Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dorque: "Torque" (2004)

This eighty three minute live action cartoon is brought to you by Pepsi. Yes, Pepsi, the choice of a new generation. Also, Mountain Dew. Do the Dew! And finally, Doritos...I can't remember what the Doritos tagline is, but they are delicious!

Motorcycle enthusiast and all around annoying gearhead Ford (Martin Henderson) is fresh back from tooling around Thailand, where he spent six months finding himself and hiding out from the law, who want him on drug charges. He looks up his old girlfriend Shane (Monet Mazur), who was harassed by FBI agents McPherson (Adam Scott) and Henderson (Justina Machado) looking for Ford.

Villainous Henry (Matt Schulze) is looking for Ford, trying to get some motorcycles back. Trey (Ice Cube) and his motorcycle gang have just turned down Henry's drug deal, brokered by Trey's ne'er-do-well brother Junior (Fredro Starr), who is promptly killed by Henry. Henry's scary yet still hot Goth girlfriend China (Jamie Pressly) pins the murder on Ford. Ford, his two bland sidekicks whose names I didn't catch, and his equally bland girlfriend are soon on a desert run to Los Angeles, with the cops and Trey's gang hot on their trails.

If you can ignore your pounding headache and make it through this thing, there are some good points. Martin Henderson plays a nice leading man who is not perfect, I was reminded of Kurt Russell in "Big Trouble in Little China." Ice Cube has the best terminal scowl in the business, when he is pissed off, you believe it. Pressly is hot as China in a too small supporting role. Maybe she should have saved her costume and played Catwoman instead of Halle Berry. Adam Scott is a riot as the unorthodox McPherson. But...

Some of the action scenes here must be seen to be believed. Other action scenes are beyond belief, even after being seen. The entire film is like one long video game, where all logic is tossed in favor of tons of impossible stunt work and a simplistic story my seven year old could have dreamed up. It may have helped if I thought the cast and crew were in on a big joke, winking at the audience. There are just too many wasted chances, and too many earnest performances, to make me think we are supposed to take all this lightly. The idiotic product placement could have been played with a la "Wayne's World 2," yet it also seems serious.

In the end, "Torque" is just as loud and annoying as the motorcycles themselves. I found a few diamonds in the rough here and there, but the Excedrin hasn't kicked in yet for me to recommend it. Yes, that's Excedrin, for your toughest headache pain... (* *) out of five stars.