Redline is about as clear of a rip-off of The Fast and the Furious as you're ever going to get, but considering that I hated Fast and the Furious and expected Redline to be even worse, I have to admit I found this one a bit more entertaining and fun to watch. Call it the law of gutter expectations, because that doesn't mean Redline is a very good movie at all.
The movie, as you might imagine, is about the underworld sport of car racing, and follows several high rollers who bet against one another for ridiculous sums of cash. Nadia Bjorlin stars as a young woman named Natasha who is about as good of a driver as they come, except she's never had an interest in competing. But after she is offered a lot of money and a record contract, she agrees to go up against the ruthless Michael (Angus MacFadyen, best known as Robert the Bruce in Braveheart - oh, how far he has come), a rich psychopath who has his eye on her. Unknowingly, Natasha becomes part of a bet between her boss and Michael, and ends up getting kidnapped by the man. Never fear, because a soldier who just returned home from Iraq to see his brother killed in a racing accident is out for blood, and some Natasha goodness.
The plot is pretty inane, but not any more so than Fast and the Furious. It works well enough, even if I consider underground racing about as stupid of a thing as people can do. After Natasha gets "kidnapped", the movie starts to get interesting and maintains a decent level of tension throughout the rest of the flick. There are a couple decent fight scenes and several good races where many beautiful cars are destroyed.
My compliments are all relative, though, as Redline is still a pretty stupid movie. It never feels like a true action movie, and director Andy Cheng, who is known more as a stunt man than a director, was obviously hired for his price, not his talent. A truly good director probably could have taken the rather lame script and made something a bit more exciting, as there never really is a feeling of the impending death one should experience when cars are racing at 200 mph. Of course, the script is still pretty stupid, and features such stupid lines as "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," and "If you're going to do this, don't do it for the money, don't do it for us - do it because it was what you were born to do." So deep, my heart fluttered a little bit.
I expected so little out of Redline that I actually found it slightly entertaining, but it is certainly not a movie I would ever watch again. Fans of The Fast and the Furious and other car racing movies should get a little more satisfaction out of it, as they have proved they are unswayed by bad acting, directing and writing. Yes, I'm talking about you, to you. Redline hits DVD on August 21st.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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