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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Torque (Widescreen Edition)
Torque (Widescreen Edition)
Warner Bros. // PG-13 // May 18, 2004
List Price: $27.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted April 24, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

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 movies.

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.

The DVD:


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.

The Extras:

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.

Final Thoughts:

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.  Recommended. 

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