Friday, December 21, 2007


Million Dollar Smoke

You cannot deny that we have an affinity for speed. That's why movies like Fast and the Furious, Dhoom, Rempit get made to play to the satisfaction of audiences, especially local ones. We live on a tiny island, and I cannot fathom why, for the relative efficiency of the public transportation system, most of us want to get into debt by owning a set of wheels which come with 100% tax when they reach our shores, and the myriad of taxes and bills to pay when operating one. Not only that, the high end sports cars were once quipped by a prominent politician up north that they will never reach fourth gear, lest they reach the sea.

And these movies are relatively easy to make. Hot wheels and hot chicks always go down well together in targetting the required demographic. For once, those plunging necklines exposing uncanny buxoms and short skirts accentuating legs two meters long, can't compete with the attention given to those beautiful curves that exotic cars possess in movies such as these. Of course there are amongst us (ahem) those that go for the sexists portrayal of women as mere sexual objects (otherwise explain why motor shows come with truckloads of models, and movies such as these cannot do without a leggy model in a frame), however, they don't warrant the kind of collective orgasmic sighs whenever the four wheelers come on screen, even when they do exactly nothing and have their gears into Park. The guy sitting beside me, I swear he wet his pants everytime his dream car(s) appear, and creamed his pants even more when he hears those growling engine moans.

So there we have it, the fan boys who turned up in droves just to watch which of the latest cool cars get featured in the movie. With the Fast and the Furious franchise, the Japanese models like the Evos and the Skylines take centerstage, as does the GT. Here, the Ford GT takes on an incredibly droolworthy facade modification, that even I'm impressed, alongside the latest models like the Ferrari Enzos, Porshe Carerra GTs, Koenigsegg CCXs, and every car out there that has wings for doors. But seriously, my heart goes out to the cars each time they're mercilessly wrecked just for entertainment. I mean, this are perfectly fine, high performance models that are at the apex of motoring, but yet because whoever financed the movie had millions to blow, they do so because they can,

There's no story in Redline, just excuses to put together a movie full of beauties (the cars that is) that can rip down the tarmac in probably the most boring fashion possible, and with the usual shots of pedals (always the accelerator, mind you, tapping the brake pedal is tantamount to blasphemy, and earn you no respect), steering wheels, gear shifts (always shifting up and not down), all these while having the actors make pretend that they're the baddest asses with an engine, snarling and giving each other dirty looks. Not a very tall order for an actor, and that's why we get the most woeful performances ever, with lines that seem to be written by elementary school kids.

The heroine (yes, it made a statement that girls can drive) Natasha (a very plasticky looking Nadia Bjorlin) is one of those million dollar finds - a girl with model looks who don't mind getting down on fours and immersed in oil, who has racing pedigree within her, and performs with a rock band singing songs with lyrics that are just plain laughable (every line had to do with cars, and when singing about love, just had to string those innuendos like shifting gear shafts, lubricants and going for rides). Introduced against her wishes to illegal racing by a gangsta called Infamous (Eddie Griffin), she gets drawn into family squabbles involving a Leo DiCaprio lookalike Iraq war veteran, and some sleazy lecherous looking rich uncle. Everything else, well like I said, just serves as an excuse for the movie to go from race to race.

And it's almost always the same, as there's very limited to what you can do to heighten tension between race cars, especially when you know the race is rigged (for narrative reasons) and can see the race outcome a mile away from the finishing line. While Fast and Furious had quite charismatic actors, and I will put my head on the chopping block by naming Paul Walker, Sun Kang, and of course, the star it created - Vin Diesel, Redline had none, just pretty faces with lots of air unfortunately. It looks like a TV movie in its treatment from the get go, with a very insipid opening sequence where it's one man, one car, and a 105 minutes race against time to get to Vegas.

If not for the cars, then this movie seriously is a piece of junk, with bad acting, bad lines and bad action. Strictly for the car fans, or those who like their movies with countless of bevy beauties who pimp their bodies without any speaking lines.

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