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According to IMDB, the working title of The Fast and the Furious was Redline. It's probably no coincidence then that the limited release movie that came out this spring actually called Redline, now out on DVD, is a shoddy, cheap, vapid recreation of that... well, shoddy, cheap and vapid film. At least The Fast and the Furious had some personality and a few charming actors peppered throughout its big-balled, fast cars and hot girls storyline. Redline has only the cars and the girls; the most memorable moment surrounding the release of this movie was when co-star Eddie Griffin crashed one of the high-priced cars before it came out, prompting suspicions that it was a publicity stunt to raise the profile of a decidedly low-profile picture.
The movie, hardly worthy of being called a film, centers around Natasha, played by the beautiful (in a WB-kind of way) Nadia Bjorlin, a woman who, after the death of her racer father caused her to trade the fast life for running a repair shop, is sucked back into the world of racing. Eddie Griffin plays a pimp/gambler hybrid named Infamous, a music mogul who dangles money and the possibility of a record contract for Natasha's crappy R'n'B-metal fusion band if she'll race for him. And so she enters the world of high-stakes betting and luxury sports car racing - and crashing. She of course finds love along the way, in the shape of Carlo, a good-boy vet just back from Iraq, played by Nathan Phillips.
Redline is the kind of tired cliché jumble and silly pandering to the urban market that makes a person want to rub glass in their eyes. An unbelievable pastiche of hip-hop-inflected kids addicted to racing in the streets of Las Vegas and Los Angeles comprises the backdrop, and Redline comes across feeling like an idea of youth culture cooked up by some coked-up studio head who doesn't know anyone under the age of 25. Natasha is a character crapped out of the fantasy mill a thousand times before; a hot but tough rebel girl who yearns to live on the edge but has stoically given it up. It's only a matter of time before she'll be pulled in again, and you can see it coming from a mile away. The plot devolves into double-crossing, murder, and nefarious gangster activity before Natasha and Carlo find themselves on the run and naked in a motel room, but the movie doesn't even give us a chance to see what's underneath Bjorlin's towel. Even more frustrating is the role of Eddie Griffin, a talented comedian whose skills are wasted on what seems to be a caricature of a high-roller rather than a real player. Griffin's performance almost feels like a satire instead of the easy-breezy gambler he's supposed to be.
If you're yearning to watch expensive cars getting demolished, bikini car washes, and video game-style split-screen races, I guess this is the film for you. If you do find yourself serving up this shit sandwich for your DVD player, I recommend fast-forwarding through the plot-heavy sections to get to the action, otherwise this silly excursion will leave you feeling like you wasted 90 minutes of your day. SEE ALSO: www.myspace.com/RedLine
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.
See other articles by Jonah Flicker.
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