Although Redline is the craziest kind of anime film, you don’t need to be into anime to like this movie. You just need to be a fan of insane movies.
The film screened Jan. 7 at the Broadway Theatre, sponsored by the Dark Bridges Film Festival. The screening coincided with the release of Redline on Blu-ray on Tuesday Jan. 10.
Redline is best described as the kind of movie made by someone who watched Speed Racer while on acid and then wrote a script while taking even more acid. The plot revolves around Sweet JP, a racer who drives a tricked-out yellow trans-Am. JP is a racer in futuristic races that involve robots, aliens and cars decked out with an assortment of weapons.
JP’s chief rival and potential lover is Cherry Boy Hunter Sonoshee McLaren, a hotshot driver and the film’s leading lady. JP and his mechanic friend, Frisbee, are involved with the mafia, who fund the modifications to JP’s car. In return for the modifications, JP wins or loses based on what the mafia tells him to do, thus fixing the gambling odds for the races.
The film opens with the adrenaline-packed Yellowline race, which Sonoshee wins. This opening sequence misleads the audience a little, as the next adrenaline-packed race doesn’t happen until the end of the movie.
However, as a result of the Yellowline race, JP is inducted into the Redline race as a substitute. All other races are qualifications for the Redline, the ultimate sporting event in this distant future world. The Redline race happens every five years and is a huge draw for race fans and gamblers. However, this particular Redline race is guaranteed to draw an even bigger crowd because it is being held on the Roboworld planet. The denizens of Roboworld forbid the race from happening on their planet and are willing to use military force to stop the race.
The final race on Roboworld is a lengthy sequence, full of adrenaline, a rain of bullets and crazy futuristic tech, suiting the film’s animation style very well, which is a little reminiscent of the futuristic anime classic Akira. The love story develops subtly in the background, which is great because it doesn’t distract from the action of the film. The foreshadowing isn’t as subtle, nor is the fan service, but it all works together. Towards the end there is some general ridiculousness, leading up to a bit of a non-sequitor ending, but for Redline, it works.
It isn’t flawless, but Redline is a movie for anyone who likes unusual and nonsensical action films.