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In reviewing the incredible annoying House of the Dead, I wrote, 'Why
flirt with the concept of overkill when you can make it say 'whose your
daddy?' Torque does not flirt with overkill; Torque *is* overkill's
daddy, and it was fun.
Just a few hours before I watched Scary Movie 3 and that film barely managed to summon a chuckle from me. Torque had me in stitches before the first sixty-seconds were up. After years of watching 'serious' films with ridiculously over the top chase sequences (especially lately), finally a movie comes along and puts them all in their place. I have waited a long time for a racing-movie to recognize its own lameness and just (knowingly) go for all the over-the-top stunts it can possibly collect in a loosely strung together plot about a bunch of stereotyped misfits no one really cares about.
As stated above, the key was the fact this film does not take itself seriously. Take for example the MTV quick-cut commercial editing style, its overly colorful nature in sets and props, the comic-book-ish camera angles, the overused CG for impossible camera/bike moves, and the lighting which left the high-contrast shadows in mid-day. Want more? How 'bout when a bike speeds past a road sign, making it do a Looney Toonsesque-spin, and if you look carefully you can see the words 'Cars Suck?'
Everything perfectly matched the goal this film set out to hit, which is basically a tongue-in-cheek XBox game on the silver screen so commenting on the characters and plot seems virtually pointless. It's about as well developed as most action films-characters and plot serve enough purpose to get the bikes from chase scene A to chase scene B while poking fun at characters/lines from other racing films. No more no less.
I personally loved Torque. Would I recommend it to friends, family, or Joe-Shmoe who happens to pass me by in the video store? Well . . . for those who watch films with an anal eye and point out, 'That's not a logical plot point. That defies the laws of physics. That's the single stupidest thing I've ever seen in cinema?' No. Heck no. Don't even pick up the box. However, for those who can watch a film where the comedy lay not in punch lines rather in the style -- a film that's a celebration of all things lame in all of cinema's over-glorified chase scenes? Have a blast and join in with Torque's mockery of the genre.
A lot of people think that I love the "Charlie's Angels" movies because I
think they're "so bad, they're good", when that's actually not true. On
contrary, I think they are pretty smart (especially in the precise way
constantly reference pop culture in clever and heartfelt ways). And yes,
they are totally silly and unrealistic and goofy, but what I like about
is that it's completely intentional (which is what most people don't get,
and is so obvious to me).
"Torque", on the other hand, is a perfect example of a movie that is TRULY so bad, it's good. Or at least enjoyable in a surreal, lunatic sort of way. This movie seriously doesn't have a brain in its head.
In every sense a B-movie, it most resembles those gleefully exploitive, low-budget movies that Roger Corman and Russ Meyer made decades ago, where biker gangs did battle with their switchblade-toting girlfriends at their side. And it's every bit as silly as it sounds, which could be either good news or bad news for you, depending on what kind of filmgoer you are.
Personally, I knew it was crap the whole time, but still had a blast watching it. The story is ridiculous and the dialogue is ludicrous (these characters exist in a world where when a girl says "Nice bike", the guy says "Nice a**" and she LIKES it). But I cannot fully resist a movie in which two improbably beautiful biker chicks stare each other down on their bikes in a photogenic, deserted alleyway (both of them in front of huge product logos, for extra giggles), one of them yells "Bring it on, b****!", the other whips out a switchblade, and then they charge! As a classic B-movie enthusiast, I offer no apologies for having fun watching a scene like that.
It's really not all bad, either. Martin Henderson and Monet Mazur have some genuinely nice and tender scenes together, and the great, color-conscious cinematography makes everything look so shiny you could eat off the screen. Jamie Pressly is an absolute hoot as the evil biker chick, and Adam Scott scores some laughs as a conceited F.B.I. agent.
Also, several of the action scenes are pretty amazing, once you get over the idea that this movie is obviously not taking place on planet Earth, but rather some video game universe or a 12 year-old's dream.
I wish Ice Cube was off doing the kinds of good movies he used to make (like "Three Kings", the original "Friday", "Boyz N The Hood", "Higher Learning", "Ghosts Of Mars"...), but he contributes some laughs as one of the heavies here. I do wish he had changed his expression at least once, though. You know the one where he grits his teeth and curls his upper lip so that he look like he hates your guts and steam is about to come out of his ears? That's the one that he has throughout the entire movie.
Basically, I'm not gonna fight for this movie or anything, I realize it's of essentially no value. I'll just say that it made it easy for me to shut off my brain and I enjoyed it, and maybe you will too. I give "Torque" 3 stars the same way I would give "Switchblade Sisters" 3 stars. They're awful and cheesy, but a hell of a lot of fun, and that counts for something, doesn't it?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
...And just about as nutritious for anyone seeking a coherent
or serious characters. But being an aficionado of low-rent
movies, I took TORQUE for what it was -- a video game on film
had no relationship to the laws of physics. Roger Corman
be proud of this puppy.
