A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although the cool cars and sexy women may appeal to teens (particularly boys), this is a violent film -- explosions, gunfights, fistfights, etc. -- that glamorizes illegal street and track racing. While the action scenes are exciting to a certain extent, there's not much acknowledgement of the injuries that the racers so obviously incur. Their cars blow up, and the other drivers cackle. There's some racy content, and plenty of swearing and drinking. Theoretically, the movie is about one woman's willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve her dream -- to be a rock star -- but this major plot point is used simply as a device; there's little exploration.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In REDLINE, music producer Infamous (Eddie Griffin), movie director Jerry (Tim Matheson), and quasi-hippie entrepreneur Michael (Angus Macfadyen) play a high-stakes game in which they bet on illegal races featuring luxury sports cars. Jason (Jesse Johnson) drives for Michael, who happens to be his uncle, but now that Jason's heroic brother, Carlo (Nathan Phillips), is back from Iraq, he's starting to see Michael as the crazed sociopath he truly is -- a man who's only concerned about money and, of course, automobiles. When a race goes awry and Jason winds up dead, Carlo vows revenge. In the middle of it all is glamorous mechanic/singer Natasha Martin (Nadia Bjorlin), who has to fend off Michael's lecherous advances while finding a way to heal from her father's death.
Is it any good?
Calling itself an "auto-action thriller," redline fetishizes speedy sports cars but lurches like a clunker, barely making any sense. Natasha and Carlo, ostensibly the film's romantic pair, have little chemistry. Nearly every plot twist is a cliché, and the dialogue is equally uninspired. For instance, Jason and Carlo keep calling each other "bro" or "brother" ("Be safe, bro," "I won, bro"). We get it -- they're siblings, and the older, responsible one wants to "save" the younger, less-discerning one. The list of faults goes on. The characters are hastily drawn and inconsistent. For example, in the beginning, when Natasha one-ups Infamous at the track by proving her racing mettle, she seems like a force to be reckoned with; but for the rest of the movie, she's the stereotypical damsel in distress. Also, viewers never understand why Michael is so diabolical, except perhaps that the movie needs a villain. They also don't get to know Carlo very well; he's just there to jump in and play superhero when necessary.
Redline isn't a total lost cause: Moviegoers simply looking to spend 90 minutes drooling over cars won't be disappointed. The table at this visual automotive feast is laden with a Phantom Rolls Royce, Ferraris, a Lamborghini, and Mercedes SLRs. And director Andy Cheng actually shows some prowess with the driving scenes, which have a modicum of style and are, on occasion, even thrilling. Quick cuts and split-screens speed up the action. But what the audience ends up with is T&A -- and in this case, the "a" stands for "automobiles." Bottom line? There's room in life for mindless cinematic entertainment. But this one's simply mindless.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about racing. Why does the media tend to glamorize the sport? Does anything -- the sport's danger, for example -- get lost in the process? Do any movies and/or TV shows offer a more realistic view of racing? Families can also discuss gambling. How do people become gambling addicts? Does the way gambling is depicted in the movie make it appealing? Why? Finally, parents can ask their kids about the role that women play in the movie. Aside from Natasha, are any other female characters strong and powerful? For that matter, does Natasha herself really seem powerful?
- In theaters: April 13, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: August 21, 2007
- Cast: Angus Macfadyen, Nadia Bjorlin, Nathan Phillips
- Director: Andy Cheng
- Studio: Chicago Films
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence, reckless behavior, sexual content, language and drug references.
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