Torque (2004)

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Released 7-Jul-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer
Audio Commentary-Actor
Audio Commentary-Technical
Storyboard Comparisons-Racing Animatic
Storyboard Comparisons-Train Animatic
Music Video-"Lean Low" By Youngbloodz
Theatrical Trailer
Easter Egg-MTT and the Y2K Turbine Superbike
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 80:35
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (44:14) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Joseph Kahn
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Martin Henderson
Ice Cube
Monet Mazur
Matt Schulze
Jay Hernandez
Will Yun Lee
Jaime Pressly
Adam Scott
Faizon Love
Justina Machado
Dane Cook
Christina Milian
Gichi Gamba
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Trevor Rabin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Are you kidding?!?
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Rebel motorcycle rider Cary Ford (Martin Henderson) has found himself between a rock and a hard place. More accurately, he's found himself between two rocks and a hard place. After uncovering an illegal operation of the Hellions biker club, Ford flees to Thailand to escape the heat and deflect attention from himself before returning to the U.S. to an uncertain fate. Unbeknownst to him, he is about to find himself in a three-way pull for the location of a huge drug haul, and those that are after him don't take prisoners.

    Already on the run from the Hellions and their violent leader Henry James (Matt Schulze), Ford finds himself at odds with Trey (Ice Cube), the leader of the Reapers Motorcycle Gang. And now, Ford has Federal Agent McPherson and his sidekick Agent Henderson on his tail wanting the location and origin of the drugs. With his girlfriend and friends in tow, Ford sets off on a cross-country trek to uncover the man behind the drug deal and a chance to clear his name. While his accomplices and his wary girlfriend Shane (Monet Mazur) have their second thoughts, it's action all the way as Ford sets a course to a clear name and secure a future with Shane.

    Okay, so this is a slim plot outline. Hey, what can I do? It's a slim plot. We aren't talking about Shakespeare here, and this is admitted as such by the director Joseph Kahn, who describes this film as 'Miami Vice on speed'. What we have here is pure unadulterated gloss. So much flash and style but no substance, and this seems to be the intended outcome. Described by some as The Fast and the Furious for motorcycles, this film goes through the numbers (1 and 2) in an attempt to do little more than entertain at a very basic level. The thing that strikes me about this film is that it succeeds very well at what it sets out to do; entertain at a basic level. No lofty pretensions here. No, this is teenage popcorn mindless stylized disposable pap at its finest. The performances are competent and each character fits exactly into a very prescribed mould. Ford is the perfect anti-hero with a heart of gold but the ability to kick ass when required. Shane is the mildly irritated love interest who looks a million dollars while supposedly being a bike mechanic. Trey is the leader of the Reapers and a bad-ass who's there to prove that all baddies aren't so bad. We have Henry James as the psycho biker gang leader that smashes anything in his way. And follow this up with Agent McPherson, the all too hip law who drives around in a groovy black Hummer and wears a tee shirt and runners with his suit just to prove that he's cool. Like I said, all style and all laid out in perfect order. There isn't anything here that hasn't been done before, it's just a new vehicle for an old story.

    So the appeal? Hey, I'm a sucker for mindless action at times, and in the case of this film it doesn't get much more mindless that this. This film is like the interludes that take place between levels in a video game. After you complete a level, there is often a film-like sequence that establishes more of the story of the game before taking you to the next level. This film is just like those video game interludes, except it runs for 80 minutes and is in fact a whole film. Think of this movie as a non-interactive video game and you'll get the idea.

    If The Fast and the Furious is your cup of tea, then this may very well be right up your alley. It's very simple (and very short), but it's good for a laugh if you like fun, fast action films. A perfect beer and pizza film, but make sure it's part of a double feature as 80 minutes can go by too fast.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this film is quite good.

    This film is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 with 16x9 enhancement. This looks to be at or very near the film's original theatrical aspect ratio, although I couldn't find any definite information on this.

    The image that we have on this disc is razor sharp, with detail readily available in every scene. Shadow detail here is good and shows up details in the darker portions of the film well. Much of this film takes place in well lit locations, but the several darker scenes in the film exhibit a good level of detail. I had no problems with low level noise.

    There is a distinct 'comic book' feel to this film, and this is intended by the director. With that in mind, you'll find that the colour palette used is a bit exaggerated with the characters each in their dedicated colour scheme throughout the film. Despite the exaggeration of colours here, it does suit the film well. Colour seems to have been transferred to disc quite well.

    I found the image to be free of MPEG artefacts, and this doesn't seem to be a real problem as this 80 minute film is divided in half and spread over two layers. The print used to transfer this film to disc is very, very clean and I found it hard to spot many flaws in the print. Grain is slight and there is only the very smallest of flecks visible throughout. Major annoyance edge enhancement should be all over this film like a rash, but it escapes largely intact with only a slight degree of the white outline nasty.

    I watched much of this film with the English subtitles enabled and I found them to be reasonably accurate without being word for word.

    This disc is formatted RSDL with the layer change taking place at 44:14, which is at the end of Chapter 15. I found it to be fairly unobtrusive and a good place for the change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality found on this disc is quite reasonable.

    There are 3 audio options on this disc; English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix running at 384 Kb/s and two audio commentaries, both running at 192 Kb/s. I listened to all three audio tracks.

    The dialogue quality here is good with the spoken word understandable throughout the programme. There is some slight overmike distortion in the dialogue at 4:21, but this seemed to be a once off and I didn't have any problems during the rest of the film. I found audio sync to be quite good as well.

