So far, 2017 hasn’t given us much to look at, unless you enjoy watching protracted dumpster fires. So, of course, the logical thing to do is to look back. Ten years, to be exact, which brings us to 2007 and the birth one of the greatest terrible car movies ever made: Redline.
Have you seen this movie? It’s about a bunch of bored-as-shit rich dudes who get drivers to race their supercars against each other for million-dollar bets on public roads, closed off airports and desert highways. America’s sweetheart Nadia Bjorlin plays Natasha, a mechanic that quit racing after the tragic death of her race car driver father, who was killed at the track.
Nevertheless, she still gets roped into driving for these lunatics and winds up getting kidnapped by one of the rich guys, who also happens to be an insane creep, like most actual rich guys. A number of explosions, fistfights and gratuitous shots of shifting and tachometer-climbing needles later, all conflicts are settled and the good guys walk away, still good.
“Hot cars and HOTTER women,” a critic raved.
The Enzo belonged to the film’s producer, Daniel Sadek, who was also the owner of Quick Loan Funding, a home loans company, which was accused of predatory lending. Of course, once the housing bubble burst, Quick Loan Funding went out of business.
Everything is terrible.
But anyway! Sadek would use the earnings from Quick Loan Funding to buy exotic cars and produce movies like Redline. His personal cars made appearances in the film, including the Enzo and a Porsche Carrera GT (that was also wrecked for production value.)
Knowing all of that kind of left a bad taste in my mouth as I revisited Redline again last night, but once I started the film, I gave myself up entirely to the gaudy superimposed titles, bad CGI, extreme douchebaggery, and the butts.
My god, there were so many butts.
Dare I say it? Yes: there are way more pointless butt shots in this movie than there are in all the Fast and Furious movies combined.
At its uppermost level, Redline is a shallow, crap picture. The acting is abhorrent, the lines are flat and everything feels cheap. It takes itself just seriously enough to be utterly mockable, like it’s the last one in on the joke. It embodies the very worst parts of car culture: gluttony, misogyny, female objectification, overt aggression, excessive testosterone and wanton disregard for public safety and discourse.
But man, are the cars good. (Here is a link that may or may not include the entire movie that you may or may not click on at your own discretion.)
Redline came out during what was, in retrospect, one of the greatest eras of supercars. The most high-end cars of the 2000s had power and performance figures that are still respectable to this day. They had monstrous engines, some supercharged and some not. A lot of them were manuals and if they weren’t, they had brutal, single-clutch semi-automatic transmissions. The ones that kicked you in the back of the head when you shifted.
Within nearly 90 minutes of dated color-correction, tasteless split-screen shots and pointless plot, you’ll see a Lamborghini Murciélago, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Ford GT, Ferrari F430, Porsche Carrera GT, Saleen S7, Lamborghini Diablo, Ferrari Enzo and a Koenigsegg CCX.
These cars were uncomfortable. They were loud. They ate gas like motherfuckers. They had wings, flares and gills. Had wide and bold angles that so defined their 2000s looks. And most times, they weren’t even engineered perfectly so they were dangerous. That part of them were features, not defects. Hybrid power? That’s for Priuses, you hippie bastard.
And best of all, you got to hear them in Redline. You got to see them move, speed and drift. How often do you see one of these cars at a Cars and Coffee event and it’s just parked there, not going anywhere—silent. Cars, especially these ones, are meant to be driven and enjoyed.
For that reason, Redline is great. Don’t watch it for the story, don’t watch it for the actors. But if you’re tired of international heist movies, maybe this box-office bomb is worth a revisit.