For years I have been wondering what would happen if a millionaire real estate investor with a large exotic car collection and too much time and money on his hands decided to make a movie. Finally, Redline has come along and answered my question.
The movie itself is an attempt at cashing in on the Fast and the Furious (2001) craze, which would be fine, except that that fad’s been dead for about three years now. The thing that’s supposed to set the film apart from the other movies of this genre is the inclusion of high-end exotic sports cars, like Ferraris and Lamborghinis, which are from the personal collection of executive producer and real estate investor Daniel “I’m definitely not compensating for anything” Sadek, who also gets a story credit. The grandstander has attached his name to a movie that is nothing more than a collection of overwrought, tired clichés and clumsy action sequences that would have been better served going straight to DVD.
The plot involves a group of eccentrics—a record exec (Eddie Griffin, doing his normal Eddie Griffin shtick), a new age millionaire named Michael (Angus Macfayden, Saw III) and a movie producer (Tim Matheson, Van Wilder)—who all like to get together and gamble exorbitant amounts of money on illegal racing. It’s not until mechanic and aspiring musician Natasha (soap opera actress Nadia Bjorlin)—who is a talented driver, but swore to never race after the death of her father in a stock car race—manages to catch Michael’s eye that things become complicated. This is because she also woos Michael’s nephew Carlo (Nathan Phillips, Snakes on a Plane, who wanders through the movie with a stern look of solemn confusion on his face). Carlo is fresh from Iraq, and blames Michael for the death of his brother Jason (Jesse Johnson, the son of Don Johnson, who looks like the missing member of ‘80s band a-ha). The plot only gets more convoluted, corny and silly from there (especially when the man who caused the death of Natasha’s father shows up out of nowhere and exits just as quickly). It might have worked purely as overheated trash, but everyone involved takes it—and themselves—so seriously. So what you get is sheer overwhelming ineptitude, the likes of which haven’t been seen since last year’s melodramatic basketball debacle Crossover.
In reality, the movie isn’t anything more than one really long rap video. Director Andy Cheng (whose major credits involve being a stunt coordinator and doing second unit direction work on such cinematic gems as The Rundown (2003) and Wes Craven’s Cursed (2005)) never met a pair of breasts he didn’t feel the need to zoom in on. Based on his credits alone, one might think that Cheng would know how to craft a decent action sequence, but none of the numerous fight scenes or races is ever anything more than adequate. If you just have to see fast cars run into each other, go watch Grindhouse and stick around for Quentin Tarantino’s portion of the double feature, Death Proof. If you want to see a better movie than Redline, watch just about anything else. Rated PG-13 for violence, illegal and reckless behavior, sexual content, language and drug references.
— reviewed by Justin Souther