Thursday, February 14, 2008

REDLINE: A Car-Wreck Of A Movie

REDLINE (car race thriller)

Cast: Nadia Bjorlin, Tim Matheson, Nathan Philips and Eddie Griffin
Director: Andy Cheng
Time: 95 mins
Rating: * 1/2 (out of 4)

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Wanna know whether this movie is right for you? Well, if you are ‘caught’ between a bevy of scantily-clad chicks and a row of sports cars like the Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porches – and your attention inevitably strays to the cars, then this is YOUR type of movie. Otherwise avoid this one like the plague… unless you are curious about the chicks.

Indeed, “Redline” offers two kinds of eye candy – the obvious fleshpots and the amped-up Porches, Ford GTs, a Saleen SL, a Lamborghini and a Mercedes SLR McLaren. Few of these cars remain intact. Likewise, the plot. Produced at US$26million by mortgage lender Daniel Sadek, who also provided his own collection of exotic cars, ‘Redline’ got a wide pre-production publicity when one of its stars, Eddie Griffin, crashed a US$1.5 million Ferrari Enzo during a promotional charity race.

HITS & MISSES: However, that is nothing compared to this total-wreck of a movie. ‘Redline’ is such a no-brainer that beside it, ‘Tokyo Drift’ and the other ‘Fast & Furious’ movies would look like classics. Former Hong Kong stunt-coordinator turned director Andy Cheng’s formula is race, chase, fight and crash… race, chase, fight and crash. There is no depth or wit anywhere to be found. The real stars are the cars and some shots of the vehicles careening at rocket speed can be breath-taking. As for the acting by the human cast, make sure you have a barf bag ready. They make you want to puke!

TV soap sexpot Nadia Bjorlin is totally unconvincing as car mechanic-cum-pop singer Natasha Martin who is tricked by a music producer called Infamous (Griffin) into driving his car for him in a high-stakes race. An implausible subplot has an Iraq war veteran (Nathan Phillips as Carlo) returning home to find his brother (Jesse Johnson) in trouble with a counterfeiter. Needless to day, the ex-soldier soon ‘faces-off’ with Natasha and ultimately ‘falls’ for her.

Among the cast, Angus Macfadyen stands out as the self-destructive weirdo billionaire involved in a US$100 million winner-takes-all race. Also, Sadek manages to get veteran actor Tim Matheson to do a cameo as a film producer who seems to fulfil every stereotype known to Hollywood! Well, Matheson does nothing to shore up the image of this demolition derby of a film that glorifies excess to the extreme. One sequence has Infamous landing his private jet on a desert highway – just so that he can dump his smart-mouthed girlfriend – and then takes off again. Other wasteful scenes show the expensive cars crashing and going up in flames.

THE LOWDOWN: “Redline” is sheer male fantasy, a Viagra-sodden playboy’s wet dream.


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