Image courtesy of www.impawards.com
Nadia Bjorlin……….Natasha Martin
Tim Matheson……….Jerry Brecken
Of all the films to copy the style of, one would think that The Fast and the Furious trilogy would be one that would have worn out its welcome years ago. Based on the box office receipts of the concluding chapter, and the critical disdain the second chapter received, there never was a revival of car-oriented films in the wake of the unexpected success of the original Fast and the Furious. Granted there was Torque and Biker Boyz in the same general time frame, as well as the remake of Gone in Sixty Seconds, but there was never a resurgence in the genre despite the urge to imitate successful films that seems to be the norm in Hollywood. Oddly, then, Redline comes into theatres as a clone of the film which once had its title.
Redline follows Natasha (Nadia Bjorlin), who owns and operates a car repair shop with her mother. Conned into a high stakes car race by record producer Infamous (Eddie Griffin), Natasha finds herself in a series of car races trying to overcome her father’s death in a car crash as well as the ever-increasing stakes involved in the car racing. Joining her in this wacky adventure is Carlo (Nathan Phillips), who has his own reasons for being involved.
If it seems disjointed and doesn’t make sense, that’s because Redline doesn’t have a coherent moment in it. It is laughable for the most part when it ventures into any sort of serious territory. In this sort of film any sort of plot device or story is a welcome diversion, as usually they only serve to function as moments in between car crashes, but in this case Redline uses them as unintentional comedic moments in between its action sequences. The script and story are bad enough to the point where it’s insulting to the intelligence; not a lot of effort was put into putting the film together plot-wise, that’s easy to tell.
What’s also easy to tell is that no one was cast in the film for their ability to be a good actor. Even Griffin, who’s usually able to get a solid comedic performance no matter how bad the subject material, seems to obviously have mailed his performance in by playing the sort of “generic rich guy” common in a film about high stakes. This is a cast that was chosen for its ability to look good on the screen and no more than that. Its main character, Natasha, is nothing more than perhaps a low rent version of Carmen Electra. It’s easy to get the two confused and perhaps Bjorlin’s physical talents were more of a factor in putting her on screen than her acting abilities. Even she, in what is the first big role of her career, seems to not really put much effort into the “acting” aspect of being on screen. Wearing skimpy outfits that emphasis certain areas seems to be her defining ability in the film.
It doesn’t help that the cast is given the most ridiculous dialogue and story to follow. It’s laughable and seems more like a direct to video production as opposed to a film with a wide release. But it’s not as if those matter for the most part. They are window dressing for what usually is the sole criterion for judgment: the car sequences. This isn’t a film about good characters and a tense plot. Its sole purpose is to have good car scenes and spectacular crashes, and everything else is a welcome addition.
Too bad that the car scenes are boring and lackluster as opposed to intense and nail-biting, which redeems a film like either version of Gone in Sixty Seconds, but in this case leads to some spectacularly boring car sequences. Everything done in the film has been done bigger and better in too many other films to count; there’s nothing new or exciting about any of the action sequences involved in the film. It’s as if Andy Cheng took the best of several car films and just duplicated them with half the effort involved in the originals.
While any car buff will enjoy the 90 minutes of Redline if only for the chance to see the quality of Daniel Sadek’s automobile collection used in the filming, it just doesn’t deliver on any of its premises outside of gratuitous shots of women in skimpy clothing that the genre should provide. Even the premise of seeing some of the fastest cars in the world in racing sequences is left unfulfilled, which should be the film’s main focus. Instead it barely can focus on being good in any aspect, leaving it as perhaps the worst film of the first half of the year.
FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS):