Torque (7/10)

Copyright © 2004 by Tony Medley

Regular readers of these critiques know that Iím not a big fan of special effects and ridiculous car chases. So one would expect a scathing opinion of Torque, which is virtually nothing but motorcycle chases and impossible stunts.

Au contraire! This looks to me to be a video game with real live people. It doesnít have a profound script that is ruined by idiotic special effects and stunts. I donít want to downplay the script (Matt Johnson), though, because itís clever. It knows what it is and doesnít try to be something it isnít. Torgue not only doesnít take itself seriously, itís got itís tongue planted firmly in itís cheek, making fun of itself throughout. Despite the action and the tension, being light-hearted, it is a welcome addition to the motorcycle genre, which includes Marlon Brandoís The Wild One (1953) and Dennis Hopperís Easy Rider (1969).

Cary Ford (Martin Henderson) is a biker who ran out on his girl friend, Shane (Monet Mazur), who is a woman who can ride a bike and take care of herself, but returns and immediately gets framed for the murder of the brother of biker and gang leader Trey (Ice Cube). In addition heís in possession of some bikes owned by Henry (Matt Schulze), a sociopathic drug dealer. As if this is not enough, heís being pursued by an FBI agent (Adam Scott). So heís being chased by everybody and gets everything resolved in only 81 minutes, which I also liked.

This film is inundated with the best motorcycles, including the extremely rare Y2K, of which there are only 10 in the world, one of which is owned by Jay Leno. This is a machine that can go from 0 to 227 mph in 15 seconds! Of the 70 bikes used in the film, four are choppers designed and built by Jesse James. Each bike takes 18 months to build and cost from $60,000 to $150,000. Throughout most of the film Cary rides an Aprilia Mille RSV, an Italian bike that can reach 180 mph and go from 0-100 in only 6.4 seconds. You didnít ask, but itís considered a ďsuperbike,Ē and retails for $25,000.

If you like noise and speed and stunts, youíll like this. I knew what I was getting in to when I went, so I wasnít expecting Hamlet. Directed by Joseph Kahn, who is a giant in the music video world with a Grammy and lots of MTV Music Video awards to his credit, itís fun, there are some good lines, and there are some spectacular stunts and photography. What else do you have to do with 81 minutes?

January 14, 2004

The End