Google+

6 movies that look and feel exactly like video games (but aren't actually based on games)

2. Speed Racer

Speed Racer is the world’s first non-interactive sci-fi arcade racing game. There’s not a single element of its homicidally epic race scenes (which take up about half of the film) that you haven’t experienced in a game. The rollercoaster track design is pure F-Zero GX/Wipeout. As for the race choreography itself, throw together GX's velocity, Ridge Racer's physics-breaking drifts and Mario Kart's knockabout combat. Then mix thoroughly, sprinkle in a few magic mushrooms and heat to boiling point.

No-one in Speed Racer drives in a straight line. They pull Ridge Racer-style 90 degree powerslides on the straights and they tackle every corner with a 1080 spin, whether technically attached to the track or not. Ripping a page straight out of F-Zero’s combat book, those spins are also the primary component of the film’s “car fu” battling, alongside a Mario Kart’s worth of cartoony in-car weaponry and defensive tech, not to mention spring-loaded bunnyhops as standard.

And did I mention that the frequent occurrences of carsplosion that result from all of this are preceded by the unfortunate driver being safely ejected in a large spongey bubble, referred to in the film as a “quick-save”? And that the opening race, in which Speed chases the lap record of his deceased older brother, is depicted by his racing against a literal ghost car. Oh poor Speed Racer. You do want to be a game so much, don’t you? So much it hurts.

And there’s more. Although imitating the original SR anime’s visual style, the film’s hyper-saturated colour palette vomits the essences of the Mushroom Kingdom and classic blue-sky Sega in equal measure.  The stunning cityscapes look like preview footage from an unreleased Ratchet & Clank game. Race-scene dialogue is built around nothing more than competitive throwaway one-liners. The vast but largely faceless background cast all look, feel and behave just like generic NPCs. There’s even a first-person vehicular gun turret sequence. All it’s missing is loading screen between reels. 

Topics

film movies

We Recommend By ZergNet

26 comments

  • LEGOMatrix - November 17, 2012 8:09 p.m.

    OMFG, it's Chev! Chev Chelios! As in "F**k you Chev Chelios" repeated multiple times throughout both films! -10 man points, Hooters! Death Race 2000 was Carmageddon before Carmageddon. Run Lola Run is like replaying levels differently each time. Shaolin Soccer. Just... Shaolin Soccer.
  • OICJC - November 17, 2012 11:09 a.m.

    Nintendo365 got it right, but the article gets it wrong; the character in Crank is named Chev, not Chet.
  • n00b - November 14, 2012 6:13 p.m.

    why you game journalist always get up tight about skimpy outfits? I think the outfits in sucker punch look cool and fit well the visual style and universe.
  • Apastron - November 14, 2012 2:34 p.m.

    Cloverfield is my favourite movie, a lot of that due to the first-person view which seduced me the same way Half-Life 2 did. District 9 and Battle Los Angeles were recommended to me off the back of this; the former was the worst movie I have ever seen, the latter wasn't a lot better. I think there's a movie called Super8 which is apparently quite game-like too. Don't know if I dare watch it having been burnt twice by this similarity.
  • winner2 - November 14, 2012 6:13 a.m.

    Sucker Punch was freakin' awesome. Especially that soundtrack, holy shit.
  • wheresmymonkey - November 14, 2012 1:36 a.m.

    Good list. I would of Added Dredd, Old Boy and The Raid to the list.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - November 14, 2012 9:06 a.m.

    Old Boy very nearly made it, just for that side-scrolling sequence.
  • Peguin - November 13, 2012 8:34 p.m.

    That article was a long time coming (i remember you discussing it on a podcast way back) but a very enjoyable read. Good work
  • FuzzyDeath - November 13, 2012 3:37 p.m.

    When I first saw the trailer for Sucker Punch, I was ZOMG! Went to watch it in the cinema, and I wanted to walk out after thirty minutes of bullshit. -_- Movie sucked so bad. I hated it.
  • alex-roy-bristol - November 13, 2012 3:51 p.m.

    Dude, that movie was literally one of the best thinking movies I have ever seen, or even HEARD of... Where you just going to see boobies?
  • christoffer-karlof - November 13, 2012 12:03 p.m.

    Children of men, very much inspired by half life 2, and the whole movie is basically about level progression. Also one of the best damn movies in a decade
  • nintendo365 - November 13, 2012 11:46 a.m.

    Crank was unexpected, but PERFECT. It is exactly like a GTA/Saints Row Crossover. And plus Chev Chelios is a Niko Bellic looking mofo.
  • RedHarlow - November 13, 2012 11:21 a.m.

    I loved the girls and the Steampunk World War I scene in Sucker Punch. I could do without everything else.
  • Fuzunga - November 13, 2012 10:53 a.m.

    Speed Racer, man. All I could think when watching that movie was "I want to play this".
  • BladeBlur - November 13, 2012 11:54 a.m.

    Words. Of. Truth.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - November 13, 2012 10:36 a.m.

    Re: Scott Pilgrim, Tron, Gamer etc. They were deliberately left off because they referece gaming too explicitly, or are directly built around it as a plot point. The point of this list is to discuss films that are just influenced by the aesthetic or structure of games without games being their primary theme or subject matter. Same reason things like Wreck-It Ralph and The Last Starfighter aren't applicable.
  • cgriff63 - November 13, 2012 10:21 a.m.

    Not sure why scott pilgrim didn't make it on the list..
  • christopher-renfrow - November 13, 2012 10:10 a.m.

    Er... not sure about this but how about Tron? Especially Tron Legacy...
  • Exiled Reaper - November 13, 2012 9:49 a.m.

    Loved Sucker Punch, all the action was brilliant despite the semi-rubbish plot. Surprised not to see a couple others on here, like Terminator or Cameron's Avatar. Also very, very surprised not to see the 2009 movie Gamer on here. A good article overall though!
  • b-dog1991 - November 13, 2012 7:50 a.m.

    I'll chime in with the obligatory Scott Pilgrim mention, although to be fair, the film takes its cues more from the source material rather than videogames themselves. Still, a lot of shots in that film are framed in the side-on Street Fighter stance and it's story structure couldn't be more gamey if it tried.

Showing 1-20 of 26 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000

OR…

Connect with Facebook

Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.