• Film reviews

    #605 – Redline (2009)

    Redline (2009)

    Film review #605

    Director: Takeshi Koike

    SYNOPSIS: In the future, the most thrilling race in the galaxy is held every five years. racer JP manages to qualify for the race after other competitors drop out, and must risk his life in the ultimate race…

    THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Redline is a 2009 animated sci-fi film. The film is set in the future, where the ultimate race in the galaxy has competitors fight to the finish line by any means necessary; risking their lives to achieve fame and riches. One of these racers is JP, who manages to qualify for the redline race, even though he crashed out of the previous race, since other racers withdrew because of the race taking place on Roboworld, where the the rulers will attempt to stop the race by any means necessary. The film starts off with the preliminary race and we immediately get the full force of the movie: high speed and explosion that never misses a beat. This is where the film’s strengths really shine, as the animation is smooth, colourful, and detailed. The film is composed of over one hundred thousand hand-drawn frames, and is quite an feat to pull off, however it certainly seems worth the effort.

    The weakness in the story comes in the middle part of the film, where there is no racing, and the film relies on character interaction and development. This isn’t completely void of interest, but it does feel like the film is padding itself out a little before the big race, and there’s no real impactful relationships between the characters. There’s some hint of a past between JP and Sonoshi, another racer in the redline race, but it’s never really resolved or impacts the story, which is odd. The romance element again doesn’t feel earned between them. When the racing picks up again though, you’re treated to an intense display of speed, action and well choreographed set pieces that will make you quickly forget all of that. The influence of futuristic video games such as Wipeout and F-Zero are also easy to spot, as the high speed, high stakes racing combined with the colourful and varied character designs such as you might see in F-Zero, add some real variety and visual appeal to the film, even if you’re not really given much backstory to their characters or the universe in general.

    Overall, Redline is at its best when is being a general assault on your senses: when it’s fast, loud and violent, it’s captivating and a thrill to watch. The set pieces, pacing, and scale again give the film an epic feel. The film does slow down a bit during the middle, and fails to really cement much character development or raise the stakes personally for them. None of that really matters much though, as the film shines where it needs to when the race is on and the action is high.