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Awesome: 10.26%
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Pretty Crappy: 5.13%

4 reviews, 15 user ratings

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Redline (2007)
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Death-Proof? Maybe. Macfadyen-Proof? Definitely Not."
1 stars

The movie industry has always attracted its share of wealthy dreamers who have attempted to buy their way into the business armed with a little chutzpah and a lot of ready cash to personally finance their visions of cinematic glory, most of which are usually intended to provide a showcase vehicle for a wife or girlfriend. In recent years, however, such vanity productions have fallen by the wayside once these would-be moguls realized that while financing a movie on one’s own may be easy enough, getting it released is another thing entirely unless one wants to go through the time and considerable expense of distributing it themselves. Therefore, I have to admire the sheer moxie of Daniel Sadek, the fabulously wealthy real estate magnate who decided to sink over $35 million of his own money into financing and distributing the race car extravaganza “Redline”–in his own way, he is following in the footsteps of such unlikely patrons of the arts as Samuel Insull, the Chicago financier who built an opera house to showcase the talents of his lady love, or Herbert Yates, who purchased Republic Pictures in order to make movies featuring the apple of his eye, the immortal Vera Hruba Ralston. Of course, Insull left us with the Civic Opera House (now known as the Lyric Opera House), one of the most gorgeous theaters in the world and Yates’s studio produced such notable films as “Fort Apache” and “The Quiet Man” while Sadek’s shot at glory has only yielded a ridiculous bit of auto-porn that is so silly that it makes “The Cannonball Run II” look plausible and coherent by comparison.

“Redline” has been designed to show off two things near and dear to Sadek’s heart–his extravagant and extensive auto collection (I gather that he owns nearly all of the cars featured here) and starlet Nadia Bjorlin, who has been given a lead role custom-designed to show off both her acting and singing talents. The film fetishizes both of them with equal insistence throughout and in a weird way, it makes sense because the cars and Bjorlin have a lot in common–they both have nice lines and impressive curves and they both have obviously had enough work done over the years to exponentially increase their resale value once Sadek decides to put them back out on the marketplace. When it comes to performance, however, that is where the gulf between the cars and Bjorlin becomes readily apparent. Playing themselves, the cars are throughly convincing as they start, stop, screech, spin and occasionally slam into things at high speeds. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing Bjorlin doing any of those things, her duties are more conventional–conveying character and emotion and stuff like that–and she is far less believable in that area than the cars are in theirs. I don’t want to sound cruel but Bjorlin is such a blank that she seems to be nearly unconscious throughout except, ironically, for the scene in which she actually is supposed to be unconscious.

The plot, he says as he manfully tries to resist bursting out in laughter over the suggestion that a film such as “Redline” could be said to have a plot, revolves around a trio of extremely obnoxious and extremely rich bozos–sleazy music mogul Infamous (Eddie Griffin), sleazier counterfeiter Michael (Angus Macfadyen) and semi-sleazy movie producer Jerry Brecken (Tim Matheson) who entertain themselves by pitting their expensive sports cars against each other in high-stakes auto races. Looking for an ace driver to help him win, Infamous comes across Natasha Martin (Bjorlin), a mechanic/singer who vowed never to race again after seeing her father killed during a race a few years earlier. In a move that will no doubt shock you, Infamous finally convinces Natasha to drive for him and when she isn’t helping her patron and his pals wreck their priceless vehicles, she finds herself the object of the unwanted affections of the deranged Michael, whose hard-core efforts to win her heart suggest what “The Collector” might have been like in the hands of Hal Needham. Luckily, she catches the eye of another apparently deranged suitor–Carlo (Nathan Phillips, an Australian actor whose work is so bad that after the screening I attended, an Australian in the audience actually apologized to me on behalf of his entire homeland for the shame his countryman had wrought), an Iraq war vet who has returned home with plenty of unchecked rage and a chip on his shoulder regarding Michael, who turns out to be his uncle–and he is able to win her heart with a little bit of kindness and a lot of expertly deployed C4 explosives. In between all of that, Nat is still able to belt out a few tunes with a band that sounds, based on what we hear of them he, destined for a career of having their tunes rejected from the soundtracks of those Playboy video productions. My favorite tune of the bunch is a priceless ditty–a ballad, no less–featuring lyrics such as “You can grip me like your steering wheel” and “You can turbo-charge me if you like it fast.” Remind me when I am finished writing this to go to iTunes to see if it is available for download.