I loved the look of it. I hate the desert (where it seems 75% of this film was shot) but it seemed so lovely, I almost wanted to visit the locations. Martin and Monet are beautiful to look at and almost pull off their "tougher-than-thou" attitudes. Ice Cube was dope (meant in the good way, not the dumb one) and the bad boys (and grrrrl) were just too much fun. Joseph Kahn shows promise as a director (if someone will please put him on Valium); his quiet moments were just as nice as his non-stop action ones.
What's bad? I can't say the script was because it's obvious there really wasn't one except in the loosest sense. The editing was so in your face, I got lost a few times and still cannot figure out how one character died except he went BOOM on his bike in downtown LA. I was a bit offended at how all the black guys were portrayed in a stereotypical "bad-assed-muthaf**kah" way as opposed to the cool as cucumber confidence of "the lead three and she" and the "we're refugees from MAD MAX" baddies.
Let's put it this way -- cotton candy is probably the worst thing you can put in your body in the way of anything edible, but if you got a craving for it, nothing else will do. And that's TORQUE, to the "max."
What's with the hate for this movie? Why can't people just take this
movie for what it is? This movie is just simply good B-movie action
entertainment. Its obviously no Oscar material, no but did you
seriously expected it to be? At least it doesn't take itself as serious
as both the Fast and the Furious movies did. You know that when you are
going to watch a movie like "Torque" you are going to see a bad story
with some second rate actors but with some nice action.
And this movie surely has some nice action. The motorcycle sequences are surprising good and tense. Most of the stunts were nicely choreographed and the movie has some nice camera tricks and nice editing. It's obvious when watching this movie that Joseph Kahn is a music video director but that certain style works perfect for a fast paced movie like this. Joseph Kahn seems like a talented and well motivated director, of which I'm sure we will hear more of in the future.
Yeah sure, the ending is pretty bad and fake looking but it didn't ruined the movie for me in any way. I was entertained throughout the entire movie by some nice action.
The movie has a bit of an awkward kind of humor, which they should had left out in my opinion. The script is not very well written but still the actors pull it of to make their characters likable and give them a personality. Would I mind seeing "Torque 2"? Most certainly not! I would rather see a "Torque 2" than a "The Fast and the Furious 3".
Really, just give this movie a chance, you might very well end up liking it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT*
I saw "Torque" in a near deserted movie theater. It was me in the second row and two 13 or 14 year old guys in the back row. We were the target audience. "Torque" hit a bullseye for us. So if you're not a teenage boy or a B-movie lunatic, avoid "Torque". If you fit into the profile audience for an insane biker flick, see this movie immediately.
"Torque" is hilarious. I was cheering through the whole thing. It wasn't just the stunts that had me going. It was the dialogue as well. When the main biker tries to make up with his girlfriend who he ditched he says, "I wrote letters." She says, "I made fires." I just had a laughing fit writing that.
Ice Cube shows up as the angriest biker in the world. He has a permanent scowl on his face. Just looking at him had me laughing. All the macho elements of a biker flick are on proud display. The hard rock was cranked up as the bikers did battle. There was Kid Rock and Static-X. It was a hard rock party. I had a good time.
Speaking of Static-X, the last scene with super hot Jaime Pressly has "Push it" blasting away as she does battle with the main blonde biker. Ah Jaime. What a special effect you are. Good Lord, she can squeeze into a pair of leather pants. Gotta love it.
I caught this movie on DVD the other day. I thought it was going to be terrible. It was actually great! The action goods are all there, but five minutes into it I got the joke and was laughing with it (not at it). I don't think this movie will appeal to everyone, but it will get two types for sure: action gearheads who just want a solid uncomplicated action picture, and smart viewers who can appreciate clever film-making and the in-jokes threaded throughout. After seeing the cameo of Dennis Weaver still being chased by the truck from Duel after thirty years, I was won over by the Torque's own charms. First of all it the director, cinematographer, and editor did a great job. This film looks incredible. For those of you who actually care about film-making, this film is densely loaded with interesting angles and techniques that somehow manage to work as a cohesive style. I love the way Joseph Kahn stages scenes. It's very creative and he has a sharp sense of timing - action and comedywise. An overlooked first effort and I would like to see more from him. Second, I thought Martin Henderson as Cory Ford did a solid job as your typical running from the law good guy. I liked his charisma and hope he does more action flicks. There are some standout sequences but my favorites are the opening car chase, the train sequence, the freeway, and the surreal, over-the-top Playstation style ending. What's great is that each has its own feel so that there is no sense of repetition. You feel like each chase brings something new to the table, unlike other ilk of this genre. Need I say anything about the women in this film? Wow. I would let Jaime Pressly ride my bike anytime she wants. A word about the bad reviews here: ignore them. The film is too good as an action movie to be dismissed - what are the looking for, Cold Mountain? Disregard anyone who complains about the "pepsi product placement" for that is most definitely someone who did not get the joke (two motorcycle dominatrix chicks staged opposite from each other under big prominent soft drink signs - classic!). I think the movie suffers from a minor contradiction - it's script is too dumb, but it's film-making is too smart. Yes, the story is crap, but you don't watch a motorcycle chase movie for STORY. If you sit back and enjoy this modern riff on Roger Corman, you might find a smile on your face. If you have the ability to appreciate the sly wit of smart visual film-making, you could find yourself cheering like I did. Worst movie ever? Ridiculous. Three 1/2 out of five stars, maybe more.
