Last Friday night, after some thinking and consideration (plus I didn’t feel like trying to catch up with the current series since they just didn’t fit the mood for me, which was dark late night), I finally decided to watch REDLINE to see what all the hype was about. I know that this is late, but better late than never. One word to describe my experience: wild, scintillating, exhilarating, adrenaline-pumping, awesome action! Ok, that was actually six (or seven?) words, but one word just doesn’t do justice enough to describe this amazing, beautiful, visual movie.
Redline is about the biggest and most deadly racing tournament in the universe. Only held once every five years, everyone wants to stake their claim to fame, including JP, a reckless dare-devil driver oblivious to speed limits with his ultra-customized car – all the while, organized crime and militaristic governments want to leverage the race to their own ends. Amongst the other elite rival drivers in the tournament, JP falls for the alluring Sonoshee – but will she prove his undoing, or can a high-speed romance survive a mass destruction race?
MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING! As this is a review on a movie (particularly one that has become one of my top favorite movies of all time), this post will be longer than usual, chockfull with pictures, filled with spoilers, and plenty of my impressions and thoughts. So, my recommendation and advice for watching this movie for those who shall stop here for fear of being spoiled, go into this movie with the intent of just purely enjoying the entertainment. No need to over-analyze anything the first time watching this movie. It’s awesome. Go. Watch it now if you haven’t yet. Then come back when you’re finished and read on ahead for my impressions!
While REDLINE is an awesome racing action movie, it is also a tale of a single man’s romance at the same time as well. Racing brings out the best and the competitive of us, and it also affords us a single great moment of golden glory and riveting respect. “Sweet” JP, of course dreams of that moment of glory and pushes himself beyond his limits to achieve that. At the beginning of the movie, JP is racing in the Yellowline, a qualifying match race where the winner would then go on to race in Redline, the prestigious racing championship. JP crashes spectacularly near the end of the race, and Sonoshee, another racer in Yellowline goes on ahead to race in Redline. However, the new venue for Redline has been announced and it will take place on Roboworld, a military planet, whose government vows to prevent and crush the Redline racers.
“Sweet” JP is a very good racer, there’s no doubt. Yet, he keeps losing and crashing because of his mechanic friend, Frisbee, who is in deep trouble with the mafia. As a result, he has garnered a notorious reputation for being a race-fixing specialist. Deep under all that, however, there is a soul that longs to grab victory and become a ‘true’ racer. The admiration of the racer’s fame and glory has stuck with JP for his entire life, and we do see this in a dream-like sequence near the beginning of the movie.
The dream-like sequence is very romantic to me and powerfully so. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to charm the ladies, or be wooed by a suave, handsome man? For JP, this was his own romance, the dream and his own freedom that he seeks through racing. Another strong reason for racing also happens to be chasing after Sonoshee, who made a big impression on JP a long time ago, when Sonoshee’s racing car crashed and she cries in desperation while trying to pull out her own car. Sonoshee is chasing her own dream of seeing and crossing the Redline finish line, whereas JP was more for the whole charisma and glory of racing, but never really attempted to try his best. And so, JP fell in love with Sonoshee and he began to take racing seriously and charm Sonoshee in the process.
JP arrives and meets with Sonoshee a refuge world near Roboworld, so that he could get a good look at her. They are interrupted by Roboworld’s military general, Colonel Volton, who declares the government’s intent on eradicating the Redline racers on the day of the race. JP drops off Sonoshee at her own place, and notes Sonoshee’s earring has been dropped. He calls out, but Sonoshee is already gone, and he decides to hold on to it. Throughout the week before Redline, JP’s friends works on modifying the racing car, and we learn more about the racers in Redline, each of whom has a different charisma and personality. On the eve of the night before Redline begins, JP drops off a flower with Sonoshee’s earring on Sonoshee’s doorstep. Charming a lady is of course, another romance that we all would love to do as well, and Sonoshee does gradually smiles at JP’s earnestness and charm attempts.
The day of Redline arrives, and the race starts off with a blast with the racers dropping in from the sky toward the bullets of the numerous turrets awaiting them! The racers survives the first onslaught, and proceed to the finish line on their own routes navigating many obstacles and military forces. But, a bioweapon is accidentally awakened and wreaks havoc. It’s all big bangs and flash here, with plenty of explosions and adrenaline-pumping action. You can never go wrong with huge explosions! The government is forced to use its laser satellite cannon to destroy its bioweapon, and the Redline racers plus the military forces are both taken out of commission due to the resulting blast momentarily. Sonoshee loses her racing car, and JP offers to take her across the finish line. Sonoshee takes him up on his offer making him promise to fulfill her own dreams. Way to go, JP!
The race draws to a near end, and in the meantime, JP’s friends were busy on their own dealing with the mafia. Needless to say, Frisbee was saved from having to blow a planted bomb on JP’s car and being killed by the mafia by Old Man Mole, JP’s junk dealer, charging in and blasting them with a nailgun/shotgun (That gun looked mean and awesome at the same time…). The race winds down to one last final nitro boost, with JP and the leading racer, Machinehead, using steamlight, the most powerful fuel substance in the galaxy, to push themselves to the limits. The other racers also follows suit, but going with regular nitro boosts, leaving JP and Machinehead to duke it out for first place. But, JP’s car begins to fall back and when it looked like things were turning out not good at all, Old Man Mole, drunken, blows the planted bomb by accident. The bomb takes out the engine, but for some strange anime physics-related reason, the car (by this point a flying rocket-propelled vehicle) speeds up even faster than before. And JP glimpses another dream-like vision with him passing the suave, white racer from the beginning of the movie. The racer gives JP a thumbs-up, an acknowledgment that JP has become a real racer and a real free man. And the rest is history with a photo-shot finale.
And so the movie ends… This has been one great, wild, scintillating racing movie, and I thoroughly enjoyed it so much that it has now become one of my top favorite movies of all time. Now, I should say that if you are looking for a great plot, this movie lacks a bit in its plot and the only real saving graces of REDLINE is its amazing action and vivid visuals. I would recommend just turning off your critical mind, and just enjoy the pure, raw, unadulterated entertainment of REDLINE. There is also a hint of romanticism, and we do all dream of glory and fame. Racing is a powerful sport that brings out the break-neck top speeds that we humans can possibly do to the best of our limits and it is in our instincts to push ourselves to challenge our limits. So, to sum it all up, REDLINE is about one man’s romance, his own freedom, and the shattering of his limits while in the process wooing and hooking up with the gal. What can I say? I’m a romantic.
- Did you know that the term “redline” also refers to the maximum engine speed at which an internal combustion engine can operate? Clearly, JP’s engine pushed way beyond its own redline. ^_^
- Yellowline, the first race in the movie with JP and Sonoshee, is another term that refers to the “caution area” in a speed indicator before an engine suffers structural damage.
- Blueline, the qualifying race where Gori-rider and Miki & Todoroki participated in before entering Redline, is yet another term that refers to the speed for best rate of climb with a critical engine. And there certainly are quite a bit of flying here!
- It actually took 7 years to complete this movie, which is very impressive and I’m glad they came out with top quality visuals!
- Yi has a different take on REDLINE, in which the main appeal for her is the sexual appeal of the movie. Very erotic and arousing… ;)
- MkMiku, after watching REDLINE, asks whether an anime need a story to be considered important or whether it can get by visuals alone.