Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

It is time I discussed the movie ‘Torque’ with you, loyal reader, and enlighten you on why it’s one of the greatest films ever made.  When me and some friends get together and the subject turns to film, invariably the topic ‘best films ever’ bubbles to the top.  Amidst your ‘Godfathers’ and ‘Pulp Fictions’ and ‘Bravehearts’ and ‘Titanics’ I will toss in music video director Joseph Kahn’s ‘Torque’ into the mix.  Usually that statement is first met with laughter, followed by disbelief, then derision and finally, acceptance.

Martin Henderson is Ford, a fast racing motorcycle tweaking savant who suddenly vanished a couple of years ago leaving his girl and crew behind with out so much as a forwarding address.  He’s back now, and though the crew is happy to see their boy, his girl Shane (Monet Mazur) on the other hand is pissed as hell and wants little to do with him.  Somebody else is happy to see Ford return too and that would be big hog racing and completely evil Henry (Matt Schulze) who wants something that Ford took with him when he disappeared.  To expedite Ford’s demise, Henry murders the brother of the biggest, baddest, ruffest, tuffest motorcycle riding, Escalade driving crew on the planet led by Trey (Ice Cube) and squarely places the all of the blame on Ford.  Throw in a couple of FBI agents who also want Ford’s hide in a sling, and the die is cast.

Allow us to deconstruct Torque if you will.  This film comes at a time when Hollywood thought fast racing flicks must be what the target demographic wants to see, so they released ‘The Fast and the Furious’, ‘Biker Boys’, ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ and a host

of others.  Those movies are lame.  It could easily be argued that ‘Torque’ is lame as well, but there is one thing that sets ‘Torque’ apart from these films.  Brevity.  I’m watching this film on HBO or Showtime or something, because I’ll be damned if I drag my ass to the show to watch some mess like this or even rent it on DVD (though I own it now).  The movie starts, the plot develops, things happen which make little or no sense, and just about the time one is about yell ‘This is some BULLSHIT’, the ending credits start to roll.  And I finished watching the movie.  I sit back with the remote in my hand and start to think ‘hey, that wasn’t so bad’.  After some more pondering, I start to realize not only was it ‘not so bad’ it was pure genius.  The creators of the movie ‘Torque’ got it.

I imagine these guys shot a movie, edited it, screened it and then were hit with a sad reality.  This thing is unwatchable.  Not wanting to be like most production companies and just dump a total heap of crap on an unsuspecting public, the visionaries at Warner Brothers sent the filmmaker back to work to try and fix this thing.  Most of the dialog?  Cut.  Bulk of the plot?  Trimmed to the bone.  Characters lacking hotness?  On the cutting floor.  What do we have left?  Insane bike racing (bikes fly, set the streets on fire, ride on top of trains, and create electrical storms). Ladies blessed with supreme hotness such as Christina Milan, Jamie Pressley, Monet Mazur. Outlandish product placement as in one scene of note, Monet Mazur have big bike jousting battle.  Jamie stands under a HUGE Pepsi mural, Monet sits under an equally large Mountain Dew mural and tells Jamie to ‘Bring it on Bitch’.  Classic.  Ice Cube’s snarl, an over the top villain, and a hero who has razor stubble, wears leather and ‘doesn’t play by the rules’.  After they cook all that up, regurgitate it, spit it out, then layer it with some nice visual effects and a generic techno sound track, ‘Torque’ clocks in at a scant 80 minutes.  With credits.

Unlike other bad movies, Torque recognized itself for what it was and ran with it.  Remember the push-up ice cream bar?  You’d run out to truck, get your treat and push up that not-so-good orange sherbet thinking you probably should have gone with a bomb pop, and then, without warning, it’s all gone.  The next time the truck comes by, you forget that the sherbet was nasty, you just remember that empty feeling that it left when it was gone.  And that, loyal reader, is why Torque is one of my favorite movies of ALL-TIME!!!

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