Needless to say, “Redline” is crap through and through–it almost makes one think more kindly of the likes of “2 Fast 2 Furious” when mentally comparing the two. The characters are either hateful swine (it says a lot that the sleazy movie producer played by Matheson turns out to be the most likable one of display) or blank-faced dopes. The screenplay is threadbare even by the standards of car-crash epics–war hero Carlo is actually introduced to us with a voice-over that describes him as “The war hero–he fights for what he believes in.” Even the footage of the autos in action, presumably the central selling point, are curiously slipshod in their stagings–everything has been filmed so artlessly and edited so haphazardly that it is impossible for any of it to register. Compare the chase sequences here to the magnificent chase that tops off “Death Proof” and you will essentially receive a complete education in how and how not to put together such scenes. Alas, it is evident that director Andy Cheng must have skipped that particular class–the only thing he seems to know how to do is parade a never-ending assortment of scantily-clad women before his camera as though he were shooting either a training video for Hooters or a feature-length homage to Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” video.

That said, even though “Redline” is as noisy and idiotic as anything that has come down the pike lately, I must confess that I have absolutely no regrets about seeing it and I feel that way for one simple reason–the astoundingly flamboyant turn from Angus Macfadyen as the bad guy. Though the name may not be familiar, you have probably seen him before–he played Orson Welles in “The Cradle Will Rock” and has also popped up in “Braveheart,” “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” and “Saw III”–but I can guarantee that you have never seen him (or anyone else for that matter not named Christopher Walken) deliver a performance as bizarre as the one he offers up here. You know how Marlon Brando would occasionally sign on to a movie that he had no faith in simply for a hefty paycheck and would express his contempt by playing his role with an array of weirdo voices, tics and mannerisims–films like “Mutiny on the Bounty” or “The Missouri Breaks” or that one Christopher Columbus project he did? Okay, now imagine that Brando amusing himself between takes on those films by doing impressions of Mickey Rourke’s equally hair-raising work in “Wild Orchid.” That is the kind of performance that Macfadyen gives here–he grimaces, screams, drools and dances with such reckless disregard for even the basic tenets of credibility that all you can do is stare at him in total bewilderment and wonder “What was he thinking?” Now that I think about it, maybe “Redline” is less a vehicle for Daniel Sadek to show off his cars and his lady friend–perhaps Macfadyen wronged him in some way years ago and he has decided to spend his hard-earned fortune to create a film that will destroy the actor’s career once and for all.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16142&reviewer=389
originally posted: 04/30/07 22:11:26
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User Comments

2/15/09 Carol Baker all glitter with girls and cars but not substance in plot 1 stars
8/29/07 Greg cool cars, beautiful girl, no deep plot but a good way to kill time 4 stars
4/28/07 X-Zero The only good thing about the movies were the cars and the girls. Everything else sucks ass 2 stars
4/22/07 Gina Horrible... Waste of money!!!!! 1 stars
4/21/07 me. the movie absolutly sucked. there was no point. 1 stars
4/20/07 tc nice cars ruined by all the talking and gratuitous silicone 2 stars
4/17/07 Nick Worst Piece of CRAP ever put on film. A big celluloid TURD 1 stars
4/17/07 movie sucked! this movie was so stupid its not even funny.. not worht talking about 1 stars
4/17/07 What was that? That movie was horrible. No plot no point just a waste of money buying the ticket. 1 stars
4/16/07 Mark Flannigan Great movie! Plot was Ok, but the cars and action made up for it 5 stars
4/15/07 pimpin in the lambo this movie was boooommmbbbb!!and the chick was hot as hell 5 stars
4/15/07 Ian Anderson this was absolutly horrible.. i wantd to kill myself 1 stars
4/15/07 Mike This Movie ROCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
4/15/07 Mark Wrigley The movie was awesome. The stunts were sick. The girls were amazingly hott!!! 5 stars
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  13-Apr-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 21-Aug-2007



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