HOT RODS & HYDROGEN BOMBS: Redline Review
There are movies you watch for the thought-provoking narrative, the nuanced dialogue and the humanistic characters. Movies you watch because of the masterful emotional responses it elicits from you; the virtuoso symphony and weave of color and sound. Movies that are important in that barely describable, intangible sense that is nonetheless close to the core of human nature.
And then there are movies that are important because they’re a pure fucking joy to watch.
Welcome to the Redline.
Getting to watch Redline was a bit of an (mis)adventure unto itself. My friends and I had attempted to catch the 7:00 showing in San Francisco on Tuesday – between their jobs, my tutoring, and a nasty day of traffic involving a cop car, a road flare, and San Francisco’s usual roadblock, we managed to miss the showing by a good 30 minutes.
So we opted to hang out in J-town a bit, grab some Korean food (soon tofu soup was apparently very good, according to my colleagues – I opted for spicy chicken instead [<3]), and swore to try again on Thursday. For one of us, it was the second time in a row that he had missed the first ten minutes, and according to others, those were ten minutes not to be missed.
Oh, were they ever right.
Here’s the thing about Redline – you’re not watching it for the plot (though there were some interesting nuances to be picked at afterwards). You’re not necessarily watching it for the characters – though the bizarre and wacky cast was pitch-fuckin’-perfect in just about every way. You’re watching Redline because it is by far the best anime movie made in recent years by one virtue alone: the massive, unbelievable adrenaline rush it packs into its roughly 100 minutes of runtime.
Takeshi Koike’s directorial debut took seven long years to come out. Nearly a decade of meticulous work piecing together a show meant to achieve enlightenment by way of eyewatering speed. His hard work shows: between the outrageous art direction, the over-the-top action yet mostly bloodless action, the movie starts like an out-of-control drag racer, tempoing down in the middle only to swap adrenaline for absurdity, then mixing both in a double-helix nitro burst of extraordinary, explosive scifi racing action, ending at the exact moment of the peak.
The only real flaw is that it isn’t out in blu-ray yet – though Wikipedia claims that it is scheduled for a US-side release next year. It absolutely must come with a copy of the soundtrack – the thudding, high-energy music was an intrinsic component to the entire concept. It’s the sort of movie you’ll want to watch three or four times through – to catch up on the things you missed, and to reconfirm the moments of surreality and absurdity so densely packed and so quickly passed that, when the movie ends, some of it seem like a passing acid dream.
Yeah, I liked it. I liked it quite a bit. Its outlandishness is exactly the cure we need for today’s anime’s moe-moe blues.