Wasn’t this movie already made? Yes. Biker Cary Ford (Martin Henderson) is returning to California after a six month hiatus in Thailand. He didn’t leave on the best of terms, leaving his now ex-girlfriend Shane (Monet Mazur) twisting in the wind with no reason as to why.
His return is quickly thrown into chaos. Henry (Matt Schulze), leader of a vicious biker gang called the Hellions, frames Ford for the murder of a rival gang leader’s brother. Now, Trey (Ice Cube), leader of the Reapers gang, is hell-bent on exacting revenge on Ford. He has to clear his name before Trey gets his hands on him.
Cars suck. Those words are literally seen spinning on a street sign during the first few minutes of Torque, a movie that makes no mystery as to what it is “inspired” by, that being The Fast and the Furious. Or perhaps, just maybe..it is parodying it? Whatever the matter may be, Torque doesn’t aim that high, and as such, it is hard to really be all that let down.
The connections to Torque and TFATF are clear. Both are produced by Neal H. Moritz. Both feature super-fast vehicles and testosterone-fueled characters (with Matt Schulze appearing in both). Both have relatively basic plots, with the latter being a little more “meaty,” however. To compare a movie to another isn’t the best thing to do, but when director Joseph Kahn states his intentions of making a “piss-take” version of F&F, it is impossible not to.
So, things blow up, bikes go faster than the speed of sound (especially in an end scene that is simultaneously bad and good in the opinion of yours truly), and product placement is as blunt as an Iron Mike in his prime punch. This certainly isn’t a film to take seriously, so don’t. But, if one doesn’t mind sequences looking a little video-game-ish in execution, Kahn does manage to create a few cool and over-the-top moments in Torque‘s 84 minute runtime. This is a positive, as there’s no futile effort to draw out more from a skeleton plot.
Of course, 84 minutes, counting end credits, is hardly time to build on anything substantial, including characters. The stars themselves aren’t too bad, actually. This role seems like it was made for Martin Henderson to be one of the next big action starts, but unfortunately, the movie itself quells any hopes of that. Henderson’s got the look, and he is likable. He’s just…ultimately there, though, as if he knows that there’s really no reason to try hard.
Everyone phones it in, really, saddled with one-dimensional roles. Ice Cube, and his whole crew in his biker gang, do nothing but mean-mug and be hard-asses. Cube feels like he’s playing himself, minus the intentional humor like his character has in, say, the Jump Street franchise. Matt Schulze comes off as a more dickish Vince from the first Fast and Furious, which was—you guessed it—played by Schulze. Jaime Pressly, Monet Mazur, and Christina Milian all look amazing in leather pants, and serve as the super basic romantic interests of the lead characters.
Torque is quite satisfied with being bad, and that it is. It knows it early, the stars know it early, and the viewer knows it early. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few cool moments, but it does mean that aiming to be bad does not often translate to an entertaining movie. Really, when’s the last time you remember a movie being intentionally bad that was good? Hardly ever happens.
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