Cars 3 review: latest Pixar sequel needs a fourth-gear jolt of power

Cars 3.
Cars 3.

POPULAR with the kids, not so much with the critics, Pixar’s Cars makes a comeback of sorts with a third installment after a six-year absence from screens.

An attempt to get the series “back on track” after Cars 2 in 2011 received less than stellar reviews (as per the 39 per cent score on Rotten Tomatoes), part three is a thematically interesting ride around the track but needs a fourth-gear jolt of power.

When his longstanding status as a race car champion is threatened by young up and comer Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) makes the move to get back in the lead.

McQueen gets a new sponsor and heads to a training facility with state-of-the-art technology, under the mentorship of trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), who once had dreams of being a race champion.

Lightning McQueen, coming to the realisation that his use-by date is closer than he hoped with his waning career and moving parts slowing down, is something that will speak to the adults in the cinema.

Cars 3 commendably leans more on story, dialogue and exploring its themes, and less on action. However the result is a sluggish film that many young ones might get restless while watching.

Cars 3 (PG)
Directed by: Brian Fee
Starring: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper
Three stars

In cinemas now