I realized recently that I was touching on a lot of our obsessions with the 6W’s (MacGuffins, plot twists, settings, cameos, and Planchets), but I had missed one: product placement. Should probably have ended up as the What?! but instead I think I’ll just sprinkle the product placements throughout the email wherever appropriate. Seems like the right thing to do.
What?! Natasha and Carlo find themselves inadvertently embroiled in the dangerous world of underground street racing. When Carlo’s brother is killed and Natasha captured by one of these racing hot shots, Carlo is out for revenge. Can he take the syndicate down, quench his thirst with some sweet Dasani Water, and rescue Natasha before it’s too late? Find out in… Redline!
Why?! Natasha just wants to further her music career. Carlo is just there to watch out for his little brother. However, all this goes out the window when Carlo’s brother succumbs to the overwhelming pressure to win and is killed attempting a risky racing maneuver. The story immediately turns to vengeance as Carlo goes after those responsible. Unlike the other racing bosses (who are fueled only by crippling gambling addictions), our main antagonist is fueled by a combination of lust for Natasha, fear that he’ll be killed over his gambling debts, and his own psychotic tendencies.
How?! Carlo has a simple backstory as he has just returned from the army as a war hero to find his younger brother is racing for an evil gangster. The backstory for Natasha, however, is much denser. She is the daughter of a famous racecar driver killed in a tragic accident. While she herself possesses great talent in the sport, she can’t race as a result of the trauma of that loss. Instead she aspires to be a singer. When an underground racing fat cat sees her talent he tricks and bribes her into racing for him, only to turn around and bet her as stakes in the race against his evil rival. The stories converge when Carlo’s brother and Natasha race each other, Carlo’s brother is killed, and Natasha is taken captive. Carlo wants to kill the evil gangster, but ends up rescuing Natasha instead. When Natasha is subsequently blackmailed into racing they put together a dastardly plan to throw the race and get the gangster killed. Everyone lives happily ever after with huge record contracts, dope sportscars, and all the Dasani they can drink. Hooray!
Who?! Claims abound online that Wyclef Jean scored the film and appeared in a cameo. I don’t remember him showing up but it is credited (or more accurately uncredited) on IMDb. No music credit, though, just a “Thanks.” I did notice that the scumbag of a producer cameoed as a poker player who immediately loses all his money. A little foreshadowing.
Where?! Right off the bat we are treated to a rad street race from LA to Las Vegas, highlighting the two major settings for this film. I would give the main setting title to LA, but Vegas is not far behind. B
When?! I scoured the film twice over trying to find an exact date. There were two potential leads (a close-up of a loan contract and an issue of variety) but the quality of the video and focus of the shot wasn’t good enough to make it out. Maybe someday I’ll figure it out… maybe someday [Jamie says wistfully. A tear trickles down his cheek and tumbles playfully to his well-oiled six-pack abs]. F
Woooooo. Getting those details is like a rad racecar race at 200mph. Exhilarating. My overall impression of the film is that it’s similar to what Patrick and I might end up creating if we were ever tasked with creating a bad film. Everything is horrible, only entertaining from the viewpoint of its horribleness, and a product of extreme hubris. Most people would think it’s just boring and bad… exactly how we meant it to be. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Redline? More like Bad Sign! Amirite? So a predatory lender loves fast cars. But like … in a I-like-to-show-off-my-fast-cars-I-bought-with-my-gross-predatory-lending-profits kind of way. He also likes to show off his girlfriend, a former soap opera star trying to make it big in the industry. Presto! Making a movie is like saying your ABC’s: Action, Boobs, and Cars. What could go wrong!
The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Cars (maybe, I’m not exactly sure what people who like cars like exactly since I don’t really like cars), but that is about it. I’ll leave all of the things that did go wrong for the next section, but an interesting aspect of this film was how much of a history they managed to give everyone. Right at the end a random guy who we had not seen before pops up and the main character is like “he’s the man who killed my father” WHAT?! So obviously we are doing a prequel called Redline: Warzone. The film finds Carlo and Jason working with their father running a successful race team in NSCRA alongside and against Natasha’s father. Ultimately the movie tells the story of Michael, who is running an illegal gambling syndicate surrounding the sport, fixing the race in which Natasha’s father dies. When Jason’s father threatens to expose Michael, Michael has him killed, but staged to look like a suicide. This is all set alongside the run up to the Iraq war, and Carlo leaves for Baghdad, but not before telling Michael to stay away from Jason. Oh … if only Michael would have listened. We finally get the backstory we were all dying for!
The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – Well this is easy: Pride. On the part of the producer who was clearly a lunatic. Now that that is out of the way: The acting in this film is an atrocity, it is so bad you can only kind of notice that the crazy producer put himself in the movie and gave himself like seven lines (I only noticed it because he doesn’t at all look like an actor). The writing is ridiculous. At one point the rap producer Infamous lands his plane on a highway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas … the FAA would like to have a word with you, and the phrase “prison time” was mentioned emphatically. This is the first film in a while where I can call the direction bonkers. A lot of weird transition choices, weird CGI, the cars all look like they are travelling half speed in most shots. So yeah … Basically this is borderline barely-a-movie and it is ridiculous that it exists.
The BMT: Legacy – The legacy of this film is it is somehow quintessentially The Golden Age of Bad Movies. The Golden Age s roughly the Noughties (2000-2010), and I now think this has to do with two factors. First, CGI had made the transition to being very cheap and easy to get. Productions which might have been too expensive to make previously could now safely be greenlit with a manageable special effects budget, meaning more options (in more genres) available to producers. And second, there was a ton of money floating around due to the artificially inflated economy. This isn’t even mentioning the writer’s strike in 2007/2008! Anyways, this movie perfectly encapsulates this era: a producer with a ton of fake money to throw at terrible CGI ultimately making a vanity project that is just trash. Great stuff. That is it’s BMT legacy.
Now as for its StreetCreditReport.com? It … is borderline. It makes its way onto MTV’s worst of list of 2007 (barely), but other than that it typically get nary a whisper from things like the AV Club list I linked to for Epic Movie. From there it just kind of ends up as either first or second on blogs concerning car movies in particular. No Razzie cred … it is kind of a forgotten film. But I think a big part of its cred is in that car racing genre in particular. On occasion a film like 200 M.P.H. which was Direct-to-Video and made by the Asylum sneaks in above it, but this is basically a unanimous worst car racing film ever. That counts for something!