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Directed by Joseph Kahn.
Written by Matt Johnson.
Starring Martin Henderson, Ice Cube and Monet Mazur.
Release Year:  2004 

Review Date:  1/19/04 


You walk into the theater.  You take off your proverbial Thinking Cap.  You soak in previews like “Never Die Alone”, starring DMX, and commercials featuring new cars, old soft drinks and the local theme park.  Then, you get the next formula film by the creators of “The Fast and the Furious” series...and you realize that you’ve made a mistake.

Not a big mistake, mind you—“Torque” delivers on the thrilling sense of speed that is the mantra of these films, but otherwise, you could skip it and lead a pretty fulfilling life.  This time around, we get Cary Ford (Martin Henderson, from the remake of “The Ring”), who’s just returned to LA from Indonesia following a six-month stay avoiding the law.  Why?  Well, it has something to do with some crystal meth he has stolen from Henry (Matt Schulze, a veteran of these films having appeared in “TFATF”), his former girlfriend (Monet Mazur), and his ongoing feud with local gang leader Trey Wallace (Ice Cube).  After Trey’s brother is brutally murdered in a club bathroom, Trey takes off on a film-long hunt for Ford (you guessed it, he’s been set up) all over LA County.  Motorcycle action ensues.

Rob “Jellybean” Grant and I were talking over the weekend, and the biggest hope I had for “Torque” was that it might have some great, bad, laugh-out-loud poor lines that would hold up in conversation for years, kind of like the “I live my life one quarter-mile at a time” speech from “TFATF”, or maybe the best line of the series, from “xXx”:


There are some jewels in “Torque”, but nothing nearly as drop-dead gorgeous as one of the lines from “SWAT”:

Character A:  “Your mother likes [my mustache].”
Character B:  “So does your sister, bitch.”

The acting in “Torque” is all-around bad, over-the-top and it often fails in the testosterone department, bad news for a speed film.  Ice Cube does his best to be angry all film long...I’m very excited to see what he does when he stars in “xXx 2” next year, since Vin Diesel decided to produce instead of star in the next film.  Gordon Stokes noted that female objectivication is rampant throughout “Torque”, none more hilarious than an opening number where we meet the Mazur character.  Not since “Driven” have I seen this many women filmed humping fast vehicles and licking waxed chrome.  If you like that kind of thing, hit right now and sign your ass up!!

At least the action in the film’s chase sequences is interesting to watch, even if the final showdown is complete CGI nonsense featuring a bike that goes 0-200 in less than 10 seconds.  I’ve never seen motorcycles explode like they were napalmed straight outta “Apocalypse Now”, but it does make for a nice spectacle.  I would have gone Rental here but, adhering to Andy “Tappin’ Dat Ass” Kellam’s standards regarding theater vs. home viewing, “Torque” will be useless at home unless you have a 50” HDTV with a whoop-ass sound system.  Yeah, I didn’t think you did, either.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09