“Turbo” (PG): A garden snail named Turbo (voice of Ryan Reynolds) dreams of racing at the Indy 500 in this refreshingly odd and enjoyable 3-D animated fable. Rich in wit, characterization and visual excitement, “Turbo” should more than please kids six and older as well as teens and parents who like comedy.
Turbo lives in a Los Angeles backyard and watches car races on TV. He longs for speed, even though it takes him 17 minutes to go one foot. His big brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) begs him to recognize his limitations, but he won’t. One day, Turbo is watching traffic from a bridge when he falls onto the highway and lands in the midst of a drag race. He’s sucked into an exhaust system and bathed in a blast of nitrous oxide. He emerges with the power to zoom at blinding speeds. When a hungry crow snatches Chet, Turbo vrooms to the rescue and the chase ends on a taco truck in Van Nuys driven by Tito (Michael Pena).
In a lovely twist, the relationship between Turbo and Chet parallels the relationship between Tito and his big brother Angelo (Luis Guzman), who just wants his struggling strip-mall shop to prosper and wishes his kid brother would pay more attention to that. Tito has a collection of snails he races for fun – not speed – all decorated like race cars. When he sees Turbo’s hyper-speed, he raises money and takes Turbo to the Indy 500, proving to both Chet and Angelo that dreams can come true.
Some of Turbo’s adventures will look a little harrowing to under-6s, especially in 3-D, when he gets sucked into a drag racer’s exhaust system, and when he rescues Chet from a crow and braves highway traffic. In the Indy 500 scenes, Turbo is nearly wiped out by debris and almost run over by race cars. There’s also a multicar crash on the track that looks scary. A human character seems to drink beer. Turbo learns, after meeting champion driver Guy Gagne (Bill Hader), that your idols can disappoint you.
“Red 2” (PG-13): Teens who get a charge out of watching eccentrics in or near their 60s crack wise, shoot ‘em up and crash cars may find “Red 2” a bit of a hoot. Again based on characters from a graphic novel, the movie makes no sense, but it’s full of clever repartee and droll relationship comedy acted by experts.
Most of the cast from “Red” (PG-13, 2010) – minus Morgan Freeman, whose character died in the first film – are back at it. Laconic tough guy and ex-cover operative Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) wants to enjoy a quiet life with girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), though she got a taste of high-danger excitement in the first film and misses it. Frank’s oddball pal Marvin (John Malkovich) shows up to warn him that their former CIA bosses are out to kill them again – something about a secret 1970s project called Nightshade, a secret nuclear weapon project, thought to be dormant, threatening to blow up under the Kremlin.
Eventually, Frank, Sarah and Marvin are on the run from a CIA killer (Neal McDonough). This takes them to Paris, London, Moscow and back. Classy hit woman Victoria (Helen Mirren) and contract killer Han (Byung-hun Lee) join the fray. They break Nightshade inventor Bailey (Anthony Hopkins) out of a psychiatric prison, grab the Nightshade device, and wind up inside the Iranian embassy in London with the nuke ticking.
Really violent, albeit bloodless, for a PG-13, “Red 2” includes lots of deafening, high-caliber gunplay, explosions, high-speed chases, massive crashes and characters killed by nerve gas. It also features the threat of a new type of nuclear device that can wipe out London. Among all the deaths, hardly any blood or injury is shown apart from facial scratches or foaming at the mouth. One character is drugged. Others drink. The script includes mildish sexual innuendo, implied nudity, a couple of steamy, comedically intended kissing scenes, and rare moderate profanity. Mirren’s sexiness and killing abilities are equated.