial workspaces to convey its fantastical world. I can’t recall the soundtrack, which is OK.

“Ink” is Aesop-like storytelling that serves as its own unadorned tool for teaching us all a lesson.

Del’s take

Oh yes, Mladen’s taste in movies is impeccable. He recommended “Bone Tomahawk” and I’m still in therapy. But with “Ink” he proved the old adage that if you give a monkey a typewriter, one day it’ll type Shakespeare. “Ink” is one of his rare winning suggestions.

I too was charmed by the movie, which is, as Mladen accidentally stumbled upon, a modern parable. And I agree that you need to give the movie a chance. Stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with explanations about Storytellers, Incubi and Pathfinders, all denizens of an alternate reality that rule supreme over your dreams.

“Ink” is one of those movies that requires attention, and yes, it operates on many different levels. But unlike “Tenet” it is not indecipherable. The keen eye will discern a very neat synchronicity bound in metaphors for good, evil, and more importantly, the loyalty and dedication borne of love.

The pacing is brisk but populated with moments of quiet introspection. But what impressed me most was the look of the film – gritty black and white and some very cool retro tech that reminded me of the John Wick films and Ridley Scott’s “Bladerunner.”

Hunchar is brilliant as Emma, the little girl whose soul is plucked from her body by the titular character Ink as he seeks entré to the world of the Incubi. Also brilliant is Jeremy Make as the blind Pathfinder Jacob (after falling – “Hello dirt. How are we today?”). Kelly is effective as the high-strung, hard-charging John / Ink, who spends the movie rediscovering his humanity.

Less impressive were the Storytellers, who seemed cut from the cloth of the ninja/warrior/apprentice template. They were there and they were honorable, and that was about it. Except Jessica Duffy as Liev, who sacrifices everything to save young Emma. Her character stepped out of the stereotype to make an impression.

“Ink” creates its own lexicon of morality and honor, and articulates those values in ways you likely have never seen. For an indie film it casts a long shadow, and I expect it will someday join the ranks of those quiet cult films beloved by fans of science fiction, horror and fantasy. You know the ones I’m talking about – “THX 1138,” “Code 46,” “Pumpkinhead” and “City of Ember,” all terrific little films nobody knows about but nonetheless advanced their genres.

I think “Ink” falls into the A- category. I don’t think it’s everyone’s cup of tea, but for those willing to do the work it’s a happy anecdote that will make that bottle of melatonin worth its weight in gold.

Mladen Rudman is a former journalist and technical writer. Del Stone Jr. is a former journalist and author.

Image courtesy of Warner Brothers.

“Speed Racer” Directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski. Starring Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon. 135 minutes. Rated PG.

Del’s take

I hate animated films about as much as I hate films that synthesize animation with live action. And unless it’s “Batman” I am sick to death of comic book- and cartoon-inspired movies.

But instead of throwing up my lunch I simply threw up my hands and went with the hackneyed, cliched and utterly simple-minded “Speed Racer,” a movie in want of an audience dumb enough to enjoy it.

Despite its lurid color palette and fairy-tale plot, “Speed Racer” isn’t something kids will digest with their Happy Meals. Rather, it’s suffused with pell-mell destruction and adult themes of corruption, blackmail and death, most of which will go over the kiddies’ heads. But Mommy and Daddy can expect a grinding case of road rage over the money wasted on this interstate highway pileup of a flick.

The story goes like this: Young Speed (Emil Hirsch) grows up idolizing his older brother, Rex (Scott Porter), who is killed in a horrific wreck and accused of racing dirty, thereby sullying the family name. When Speed follows in Rex’s footsteps he is wooed by a large racing conglomerate headed by Mr. Royalton (Roger Allam), who threatens destruction upon the Racer family when Speed turns down his offer. Meanwhile the Togokahn racing organization, facing a hostile takeover by Royalton Industries, vows to win a final race, The Crucible, a cross-country destructo-derby where dirty tricks are the norm. They enlist Speed as a driver. If Togokahn wins the price of their stock will rise, bankrupting Royalton and exposing their race-fixing, and salvage the Racer family name.

Sounds like any number of little-guy-vs.-big guy potboilers, but what puts “Speed Racer” behind the pack is its lack of focus, thuddingly dense dialogue, dismissal of simple physics and jarring cinematography.

Where to begin? The brain swoons at the prospect. Is this a children’s movie or what? Should adults take it seriously? Are the overblown CGI effects a kind of commentary on the illusory nature of reality or merely the product of overzealous computer geeks?

Ultimately “Speed Racer” comes across as a rendering of “The Matrix” on Ecstasy, which is no coincidence: It was created by the Wachowski brothers, who guided the perpetually dazed and confused Keanu Reeves through his role as Neo in the otherworldly “Matrix” trilogy.

But unlike the original “Matrix” and the immensely satisfying “V for Vendetta,” the Wachowskis’ efforts are less successful here.

“Speed Racer” does not earn the checkered flag.

Mladen’s take

Ignore the bona fide movie critics, and Del, who pan the latest Wachowski brother’s effort. Rent “Speed Racer.” Make sure your subwoofer is working.

The plot is difficult to discern and the storytelling as blurry as the race scenes but what’s the big deal? No film is perfect.

Flashing unearthly psychedelic colors make the pseudo-animated movie a vivid delight. “Speed Racer” juxtaposes the dark plot with the cheerfulness of bright colors to say that shiny surfaces often disguise the evil beneath.

Pleasing-to-the-eye Christina Ricci, as Trixie, plays the role of an indomitable but discreet instigator with effective lightheartedness.

The actors portraying Spridle and ChimChim – or however the hell their names are spelled – add humor to the movie.

And, no kidding, John Goodman as Pops looks exactly like Pops in the “Speed Racer” cartoons.

Racers employ all sorts of dirty tricks against each other to keep, or get, lucrative corporate sponsorships. Races are fixed by bookies, an idea that the film’s makers could have ripped off from watching BCS college football computer models at work.

The vehicles depicted in the movie are beautiful. Powered by interlocking dihedral fusion c60 bucky balls or some such thing, the machines handle turns, loops, dips, jumps, sand, ice, rain, hot, cold, sideswipes, rearenders, frontenders, rocket-propelled grenades, hypoxia and the common cold with ease. It’s a wonder the driver’s weren’t fitted with G suits. Yes, the powerful Mach 5 and, later, Mach 6, have the gadgets featured in the cartoons and even some of the sound effects. Remember the “sproing” of the doohickeys that make the Mach 5 jump?

I would have preferred that “Speed Racer” the movie use as a plot something other than big business corruption and one boy’s push to keep the spirit of racing alive. What nonsense. All sports at all levels are about making money.

In fact, a pure action movie with no moral would have been ideal.

So, here’s the story for “Speed Racer” the sequel. A CG race against the Mammoth Car with the Car Acrobatic Team as its escort will blow off peoples’ socks. A subplot involving Racer X and the evil scientist who created the armored and tracker Car With A Brain must be worked in somehow. Finally, it would be helpful if in the sequel Speed reacts to Trixie’s sexiness with a thrill rather than dour sentimentality.

“Speed Racer” is worth watching. I’m thinking of adding it to my meager DVD collection, though not until the price drops to $5, or less.

Mladen Rudman is a former journalist and technical editor. Del Stone Jr. is a former journalist and author.