Monday, November 07, 2005

Torque

I watched a DVD last night; the bikers' movie "Torque." I just couldn't resist the macho cover with a sneering Ice Cube surrounded by boys toys.

IMDB ranked this at #33 in their list of all time worst movies, with a 2.6 user rating, categorizing it as an 'idiot exploitation movie.' Maybe I'm getting old (actually, I'm sure I am) but this all seems a bit harsh. I thought it was entertaining (in a perverse sort of way) and well worth seeing (um ... with caveats: forget your thinking cap; treat yourself to a six-pack first, preferably a working class American beer like Rolling Rock). History of the production? Producer Neal Moritz of 'Fast & Furious' on seeing the film 'Biker Boys' said 'Dude, we can do that." The plot was 'Fast and Furious 2" but with bikes instead of cars (or did I need to say that?)

Plot Summary: What plot? (surely you're joking) . No; instead of time consuming character development, the producers opted for stunningly good looking nobodies from central casting (lots cheaper). Buff-Biker-Dude Cary Ford, the prototypical Misunderstood-Manly-Man-With-A-Soft-Side (played by Russell Crowe wannabe Martin Henderson), is being chased by three separate groups of bad guys. Meanwhile, all he wants to do is clear his name of a wrongful drug charge and reunite with the Love-of-His-Life, Shane (Monet Mazur, who's pretty good until she tries to utter a line of the so-called dialogue). On his tail are an FBI Agent who looks like a rock band refugee (Adam Scott); Trey (Ice Cube, how much emoting would you expect from someone with that moniker), the leader of the Reapers (grim), who believes Ford killed his little brother; and Henry James (Matt Schulze), the top dog of the Hellions (or a novelist who's peeved that his name is being used in this movie). With so many bad guys around, it's a wonder that neither Christopher Walken nor Dennis Hopper does a walk-on (not that the movie needs anymore villians)

Bikes and Bikers: Instead of white hats and black hats, the characters ride Japanese sportbikes (white hats); Harleys (black hats) and Triumphs (grey hats)

Cary Ford (Martin Henderson): The young and restless protagonist, an outlaw chased by the Feds, who is really innocent. He rides Japanese sportbikes. His behavior is typically bikerish. You'd just know that, for example, rather than recycling his empty beer bottles, he would drop them on the concrete to hear them shatter( or else throw them into his neighbors yard; he does both in the movie). At one point, Cary says, "I live my life a quarter mile at a time." Shane responds with, "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard!" ... a poke at Fast and the Furious Vin Diesel's character phrase in that movie.

Shane (Monet Mazur; who incidentally played in the band Nancy Raygun and whose father designed the Rolling Stone's mouth logo) is Cary Ford's love interest: This is a girl who can handle herself while saddled up on a Japanese sport bike (you get to see this in a catfight late in the movie involving close quarter endos and acrobatics peppered with frequent outcries of 'bitch'). She can also disassemble a carburetor while standing up and without a workbench (or check your fuel injectors).

Trey (Ice Cube): Plays himself. Why tamper with a winning formula. Rides a Triumph Daytona

Val (Will Yun Lee, who played Col. Moon in 'Die Another Day'): This is the good gang's Dr. Spock, and he gets a great looking girl in the end too.

Henry James (Matt Schultz): Bad guy; rides a Harley, not a sport bike, and sports a girlfriend with a pierced, well, everything and ghoulish makeup. His gang likes to knock off its opponents with discarded motorcycle chains (though all the new Harleys seem to sport rubber V-belts).

It all brings to mind a movie review I saw many years ago for "Hells Angels on Wheels" (1967). It was about a war between motorcycle gangs, and its cast included an unknown actor named Jack Nicholson, who the critic did not even name, although he found room to mention Adam Roarke, John Garwood and Sabrina Scharf. The critic, observing that "sometimes good stuff creeps into exploitation pictures just because nobody cares enough to keep it out," made the following points:

  • "The characters are authentically surly, irresponsible, mean, coarse and human."
  • Sabrina Scharf "makes you wonder how she keeps her makeup on while raising hell with the angels."
  • The "accomplished camera work" includes "one shot where the camera moves in andout of focus through a field of green grass and then steals slowly across one of the big,brutal cycles. The contrast has an impact equal to David Lean's similar shots in "DoctorZhivago" (remember the frosty window fading into the field of flowers?)."
  • "The film is better than it might have been, and better than it had to be. Take it on its own terms and you might find it interesting."


Indeed. Don't you love the movies!?



2 Comments:

Blogger suzan Krypto said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:41 AM  
Blogger suzan Krypto said...

Good work nice review and also good work performs entire star cast i like the apperance of Red Cary. but he is looking quite sexy in Torque Red Cary Ford Jacket i like him too much.......

6:42 AM  

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