One evening on The Tonight Show, Jay Leno played a trailer for
a made up movie aimed at guys: Loud Noises. It had no stars,
no plot, no furry talking animals, and no tender touching moments.
This mythical movie consisted solely of explosions, car chases, wrecks,
and above all, loud noises. Leno's parody of action films was remarkable
close to Torque, an action film theatrically released in January
of 2004 that has just made its way to DVD.
Cary Ford (Martin Henderson) is a gear-head who returns to Southern
California after having spent some time on the run. It seems that
he was unknowingly looking after a million dollars worth of drugs.
When he finds out what he's taking care of, he hides the contraband and
takes off just before the Feds raid his girlfriend Shane's (Monet Mazur)
motorcycle shop. Ford comes back to get Shane and hoof it again,
but he runs into trouble. The drug dealer (Henry James played by
Matt Schulze) wants his drugs back, and so he frames Ford for the murder
of a member of a rival motorcycle gang led by Trey (Ice Cube.) Now
Ford has the FBI and two gangs after him. He has to find a way to
get back to LA (where the drugs are hidden,) without being arrested or
killed, convince Trey he didn't kill his brother, and find a way to give
the drugs back to the dealer while tipping off the police so they can arrest
James with the goods.
This is one of those 'check your brain at the door' movies. This
film contained way too many absurdities and plain impossibilities to be
taken even slightly seriously. There was a motorcycle chase on top
of a moving train, front wheel wheelies, and a cycle that travels so fast
that the shock wave breaks car windows as it zips past, just to name a
few. Luckily this movie doesn't try to take itself seriously either.
It's a popcorn movie, and the creators realize that. They poke fun
at themselves and other action movies every chance they get. In one
scene, after telling his friends his daring plan, Ford walks away while
stating "I live my life a quarter mile at a time." (Vin Diesel's
line from Fast and Furious.) Shane replies, "That is the dumbest
thing I've ever heard."
The movie actually looked very nice. There were many attractive
visuals and interesting shots, something I wasn't expecting to see.
The California countryside's roads winding through the mountains made a
nice backdrop to the action at the beginning of the film. The director
of photography did an excellent job creating striking visuals for most
of this movie. There was also a lot of very good stunt driving.
Though a lot of the shots were made with CGI or special effects, there
was still a good amount of straight stunt driving, something that you don't
get to see a lot of today. I actually wish that they had left some
of the processed shots and fake CGI created stunts out to draw more attention
to the regular stunt riding, but that just isn't going to happen in today's
As far as the acting goes, the main characters were good in their roles.
Martin Henderson spent a lot of the movie scowling and really didn't have
a lot of range, but he was adequate as the rugged, good-looking hero.
Monet Mazur was better. She was able to be convincing as the girl
that Ford was risking his life for. The fact that she's easy on the
eyes is a nice bonus.
The person who really stole the show though was Ice Cube. He has
a large amount of screen presence, and every scene he was in was interesting.
I actually think the movie would have been much better if he had played
the lead. He has that acting ability and the charisma. I really
liked Ice in Barbershop, and though this is a different type of
role, he does an equally fine job in this movie.
This DVD offers you the choice of English or French soundtracks, both
in 5.1. There are optional subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
This movie sounded very good. The roars of the motorcycle engines
were forceful as they zipped by. There was excellent use of the entire
soundstage, as sound effects panned from back-to-front and side-to-side.
The 5.1 mix really put you in the middle of the chases and action.
The main complaint I have is that the music and sound effects were mixed
too loud in relation to the dialog. If the dialog was at a
normal level the music was blaring. I found myself adjusting the
volume several times during the course of the film.
The anamorphic widescreen video was very good looking. The colors
were bright and the darks were dark. There was a very good amount
of detail, with the stubble on Ford's shin showing up clearly. There
were no digital defects worth mentioning.
I was disappointed that there were no outtakes and deleted scenes included
on this DVD, but aside from that there were a good number of bonus features.
Actor Commentary: Director Joseph
Kahn and just about all the actors who had major roles in the film:
Martin Henderson, Will Yun Lee, Monet Mazur, Jay Hernandez, Adam Scott,
Matt Schulze, Fredro Starr, Justina Machado, and Dane Cook give their thoughts
on the movie. The cast had a good time with this commentary, they
joke and laugh through the track. They point out all the little in
jokes that a lot of people probably would miss, like the fact that the
truck from Duel makes an appearance. Their joking around didn't get
obnoxious, as has happened on some commentary tracks. They were able
to stay on track for the most part and have a good time while doing it.
This track was entertaining to listen to.
Technical Commentary: Director Joseph
Kahn, writer Matt Johnson, Peter Levy the DP, visual effects supervisor
Eric Durst, supervising sound editor Tim Gedemer, 2nd unit director Gary
Davis, film editor David Blackburn, and production designer Peter J. Hampton
are all included on this commentary that I found very interesting.
They talk about the nuts and bolts of the making of the film, from the
reason they used certain sound effects to the reasons behind making the
credits the way that they did. All of the big stunts are talked about
in detail. Anyone who is interested in how movies are made should
be sure to listen to this track.
Racing Animatic: This is a split
screen comparison between the story-boarded race at the beginning of the
film and the actual scene from the movie narrated by Joseph Kahn.
Train Animatic: A split screen
with three sections that show the storyboards, rough CG animation (used
to visualize the scene before actually shoot it,) and the final scene that
appeared in the movie. It was interesting to see how the scene changed
between the animatic and what was actually shot.
There is also a music video to the song "Lean and Low" by Youngbloodz
and the theatrical trailer for the movie.
While this movie wasn't deep and meaningful, it was a great example
of what Hollywood does best: create action filled light fare that
is quite entertaining. If you like fast chase scenes, big explosions,
and loud noises, but don't mind looking past the very attractive but totally
impossible flourishes in this movie, this film is worth checking out.