There's something agreeably psychotic about Redline, the new racing-action film from Hong Kong director Andy Cheng; Cheng's best known as a stunt director, and Redline has stunts and driving aplenty. It may take place in a universe where male leads dress suspiciously like Rick Astley and the majority of women on-screen are sub-sentient arm candy; it may feel like a bizarre time capsule gift from the 1980's; it may feature some truly unhinged acting by people who should know better; it may feel like a weird synthesis of Hong Kong action, Michael Bay-style gloss, Burt Renolds driving epics and Elvis movies, but it has some great driving and a few mild pleasures. Redline didn't screen for critics, so there I was, sitting in a 2:45 Friday matinee, and when Ernie Reyes, Jr. showed up to kick some ass I smiled and said, "Well, alright." If you sit and think about how bad Redline is, you'd go mad; just enjoy how it is bad, and the cars and the fights and the sights all heaped around that badness, and you may have a good time.
Redline is not only financed by real-estate investor Daniel Sadek, it features vehicles primarily from his own personal collection of high-end performance cars. Actually, not only does the film feature Sadek's cars, he also wrote the lyrics to many of the film's original songs. This kind of thinking may seem like madness -- actually, a brief listen to the film's power ballad, "Moving Violations," pretty much confirms it's madness -- but that kind of goofy goony megalomania has been largely squeezed out of Hollywood these days, where multinational corporations have third-quarter line items about projected writedowns due to the failure of their comic-book franchise's sequel. Redline may be junk, but at least it's junk made by human beings.