Speed Angels is a film that wastes a lot of talent such as great actresses from Lust, Caution and an otherwise great director in Jingle Ma. Prior to watching the film I read a review that read, ‘This movie was so bad that by the end of it, I was literally hitting myself in the face’. Ouch. It peaked my curiousity however and I wanted to see just how bad this flick was. SPEED ANGLES tells the story of a group of free and passionate female racers who use their remarkable skills on the tracks to express their dreams, love and desires. If you can’t stomach the cringe-worthiness of my following review of this film, we’d advise you strongly not to venture any further, as it is just going to get worse. I don’t have complete praise for this movie however, in that towards the end of the film they got a little overboard with the editing and I was really let down by the final antagonist type drivers. Speed Angels seemed to have a harder time in the casa cristo race in the film where the other drivers were far more menacing.
That aside, as far as it being a movie and a work of art, I would give this movie high marks in both categories. For it being a movie, it was nice to see something so different as far as the approach to making it go. Also, having such an incredible cast makes it all the more intriguing. Bing (Rene Liu) and Mei (Cecilia Cheung) are best friends as well as teammates in the Speed Angels all-girl motor racing team. However, on the day of her wedding, Bing discovers that her Japanese fiancé, Asano (Kitamura Kazuki) has eloped with Mei. Xiaoyi has problems too: despite being super-talented, she gets performance anxiety when racing, begins crushing on Gaofeng and has ongoing daddy issues. Seems more of a bad romance then a high-octane race film, right? Even visual effects were really bad, looks very cheap, just a bunch of cuts stitched together; it’s like if TV show cuts, shots from home made music video, video game cuts and green screen footage shots were edited together by a drunk person.
I cannot remember the time when I was wishing for a movie to end and then for some strange reason when you thought that the dialogue would not “give” for more minutes of torture, the writers managed to add 20 minute “tranches” for at least three times in the movie. Knowing Jingle Ma, who’s credited as writer, director, and producer, he probably planned on shoehorning in another subplot before realizing that the film was already pushing two hours. I could go on, and I dare say that film courses in colleges should dissect this movie for educational purposes pertaining to how NOT to make an adaptation.
Just as you add depth and complexity to the images, you add depth and complexity to the characters. It is not unprecedented to tell a story at different levels of complexity. Speed Angels had the chance to shine is with its female racers because China never makes a racing drama with female protagonists. I didn’t mind so much the over-use of the green screen if it weren’t so obvious. I mean, come on movie, I want to suspend my disbelief, but you have to help me! This was a blatant wakeup call for China, and I hope this isn’t what is to come for Chinese production in 2012. Good news is, it can only get better from here.