Torque

on January 16, 2004 by Tim Cogshell
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The constant breaking of the laws of physics--which is regularly done to create the snappier racing sequences for "Torque"--is only one of the ways this film is irritating. There's the dialogue (trite and silly), the acting (bad), the pedestrian narrative (trite, silly and bad) and its expectation that none of that matters if the energy level is high enough and the cast is cute enough. But what's most annoying about "Torque" is the fact that with its very high-energy action and extraordinarily cute cast, none of it probably will.

The story is about a biker named Cary (Martin Henderson) who's back in town after six months on the run from both the cops and the leader of the Hellions, a drug dealer named Henry (Matt Schulze of "The Transporter") whose drugs Cary stashed before splitting town. Cary also has issues with Trey (Ice Cube), the leader of the Reapers, who thinks he killed his younger brother. And then there's the girl he left behind, Shane (Monet Mazur), the sexy blonde biker mechanic with whom he has an intense relationship. The inane dialogue is ubiquitous: Nearly every spoken word is rote and dumb. The same can be said for much of the acting. Ice Cube, who has previously displayed some talent onscreen, mostly yells and grimaces. The reality-ignoring stunts, both human and mechanical, are the handiwork of video and commercial director Joseph Kahn, who has a penchant for creating over-the-top visuals that don't look real. Indeed, several of the more death-defying moments in "Torque" were rendered rather than filmed.

Obviously "The Fast and the Furious" and its sequel "2 Fast 2 Furious"--and their attendant success at the box office--are the inspiration for this film, and others (see: "Biker Boyz"). Their popularity is reasonable--fast machines and fast guys with fast girls have always been fodder for popular cinema. Unfortunately, it's hardly ever been the fodder of good cinema. And isn't here, either. Starring Martin Henderson, Ice Cube, Monet Mazur, Adam Scott, Matt Schulze, Jaime Pressly and Jay Hernandez. Directed by Joseph Kahn. Written by Matt Johnson. Produced by Neal H. Moritz and Brad Luff. A Warner Bros. release. Action/Crime thriller. Rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality, language and drug references. Running time: 82 min

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