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Review byMatthew Turner3/03/2004

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Another ‘new wave’ exploitation flick from the producer of The Fast and The Furious, Torque is as fast-paced and loud as it is dumb.

The press notes for Torque provide a handy definition of the title: “a force that produces rotation or torsion; a rotating or twisting force”. For the movie itself, a more apt definition might be: “The Fasterer and the Furiouser” or perhaps: “The Speedy and the Really Rather Ticked Off”, as it’s from the same exploitation formula as both The Fast and The Furious and its sequel, as overseen by producer Neal Moritz.

As such, it mixes good-looking male leads (not you, Cube), hot women and hotter bikes, with loud, colourful action sequences and a script that attempts to prove that it’s in on the joke.

Fugitive Biker Seeks Reckoning

Martin Henderson (from The Ring remake) stars as fugitive biker Cary (CARY? Seriously?) Ford, who blows back into town in order to get back his girl, Shane (Monet Mazur) and clear his name. Six months previously, he’d been left in possession of several bikes filled with drugs that belonged to Evil Bad Guy and leader of the ‘Hellions’ bike gang, Henry James (frankly, they missed a trick by not naming the other characters Nathaniel Hawthorne, Scott Fitzgerald and Mark Twain, but never mind) and now, James wants them back.

When Ford refuses to hand over the bikes, James frames him for the murder of Junior, the younger brother of rival gang leader Trey (Ice Cube) and Ford finds himself on the run from the Feds (lead by Adam Scott and Justina Machado – both from Six Feet Under), the Hellions and Cube’s ‘Reapers’.

With the help of Shane and his two best friends (Will Yun Lee and Jay Hernandez from crazy/beautiful), he has to clear his name the only way he knows how: by driving really, really fast and smashing shit up. Oh yes.

To be fair, both Henderson and Mazur can act as well as look pretty, even when delivering some of the script’s dodgier lines. Cube, meanwhile, coasts through the entire film with his natural charisma and his Comedy Scowling.

There’s also good support from Jay Hernandez and Adam Scott, and Matt Schulze as James (half man, half mullet) makes an amusingly rubbish villain, growling his every line in a failed attempt to be scary. In fact, even his girlfriend (Jamie Pressley) is scarier than he is, particularly with her odd compulsion for licking her lips, writhing and pouting every 15 seconds.

Shoddy CGI And Terrible Product Placement

The script tries hard to convince us that it’s in on the joke, poking fun at some of the dumber set pieces and having the characters pull each other up when they deliver really stupid lines – for example, Ford says “I live my life a quarter mile at a time” (a line from The Fast and the Furious) and Shane replies “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard”. As a strategy, this almost works, but just because the film-makers know their film is stupid, doesn’t make it any less stupid.

What really lets the film down in the end is some very shoddy CGI work – the climactic sequence is both confusing and poorly handled and resembles a knock-off video game more than anything else.

That said, fans of bad movies will relish the following scenes: the ridiculous set-piece with Cube and Henderson riding their “crotch rockets” through and on top of a moving train; Cube using a mobile phone and reading a map with both hands while riding his bike; and the embarrassingly awful product placement showdown between the two women – letting their bikes do wheelies and bitch-slap each other against conflicting Pepsi and Moutain Dew backdrops.

Make no mistake, Torque is complete and utter rubbish, but it’s watchable rubbish if you like things that go “vroom” and provides a few laughs for fans of Bad Movies. A damn sight better than Biker Boyz, anyway.

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Content updated: 25/02/2020 01:58

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