Directed by Joseph Kahn
“Torque” is an action movie that plays more like a cartoon or a video game. It is full of too bright colors, exaggerated sound effects and implausible stunts. The quick cuts make the action hard to follow. It is full of Shakespearean style dialogue like “You got loud pipes but you aint sayin nuthin”. But the movie is still very entertaining and unintentionally hilarious. The plot, such as it is, involves a hard core rider named Ford (Martin Henderson) who has returned to California after 6 months in Thailand. He has come back to set things right with his girlfriend Shane (Monet Mazur) and clear his name with the FBI, who want him for drug dealing. Ford joins up with his two friends Dalton (Jay Hernandez) and Val (Will Yun Lee) and heads to a motorcycle rally featuring a bikini bike wash, a leather clad biker babe holding an albino burmese python and violent rival biker gangs which puts me in mind of the last BMW rally I attended. At the rally he has a confrontation with mullet headed biker, Henry James (Matt Shulze). Every time I heard the name Henry James I thought of the 19th century English writer, but I don’t think Kevin had that problem. It turns out the drugs belong to James and he wants them back from Ford. James sets Ford up to be killed by the biker gang, the Reapers, by framing Ford for the murder of Junior, brother of Trey (Ice Cube), the Reapers’ leader. The rest of the movie features Ford, Dalton, Val and Shane running across California chased by the Reapers, the FBI and Henry James. The most entertaining character in the movie is the evil biker bitch, China (Jaime Pressly) Former blond Playmate Jaime was sporting short, darker locks, dual lip piercings, barbed wire tattoos across her and butt crack revealing low riding leather pants making her THE caricature of a bad girl.
I don’t know too much about what sorts of stunts are possible on a bike but I have a feeling the things in this movie are not too realistic. An especially silly scene involves a sort of joust on bikes between Shane and China. I guess silly is the word that best describes this movie. If you don’t like silly you can always entertain yourself the way Kevin did, by pointing out how unrealistic all the stunts were.
I sat for about a half an hour rubbing my eyes after we finished watching this movie. At 81 minutes it was still WAY too long to watch a “video game!” There were a couple of things I did like in the movie: number one being Jaime Pressly’s deliciously bad grrrl China. Number two was the Marine Turbine Technolgies turbine powered bike, although at $100K a pop you’d think it would have had a bigger part in this flick. But I digress… Also look for a quick cameo by Uber $$$ Choppa builder Jesse James (plus a couple shots of West Coast Chopper built rigs.) The movie score by Yes man Trevor Rabin was decent. The photography was actually pretty good but, like most modern films, there were waaay too many Computer Generated Images (CGI’s) for my liking.
The real reason to rent this movie would be for the purpose of a drinking game: one shot for every time someone does a stoppie on a dirt road. Another shot for jumping not one, but two bikes onto a moving train (even if it was only CGI) and so on. Most of the stunts were, again, too implausible: sport bikes magically become dual-sport bikes performing equally well zig zagging through orchards (quick shot of digital speedo registering 95 mph) or dragging titanium plated knees up US 1. The movie never slowed down enough to let you think about things for a second which is probably a good thing, even for non-riders.