TORQUE (hopefully pronounced “tor-kay” by some dumb somebody), 2004, USA.
Directed by Joseph Kahn (previously director of a TON of music videos).
Starring Martin Henderson, Ice Cube, Monet Mazur, Adam Scott, Matt Schulze, Jaime Pressly, Christina Milian, Faizon Love, and Dane Cook.
I like this movie, heaven help me. It’s stupid, but it’s willfully stupid. I don’t think anyone involved had any doubts about how stupid it was going to be. In fact, I think you have to be kind of smart in order to make a movie this stupid. It looks too good and lacks too many boring parts to be accidentally stupid.
TORQUE is flashy, colorful, trashy, and fun. It’s got tons of pretty girls, it’s got great stunts, and it’s got terrifically entertaining performances (intentionally or otherwise). If FAST FIVE banged its head against a stop sign for an hour and then tried to get back on the road, this is the movie that could happen.
A man jumps a motorcycle onto a moving train. Motorcycles do kung fu. Dane Cook gets punched in the face. What about those things are not totally fun? Even if some of it is aided by computer graphics, it’s still fun to watch. So is Christina Milian’s face and ass. I could happily watch additional scenes featuring those things, but what there is of it already is good enough.
Motorcycles are stupid. They’re iconic and eye-catching and even beautiful on film (THE GREAT EESCAPE and TREMINATOR 2 being two of the great motorcycle-featuring films of all time), but in real life they’re also known to be loud and intrusive and dangerous as all hell. Really, really dangerous. A motorcycle accident is more than a tragedy; it’s an inevitability. You can call a motorcycle accident sad if you want, and it is sad, but so is smoking and eating McDonald’s and accidental death by erotic asphyxiation. There’s some appeal there, but the odds are not good that you will escape unscathed.
It’s dumb to ride motorcycles and it’s dumb to glorify them, so TORQUE gives motorcycles the movie they deserve. Would anyone, even people who ride motorcycles, want to see a serious, sober, and smartly-written movie about motorcycles?
Adam Scott (Parks & Recreation, PIRANHA 3D) gets it. As an FBI agent investigating the lead characters – who are wanted for murder – Scott puts a prodigious deadpan comic sensibility to work. Matt Schulze, as the villainous leader of the rival motorcycle gang, gets it also, playing his antagonist character close to the top but not quite over it. Star Martin Henderson seems to get it. Love interest Monet Mazur definitely gets it. Jaime Pressly, lord bless her, absolutely gets it. Ice Cube may or may not get it, but I sure hope he does. The invaluable Faizon Love, as Cube’s sidekick, always gets it. Christina Milian might not totally get it, but she looks phenomenal so… what was I saying again?
Basically, TORQUE is a dumb movie, made and played by people who aren’t. This is an amazing midnight movie experience. You don’t even need any chemical assistance, although loading up on sugary soft drinks wouldn’t be out of line. So let’s all raise a glass of orange soda (that we mixed with grape soda and also strawberry soda) and toast the achievement of Joseph Kahn & co., and let’s hope that they all get together for another feature, because this is some excellently wacked-out sugar-junk right here.