3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Can you blame filmmakers for taking a cultural classic and wanting to put a modern spin on the beloved tale? The Karate Kid was an unprecedented phenomenon that made Mr. Miyagi and the crane kick lasting icons in the minds of teens around the world. Despite the less than satisfying sequels and reboots, the formula is one that writers and directors have tried to emulate ever since the 1984 release. Go! (aka – Go-Karts) is another film that unapologetically attempts to tap into the magic of this coming-of-age classic by taking the world from the karate dojo to the go-kart track. 

Christie Hooper (Frances O’Connor) and her son, Jack (William Lodder) are trying to make a new life for themselves in a small town in Western Australia. After the death of her husband and Jack’s father, the two have formed a supportive bond with one another, but now they need a fresh start. Christie opens her own organic grocery store and milk bar while Jack manages to find a new passion at the local go-kart track. The instant he found himself behind the wheel, he knew he had found his purpose in this world. All he wanted to do was find a way to enter the racing culture and discover if he had what it takes to win in the regional and state competitions. 

First he needs to get time on the track and to find someone to coach him. Patrick (Richard Roxburgh) is the crotchety owner of the local racetrack and a former driver himself, but he is reluctant to assist Jack. Eventually, the two come to an agreement on how they can both get what they need out of their working relationship. After achieving his first goal, the following thing the young driver needs to do is to find a kart and a team to support him. He manages to uncover enough parts at the race track to piece together a ride. This is when he reaches out to two of his first acquaintances in the small town for help. Mandy (Anastasia Bampos)  has a talent for engineering go-karts and his best mate Colin (Darius Amarfio-Jefferson), who serves as moral support. Now all Jack needs is to see if his talent and team can help him to make it to the championships. 

For all of those people who are looking for a good-hearted journey that utilises the cinematic formulas of classic coming-of-age films, Go! is for you. Then to include go-kart racing into the mix, director Owen Trevor manages to tap into the hearts of the next generation of Top Gear fans. The young and inexperienced cast benefits from their own charisma and comedic timing while relying on the seasoned stylings of Frances O’Connor and Richard Roxburgh. The cast and audience must endure some cringe-worthy dialogue at times. Yet, each of these aspects is balanced with fast-paced and imaginative elements that make the whole experience enjoyable. 

For all those dealing with the realities of death: HOW DO YOU ASSESS YOUR LIFE?

The production team utilises some creative angles and technology to bring in a new element to this familiar storyline. The ‘god’s eye view’ and glitchy aspects of the cinematography provide a modern component that adds to the narrative and layers of the characters. Not to say that this is a profoundly emotional or developed screenplay, but it is accessible and a whimsical option to savour as a family. The only real warning for parents is that this may cause your child to want to get out to the go-kart track next time you leave the house. No one would say that Go! is breaking new ground for movie fans, but it does fill a void that has been missing in cinema for families and teens.

REEL DIALOGUE: What is the value of a good mentor?

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another – Proverbs 27:17

At the heart of Go! and The Karate Kid are two examples of the value of good mentorship. In Go!, Patrick brings Jack under his wing and directs his path for his development in racing and even teaches some great life lessons at the same time. Even though their relationship is not perfect, it does lead to some of the most endearing elements of the film. 

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also – 2 Timothy 2:2

Mentorship and training is seen throughout the Bible. Jesus had his disciples, but a fascinating study can be found in the coaching relationship between Paul and Timothy. Some of the most personal letters were written by the apostle to his trainee. These men set a precedence for the value of an older individual investing in the life of someone younger. Not unlike the relationship between Patrick and Jack, the allegiance between Paul and Timothy benefits trainees today and do lead to the very thing that truly benefits mankind. 

Letters that show the mentoring role of Paul to Timothy: 1 & 2 Timothy