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Why ‘Cars 2′ is Totally Bad-Ass

Posted on the 26 October 2012 by House Of Geekery @houseofgeekery

When Cars was released I met it with a a shrug of indifference. Pixar is the industry leaders in producing high quality, original, heart-lifting movies and while there was no doubt that Cars would be a great little film but I wasn’t interested. It was a generic story about a young talent with stars in his eyes who learns an important lesson about slowing down and appreciating life. Then Cars 2 came out and the level of indifference had…well, stayed the same. It was only recently that I sat down and watched the movies and that was only because Funk Jr liked the trailer. The first film was as expected. Nice animation, fine story telling but nothing we hadn’t seen before. Then we watched the second one. And it was bad-ass.

Cars 2

Pictured: Bad-ass.

Upon release many critics seemed to take a particular relish in tearing the movie a new one, seemingly delighted to finally be able to take Pixar down a notch. Some media outlets even reported the fact that it was the first Pixar film that wasn’t certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The only possibly explanation for this unusual level of bile being aimed at an animated children’s film about talking cars is that people were expecting Pixar to produce something original or at least another Toy Story sequel. If it was a terrible film then fine, give it a bad review. But even if Cars 2 didn’t rev your engine there’s still nothing terrible about it.
In fact it’s is far superior to the original. Today we’re going to look at why.

Cars 2

This is part of the reason.

The movie begins with Finn McMissile, a British secret agent who is clearly paying some visual tribute to Bond’s Aston Martin, and is voiced by Michael Caine. That should be reason enough to see this movie, but just in case you’re not convinced we can explain further. Finn McMissile is infiltrating an oil rig using a range of grappling hooks and magnetic tires to find out what happened to a missing agent. Turns out that the missing agent has been crushed into a cube. Holy fuck! These bad guys don’t screw around! Finn begins to catch wind of a major conspiracy when he is discovered.

At this point he doesn’t what any Disney or Pixar character would do in that situation – he busts out his machine guns and opens fire. Seriously! This is already better than the original! Finn flies into the action with a damn awesome theme music while he fights off attackers who come at him with welding torches. It’s actually kinda surreal seeing the body count climb in this, an animated movie about talking cars. Finn sends bad guys flying off the oil platform only to smash to pieces on the water and sets off a massive explosion that kills about thirty other cars. If he wasn’t so freaking awesome I’d be disturbed.

After blowing your mind the story takes you back to Radiator Springs where we catch up with the main characters Lightning McQueen and Mater the Tow Truck as they continue doing the same thing they were doing in the first film. Woo. Lightning even makes a point of saying that he doesn’t he isn’t going to join the first International Grand Prix. Until he starts getting goaded by Francesco Bertonilli, a cocky Italian Formula 1 car voiced by John Turturro. Yes, this man:

It seems the women find his fender-less wheels attractive, meaning that he isn’t above exposing himself in this movie either. Francesco is certainly a welcome addition to the cast as he is pure asshole, the kind of thing the series could use to balance out the wholesomeness of the original. Lightning and his pit crew, along with Mater, travel to Japan for the first race where they also meet Sir Miles Axelrod, an industrialist who is using the Grand Prix to promote his new alternative fuel source. He’s voiced by Eddie Izzard, making the third totally awesome actor to turn up in this movie.

As they travel from Japan to Italy and England there are endless visual gags involving the culture of the country represented in car form, and it’s more fun than you’d expect. It could’ve been hokey but you’re a cold-hearted person if it doesn’t at least wring a grin from you. Whilst Mater is embarrassing McQueen in Tokyo – the main narrative arc for the two of them – Finn McMissile is meeting with Holly Shiftwell, voiced by the awesome Emily Mortimer, who is forced to take his place meeting their American contact who’s been investigating the same case. Rod “Torque” Redline is a Mustang voiced by none other than Bruce “Motherfuck’n” Campbell.

Cars 2

This is movie where spies played by Michael Caine and Bruce Campbell are teaming up to fight Eddie Izzard and people gave it bad reviews?! Sadly one great flaw of the movie is that Campbell’s role is a small one, as he gets brutally beaten by a couple of other cars. I mean, REALLY beaten, slammed into walls and left dented and smashed. This is pretty minor since the bad guys then TORTURE him to death in the next scene. Because it’s a kid’s movie. Mater winds up being mistaken for the American spy by Finn and Holly (who amusingly note that he’s VERY American) it sets them off an a wacky spy adventure filled with gadgets and action.

Being that all the characters are cars the action is far more impressive then it has any right to be. Finn busting out karate moves involving his magnetic wheels on some junkers who are bearing down on him with a flame-thrower is a sight to behold. The lack of concern they have for the lives of other cars continues as in one sequence Finn crushes a car between an elevator and a ceiling before bringing the corpse of the car down on top of another, crushing him to death as well. It’s crazy stuff. Eventually the action winds up in London with death-traps, bombs and the royal family with only Lightning McQueen and his boring friends getting in the way of the awesomeness.

Cars 2

Less Lightning, more Francesco.

Those who were like me and jumped on the negative bandwagon before seeing the movie are strongly advised to reconsider giving it a rental. It’s short, you have nothing to loose and you’ll get to see Pixar’s best action this side of The Incrediables. If Cars 2 had been a bigger hit we may have even gotten a Finn McMissile spin-off, and that wouldn’t been the best thing ever. It’ll be worth it just for the theme music.


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