by William Goss
There are exercises in futility, and then there is reviewing 'Redline,' which is quite literally ninety minutes of people going nowhere fast.“There are cars that get you from point A to point B, and then there are cars that get you from point A to point B really fast,” purrs the narrating likes of Natasha (Nadia Bjorlin), who finds herself drawn into that high-stakes realm of illegal racing, where music moguls (Eddie Griffin), Hollywood producers (Tim Matheson), and other affluent eccentrics (Angus Macfadyen) gather to throw cash at each other and have their drivers – including Natasha, a recently returned Iraqi vet (Nathan Phillips, even more vapid than ever before), and his scrappy younger brother (Jesse Johnson, popper of many a collar) – compete with the downright spiffiest automobiles around.
"This Ain’t A Scene, It’s A Goddamn Car Race"
Thus, out of producer Daniel Sadek’s wealth comes this severe stinker, an awful film awfully undeserving of the superlatives and snark it often triggers, not to mention the Razzies that it eagerly warrants, and then smothered under an unquestionable and unforgivable layer of real-life ego and excess. Andy Cheng employs all his experience as a stunt coordinator and second unit director to assemble this relentless barrage of moronic moments the likes of which haven’t been seen this side of Supercross.
Yet even Supercross bothered to showcase the stunts, a tactic seemingly unbeknownst to Cheng, as they instead opt for little else than shots of grinding gears and pounding pedals and leave one hungering for some rear-projection work. It’d be easy to pin this on editor Dallas Puett, but even he didn’t pander this low with his work on the entire Fast/Furious franchise, which, while brainless, at least bore some entertaining moments. Redline wasn’t cut on an Avid so much as tossed into a blender and set to puree, only left to relatively linger on the occasional brawl or a babes-in-bikinis car wash, for which there always seems to be time.
In addition to much walking cleavage, viewers are offered the sassy stylings of Griffin (“Well, smack me and call me George Bush!”), in a role that rivals his work in Deuce deux – when an especially cranky member of the entourage wants them to pull their plane over, they indeed land the aircraft on a desert highway to drop her ass off on the asphalt – and his antics are only interrupted by the occasional open-shirt showcase of Macfadyen’s bloated physique in the midst of his counterfeit currency subplot. (Yes, a film with this kind of plot apparently affords narrative tangents.) One race takes place in little else than split-screen, in an obvious nod to dePalma, and a character’s demise is so heavily foreshadowed and shoddily executed that it’s nearly worthy of MST3K glory. Had there been some screeching cover of Gary Numan’s “Cars” featured at some point, that move alone would practically qualify as a stroke of genius.
Alas, intelligence and irony aren’t factors in the least so far as this film is concerned. It’s the result of what happens when you give x number of monkeys a camera and a car to work with, a film so inane that it virtually runs on unleaded retardation, yet is more than likely to fulfill the low satisfaction thresholds of those who swoon at the sight of these vehicles, shirk at the sight of their destruction, and undoubtedly pine for that Criterion edition of Torque to hit shelves already.At some point, one character – possibly Sir Griffin himself – busts out with the line, “If it ain’t fun, it ain’t worth doin’.” Well, I ain’t a mechanic, but that seems to be your problem right there: this baby is 100% fool-injected.
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originally posted: 04/16/07 05:35:22