Based on the venerable French comic book series, the live-action racing drama is vividly cartoon-like. All the men have chiseled jaws, all the women (especially a young Diane Kruger) look like pouty-faced models, and all the cars look like electric smudges, as if you could almost see their slipstreams. The movie takes place during a 24 Hours of Le Mans race, and like Steve McQueen’s Le Mans 30 years earlier, it was shot during the actual race. (The 2002 event allowed the filmmakers to enter two cars, with six drivers.)
Also like Le Mans, the action centers on two rival teams. Fans of the comic have complained about the thin characterizations (the movie’s screenwriter is Luc Besson, the genre filmmaker behind movies from La Femme Nikita to the current The Family, and the movie bears his pulpy, melodramatic stamp), but then, you’re really just here for the racing, which is thrilling and inventively shot.