A blasphemous bludgeoning of the Fast & Furious series and elements of Wacky Races are the clear cash-in antics of the straight-to-DVD field. Tom and Jerry were common bedfellows of the bargain bin back in the day. Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry is one of the many, many quality offerings that pair nostalgia with a shameless mockery of some popular aspect of culture at the time. Slapstick takes a backseat as sight gags and scriptwriting are relied on. A bold move for a series that still relies on two mute protagonists, with the one time they moved away from that rightly considered a bastardised development of everything the series before it got right. Give the animals speech and it may as well be a whole different concept.
Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry has the good graces to mock that element. Interviewees of the race around the world mocking the mute protagonists for their inability to talk. A few contestants picked off like a late-game Friday the 13th feature, the real elements of fun come from the scenes without the eponymous characters. The grand exodus of characters is morally concerning. It is fantastic. Tom and Jerry kill, maim and slaughter as many racers as they can so they can win a mansion worth a million dollars. With so much to chow down on and such little time to do it, it’s no surprise that director Bill Kopp has no way of rounding it out and understanding the damage these racers do.
From sawing Australia in half with a laser beam attached to a damaged car to destroying the entire Great Wall of China, there is little that Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry doesn’t do. That is a problem, though. Sight gags fly by in the last twenty minutes with no rhyme or reason. No quality to it, either. A nail-biting conclusion isn’t possible when the previous fifty minutes have ground down any spirit to continue racing around. The cycle continues. Wreaking havoc and destroying just about everything on screen is part and parcel of the experience, and the depravity makes for some intense, strange viewing. It is not often the cat and mouse duo end up ruining the lives and world around them, and the big-scale push for the pair is a wobbly, interesting one.
It elicits the maddened tones of Mario Kart and Cel Damage, with a hint of Crash Bandicoot: Tag Team Racing thrown in. Is that the nostalgia talking? Possibly. Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry is still a menacingly good time. Imperfect, sure. Never quite balanced either. A hit and miss setlist of jokes fly by at a speed matched only by the rocket-fuelled cars that fail to tie up the ending all that well. For every strong sight gag and Southern-accented grandma, there are weaker notes that rely on the voice of Spongebob Squarepants in an obviously out-of-turn performance. References to 2001: A Space Odyssey is awkwardly disjointed and plays around for the adults strapped to their chairs watching this feature with kids, or for the hungover young adults looking for some grim and brief nostalgia shots.