I liked this movie. There was nothing special about it at all. Everything looked fake and most of the stunts were beyond believable. Who Cares? It is a fun movie that not only pokes fun at itself but at the makers own other movie Fast and Furious. I thought this was a fun watch and all the votes seem to be coming from people who were looking for a serious movie with great acting. Why? You can tell by previews this is not that kind of film. This is a great way to just entertain yourself. Go see it soon.
This movie has tones of high octane thrills it almost makes you forget about a storyline. Because the story seems to drag itself around. For its action moments that seems to come in every 5-10 minutes of the movie. If not for the action this movie would be dull. Martin Henderson seems to do allright, and so does Ice Cube. But it's Monet Mazur, who seems to have a great blend of beauty and toughness in her role. I think she can have a great career ahead of her. The action was awesome, but acting was dull. But then again I thought Fast and The Furious was no better. It does'nt try to be anything truly terrific, it just tries to be a movie you can enjoy with your friends.
Released in 2004, "Torque" cost $40 million and only made a little over
half back at the USA box office. It's therefore not a very well-known
film, but its gained a hardcore cult following in the years since.
After viewing it I can see why.
I thought it was going to be terrible, but it was actually great! The action goods are all there, but five minutes into it I got the joke and was laughing with it and not at it. I don't think "Torque" will appeal to everyone, but it will get two types for sure: action gearheads who just want a solid uncomplicated action picture, and smart viewers who can appreciate clever filmmaking and the in-jokes threaded throughout.
I fall under the second bracket since I generally loathe mindless action flicks. What takes "Torque" beyond mindless physics-defying action is pointed out above: the film is cleverly made and filled with hilarious in-jokes. Director Joseph Kahn has a history in flashy music videos and this comes across on the screen. It's pure eye-candy from beginning to end with all manner of entertaining tidbits, like the brief close-up of the turtle between the racing cars at the very beginning.
The look & vibe is pure comic book come to life. Every shot, facial expression, action scene, confrontation, word, set, pose, etc. reflects this. The bikes are mostly crotch rockets but there are all kinds. The guys are coolness personified and the girls are hotness incarnated. The cast is highlighted by Martin Henderson as the worthy protagonist and Monet Mazur as his babe. Ice Cube is great as the leader of a black gang, while Matt Schulze and Jaime Pressly play the villains. There are also a couple of FBI agents in the mix.
The cinematography is gorgeous, shot in the desolate regions of S. California.
The film takes no prisoners at a brief 84 minutes. This is good since films of this ilk shouldn't overstay their welcome.
Believe it or not, there's actually some depth to the characters and storyline; we see glimpses of courage, love, friendship, repentance, respect, sacrifice and loyalty. If they would have upped the depth and offered some moving epic parts I would have easily given the film a top rating of 9/10 Stars.
But it works fine as is. It is what it is -- perhaps the ultimate cult action film ever made, pulsating with energy, creativity and excitement.
GRADE: B+ or A-
There are bad movies and then there are painful movies. Then there's
Torque which very well may have defined a new term of "bad".
For those previous comments who argue that this is a B-Movie and that viewers should "lighten up" - you need to look up your definitions. A B movie is low budget. This was obviously not low budget. I would have to lighten up to the degree of being an overexposed photograph of the kid from Powder to even watch another minute of this film again.
There is something about cult or campy flicks that is difficult to explain. On paper or at face value a campy movie can be bad but there's a sense of "fun" in it. You can watch Faster Pussycat Kill Kill and think that they actually had fun filming it AND screening it. You watch Torque and you think that on day 33 of the shoot it must have been painful beyond belief for the crew to answer their alarm clocks.
Torque doesn't work in ANY labeling of film. It isn't low budget. It doesn't feel campy. It isn't even funny bad. Unless the real life actors are complete idiots in real life they must have been downright embarrassed by this. It paid their bills though.
There is ZIP for any sort of conversation that even mildly could be construed as entertaining. The editing is a total MTV hyperkenetic ADD disaster. The stunts are neither even remotely plausible or interesting. The love interest scenario was as cliché as possible. Ice Cube couldn't act his way out of a styrofoam cup in any movie previously and it still shows.
I feel that this movie was literally a physical challenge to watch. Around the midway point I felt like I had just free climbed Devil's Tower. Perhaps I lost a few years of my life from the physical exhaustion this movie delivered to my body.
On the upside though - I feel like after having watched this movie I could watch any 9 hour insurance seminar without batting an eye. After viewing Torque, I would rather watch someone trying to start their lawn mower for 3 hours on local access cable.
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