    While Trevor Rabin has been known for being the guitarist for the influential rock band Yes, he has over the last 8 years established himself as a leading film score composer. His scores are a good blend of traditional and modern and seem to particularly suit the films he is chosen to score. This is another case in point as his score suits the material well. There are also numerous tracks from popular bands and artists that make up the soundtrack to this film. Adding their weight to the music are: Nickelback, Jane's Addiction, Kid Rock, Youngbloodz, Hoobastank, Monster Magnet, N.E.R.D., Robbie McIntosh and Chrissie Hynde, Pennywise and Static-X. It would have been very interesting if an 80s rock soundtrack had been used, as was originally intended by the film's director Joseph Kahn.

     This disc features an immersive and involving audio mix that serves the film well. You'll hear quite a bit from the surround channels, all contributing to the overall enjoyment of the film.

    There is quite a bit of LFE (sub 80 Hz audio) from the audio on the main track on this disc. Between the explosions (you've got to have them), the gunfire and the hot soundtrack, there is a bit for your subwoofer to do. A good integration of LFE into the audio mix.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a few interesting bonus features here.

Menu

    After the distributor's logos and copyright warnings, we are taken to a Warner Brother's Movie World promotional clip (in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1) before going to the disc's Main Menu which offers us the following:       The menus are 16x9 enhanced and feature audio in Dolby Digital 2.0.

    After selecting the Special Feature icon, you are presented with the following options:

Actor Commentary:  Featuring Director Joseph Kahn and Actors Martin Henderson, Will Yun Lee, Monet Mazur, Jay Hernandez, Adam Scott, Matt Schulze, Fredro Starr, Justina Machado and Dana Cook.

    This is a very light-hearted look at the film from a bunch of people involved in the creation of the movie. Most take it as pretty much a fun experience while actor Matt Schulze seems to take it a bit more seriously...not that there is anything wrong with that. Here you'll hear all kinds of interesting titbits about the film's production as well as some of its influences, from Dr. Strangelove to Duel. If you are a fan of the film, it's an interesting listen.

Technical Commentary:  Featuring Director Joseph Kahn, Writer Matt Johnson, Director of Photography Peter Levy, Visual Effects Supervisor Eric Durst, Supervision Sound Editor Tim Gedemer, Second Unit Director Gary Davis and Picture Editor David Blackburn.

    These guys talk about how they came up with the various ways that they brought the film into existence. If you thought that the technical minds behind the look of the film are all 22 year old film school students, then this commentary will take you by surprise. Interesting if you want to know how the elements of the film and its look came into being.

Racing Animatic   -   1:43

    This is a storyboard and finished shot side by side comparison of the opening car race sequence. It features comments from the director on how it came together. Presented full frame with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Train Animatic   -   2:51

    Director Joseph Kahn and Visual Effects Supervisor Eric Durst take us through the whole train sequence where Ford and Trey jump their bikes onto a moving train. This, like the Racing Animatic, features storyboards as well as the finished shot in comparison. Presented full frame with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Music Video - Lean Low by Youngbloodz   -   4:05

    A fairly forgettable music track from band Youngbloodz. There are some good tracks on this film's soundtrack, but this is all we get. Presented in 2.35:1 without 16x9 enhancement. Audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Theatrical Trailer   -   2:31

    A good trailer that highlights the style and direction of the film. If you like the trailer, then the film will be right up your alley. Presented in 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced. Audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Easter Egg - MTT and the Y2K Turbine Superbike   -   3:10

    If you thought that this film was too over the top when you saw the Y2K jet bike, you might be surprise to hear that of all the things in the film, this bike is actually real. Produced by MTT, the Y2K Turbine Superbike is powered by a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter engine. Weighing in at 138 lbs., the engine produces over 320 shaft horsepower and up to 425 foot pounds of torque at 2000 rpm. This will take the bike to 200 mph. in under 15 seconds and will bring in a top speed of 242 mph. James Kane from Voodoo Racing says that the bike "Feels like the hand of God grabbin' you on the butt and throwin' you forward, and that's exactly what it is". Complete overkill, as only the Americans can do. This featurette is presented full frame with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0. You select this featurette by going to the Special Features menu and highlighting the Champion Spark Plugs patch on Ford's arm.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This film has been released in Region 1, Region 2 and now here. From what I've been able to find, all regions get exactly the same package, although the Region 1 disc features a French Dolby Digital 5.1 mix (ours is English only). The Region 1 disc also features English, Spanish and French subtitles, while ours gets just English. Unless your require some of the different language options detailed above, you can buy the Region 4 disc with confidence.

Summary

     Okay, so this film is crap. So what. I really don't think that the filmmakers were intending to make anything else but an easy-going, light hearted simple but flashy looking action film, and this is exactly what they've made. Those who've bagged this film have probably missed the point, and are probably not the film's intended audience anyway. It's mindless action fun for a young crowd that wants a bit of forgettable fun. In this context the film works. If you are expecting art, expect disappointment. A good film for a beer and pizza night, but just make sure you have more than one film, as this one is a tad short at just 80 minutes.

     The video is quite good with a very clean and clear image on screen throughout.

     The audio is immersive and suits the material well.

     There are a couple of interesting featurettes and 2 audio commentaries to satisfy fans of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Thursday, August 05, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD RP-82 with DVD-Audio on board, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko TRW 325 / 32 SFT 10 76cm (32") 16x9. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RX-V2300 Dolby Digital and dts. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2300 110w X 6 connected via optical cable and shielded RCA (gold plated) connects for DVD-Audio
SpeakersVAF DC-X Fronts (bi-wired), VAF DC-6 Center, VAF DC-2 Rears, VAF LFE-07 Sub (Dual Amp. 80w x 2)

Other Reviews NONE
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