January 2004

By Julian Roman
Distributor: Warner Bros
Directed by: Joseph Kahn
Producers: Neal H. Moritz, Brad Luft
Screenwriter: Matt Johnson
Cinematographer: Peter Levy
Composer: Trevor Rabin
Cast: Ice Cube, Martin Henderson, Jay Hernandez, Monet Mazur, Wil Yun Lee, Adam Scott, Jaime Pressley, Christina Milian, and Freddo Star

Torque is essentially an eighty-minute music video with ten minutes of preposterous video game CGI.  I could have sworn I was watching a cartoon in the climactic chase sequence.  Before I go any further, let me readily admit that this film is targeted to a very specific demographic.  I’m talking about the video game playing, Mountain Dew chugging, X-Game watching world of thirteen to eighteen year old horny teenage boys.  If you’re outside of that age group or have none of the aforementioned interests, then Torque is not the film for you.  It’s a pure piece of fluff eye candy that will leave you mind boggled by the overuse of computer animation.  I remember all the bitching and whining about the Burly Brawl scene from Matrix Reloaded.  That’s the part where Neo fights the hundred Smiths if you have no idea what I’m talking about.  Everyone complained that it looked too fake.  I stood up for that scene because I totally bought into what they were trying to achieve.  I don’t have the same sentiment at all for Torque.  The use of CGI in this movie is absolutely criminal.
Martin Henderson stars as hotshot biker Cary Ford.  He flew the coup to avoid being nailed for drug charges and has returned home to settle the score.  It turns out that local drug lord and bad guy gang leader, Henry James (Matt Schulze), left him with two bikes loaded with crystal meth.  Now Ford wants to make up with his girlfriend Shane (Monet Mazur), clear his name, and wear t-shirts tight enough to be the envy of all gay men.  Did I mention Ice Cube?  He plays Trey; the leader of another biker gang called the Inglewood Reapers.  He thinks that Ford killed his brother and wants to turn him into a grease spot.  So the whole crux of the story is Ford and his crew riding through the desert to clear his name in LA.  Followed by Trey and the Reapers, Henry James and his gang, and two Feds that provide some desperately needed comic relief. 
Torque is a film that requires you to leave all common sense behind and willingly subjugate yourself to the ridiculous.  I walked into this movie looking for some hardcore motorcycle action scenes.  The film starts to deliver them, but then ruins it utterly with wacky computer FX.  There is only one non-CGI bike scene and it’s by far the most entertaining.  The Reapers chase Ford and crew through a bunch of Palm trees.  That scene kicks serious ass and is a definite crowd pleaser.  I can’t for the life of me figure out why they didn’t concentrate on more real life action.  All the gear heads that flock to this movie are going to be disappointed with the cartoon-like chases.
So what’s the upshot to this film, the eye candy, pure and simple.  Every girl is a babe and scantily clad, showing just enough to keep that all-important PG-13 rating.  Monet Mazur is en fuego, but Jaime Pressly steals the show.  She plays China, the punk rock, goth-slut biker girlfriend of Henry James.  Jaime is smoking in her own right, but really had my engines purring with the new look.  The spider tattoos, piercings, dyed hair, tight leather clothes, oh I can dig it.  Here’s the best part; she spends half of her screen time licking her lips like a thirsty pornstar.  If only this were an R rated film.
My compadres from this website and another one had better reactions to the film.  They weren’t fans of the CGI, but liked the action scenes much more than me.  They say that this film blows Biker Boyz out of the water.  I never saw that movie, but find that hard to believe.  Here’s a quick shout out to Matt Schulze (Henry James).  Between Torque, The Transporter, and Blade 2, Schulze is fastly becoming Hollywood’s generic snarling bad guy.  He’s got this trademark look that could either mean he wants to kill you or bend you over for a jailhouse shanking.  I’m not sure what he’s going for, but it’s keeping him in steady employment.