Redline (2007)

People bitch about how video games get a bad rap, but these days so many action movies are built around this concept that make them live action video games. It’s impossible not to hate on video games when so many action movies want to convince us that they really could be if a studio tried hard enough. Take “Redline” a movie thankfully obscure due to a poor release date and terrible publicity, but is really just constructed like a video game. We have cut scenes, colorful characters, bosses, and various drivers all of whom are introduced with profiles and name inserts by heroine Natasha who takes great pains to give us back story without the script ever having to do the work to good old fashioned storytelling.

The rest is reliant on really badly CGIed race sequences while folks like Tim Matheson and Eddie Griffin try to pick up the slack. Natasha has a sordid history with driving (of course) but after years of avidly avoiding any and all of it in spite of selling muscle cars and racing them for potential customers (Makes sense…?), she is pulled in to the underground world of illegal racing (obviously) where she confronts her demons once again while evading the law. Just take “The Fast and the Furious” and “Speed Racer” and you have “Redline” in a nutshell. It’s all a very predictable affair that most movie viewers with common sense can figure in seconds flat.

Obviously Nadia Bjorlin wasn’t cast because she’s the next Hepburn, but her performance is so flat, you can barely tell if she’s trying to act or model for the camera. She’s a woman so superb that her make up never smudges even when she’s sleeping or gets in to a car crash, and the closest we see emotions in her is when she’s frowning looking at the newspaper clipping from her dad’s death.  When Bjorlin isn’t mugging for the camera trying to convince us she’s anything but a pin up model, we get an aggravating Eddie Griffin, apathetic Angus McFayden, and bored Tim Matheson all of whom seem about as out of place as Max Von Sydow in “Rush Hour 4.”

Not that we’re comparing Griffin to Von Sydow. “Redline” is your typical brain dead racing flick, and one that doesn’t make me long for the days of B movie, even though in the past this would have been the perfect double bill with a better picture like “Death Race.” And that’s not saying much. It’s your typical studio vehicle so to speak, about the illegal world of underground racing with hot women, no brains, and a paper thin plot that’s basically non-existent or relevant to the events on screen. You’d be better off watching “Death Race 2000.”