a critiQal film review Redline (2007)

  • DVD
  • Vudu

Plot: Natasha (Bjorlin) runs a car shop and is the lead singer of an unsigned band. Despite fear of reliving her father's fateful stock car accident, Natasha is enticed behind the wheel again in an illegal drag-racing competition by Infamous (Griffin), who promises her $300,000 for one race. However, once she finds out how deep she's in, it's going to be tough for her to get back to her normal life.

1004 words (Est. Reading Time 5m 1s)

Fast-paced and exciting. That’s how the preview for Redline made the film look. Sure, they gave away too much (we already know someone’s brother is going to die, and then it’s a revenge thing), but it still looked exciting. Plus, it had fast cars like the Ferrari Enzo, and it starred an exotic beauty named Nadia Bjorlin. Sounds like a fun time for all, right? Unfortunately, that is, sadly, far from the truth.

The “acting” (if that’s what you want to call it) in Redline is atrocious. From horrendous dialogue to characters who don’t look like they’ve ever spent a day behind the wheel of a car (much less driven at the high speeds their characters are supposed to be), the acting is horrific from scene one. Is that entirely the fault of the actors? No. This film obviously put acting way at the bottom of what they wanted to achieve, instead focusing on the cars and the scantily-clad women in hopes of distracting the viewer from the fact that the film lacks even the basics of movie-making. While BloodRayne (2005) may compete with it for horrendous dialogue, it’s not a competition any film would want to be in. Basically, the horrendous acting put forth by Vin Diesel & cohorts in The Fast and the Furious (2001) is a Shakespearean play compared to Redline.

And then there’s the plot. Apparently, Redline is supposed to be about young beauty Natasha (played by Nadia Bjorlin) and her trials and tribulations when she gets mixed up in an illegal drag-racing circuit run by a bunch of bored billionaires. Oh, but wait, there are sub-plots! When one of the racers dies (due to sheer stupidity on his part), his brother – fresh from the Army – plots his revenge (by way of C4 and a butt-load of weapons – of course) on the billionaire who he was racing for – who also turns out to be their uncle! Yikes. Oh wait, another sub-plot surfaces: turns out Natasha is also the lead singer of a band (with a bunch of songs full of car references), and they are unsigned. Oh my!

Obviously, the script is there merely to try to fool the viewer into thinking there is some sort of reasoning behind the car races in Redline. It sorta works, but this film obviously isn’t for deep thinkers. If the viewer can get past the ridiculous plot (or ignore it entirely, as the film does on more than one occasion), they get to see what they came to see – fast cars and beautiful women…or is that the other way around? Either way, the cars are impressive. From the Ferrari Enzo to the Porsche GT, there are quite a few engineering beauties displayed on-screen. Unfortunately, they can’t make a film all by themselves, and even they are hampered by some ridiculous special effects.

Ignoring the laws of physics, the filmmakers set out to make stunts that the viewer has never seen before in Redline. While they start out decently, the filmmakers twist throws each stunt straight from semi-reality into total fake and ridiculous.

Want an example of this in Redline? A Porsche GT slides sideways into a barrier, then spins through the air over the other cars before crashing down the side of a steep cliff. Maybe it’s just me, but when a car hits something sideways, wouldn’t it flip sideways in a semblance of a straight line if it was going fast enough? Not here…here it swaps ends as it floats through the air at an almost perfect 90 degree angle from it’s original point of impact. Doesn’t make any sense, and ruins the effect of the stunt.

Want another? During a supposedly “climactic” scene, a car, going too fast, lifts into the air about 100 feet before flipping over and crashing to the ground. Toss aside the fact that this is almost ridiculously unlikely, when the car makes it’s way into the air, the viewer can almost make out the ramp it’s going up in Redline. Sorry, but if a car was going to go in the air, it wouldn’t go that high (after all it’s not a plane), and it wouldn’t increase at that angle either. It would be a much smaller angle, and would crash a lot quicker. After all, think of the crazy true stories where a car has jumped a curb and landed in a house. Did it land on the roof? No…even though it had help from the curb. But this car goes 100 feet in the air with (supposedly) nothing but speed helping it out? Not likely.

And then there are the special features. By this point, most viewers have gotten used to a “Making-Of” featurette, with it’s excerpts from conversations with the cast and crew, and it’s more in-depth look at the film. In Redline, they disperse with all of the cast commentary, and instead present separate sequences – each with it’s own title – that explain a little how the stunts are done. And yet…it’s not very in-depth, more of an overview of the stunt sequence. Not very informative, and high on the boredom scale.

After the seeing the car wreck that was The Fast and the Furious (2001), I didn’t think a movie would come along that would make that film look good…and then I saw Redline. Despite the fast cars and hot women, this film is as boring as they come. Despite a short 93 minute running time, that hour-and-a-half seems to be the longest in my movie-watching history.

Is there anything to recommend this movie? Frankly, no. And it gets worse, as you find out during the “Making-Of” that they actually wrecked one of the Porsche GT’s to make the film. If you’re in the mood for fast cars, skip Redline and visit a local car show or Ferrari dealership instead. It’s less wear and tear on these beautiful automobiles, and it’s a lot more fun. Want to stick around just to check out Nadia Bjorlin? Buy a picture of her on eBay instead.

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