Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Redline
Advertisement

Various explanations have been offered for Grindhouse's underwhelming box-office performance, but it's entirely possible that audiences have been inundated with glorified B-movies for so long that the prospect of souped-up drive-in fare doesn't hold much novelty. Why spend three hours indulging Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's every adolescent fantasy when you can wait a few weeks and check out a WWE-engineered action movie about 10 tough guys forced to fight to the death for Internet voyeurs (The Condemned) or Redline, a brain-dead gearhead romp about the sleazy world of high-stakes private auto racing and the decadent playboys who bet millions on races like they were feeding nickels into a slot machine?

If Cannonball Run was Love Boat at a hundred miles per hour, Redline feels like the action-movie version of Love Boat's budget-minded Canadian syndicated sister show. In a wooden lead performance, singer Nadia Bjorlin plays a musician/driver who agrees to race for flashy mogul Eddie Griffin in the hope that it'll kick-start her music career. But when evil millionaire Angus Macfadyen takes Bjorlin's mom hostage, tightly wound Iraq War vet Nathan Phillips descends on McFadden's compound to retrieve her, leading to a winner-takes-all showdown between the respective camps of Griffin, Macfadyen, and film-world hotshot Tim Matheson.

Advertisement

Director Andy Cheng has a background in stunt work, and he directs like someone who's more comfortable driving a Ferrari into a brick wall than discussing character arcs or the myriad complexities of the human psyche. Cheng's camera leers unashamedly at all the curves, from the cars—producer/financier Daniel Sadek loaned his personal vehicle collection to the film—to the jiggling, silicone-enhanced women biding their time between Juvenile music videos.

Redline promises nothing but the cheap kicks it seldom delivers, yet it lacks the balls to deliver the hard R that'd drive away much of its adolescent audience. A PG-13 celebration of hot chicks, fast cars, and deplorable behavior is like diet Mountain Dew, near-beer, or an expletive-free version of Straight Outta Compton—a tame, watered-down version of the real thing.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter