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 Torque
 Critic's Rating
   [D]
 Date Posted
   26th April, 2004
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Cast: Ice Cube, Martin Henderson, Monet Mazur
Director: Joseph Kahn

I'll be honest with those of you reading this; fifteen minutes into 'Torque' and I had no idea what this movie was supposed to be about. In an attempt to measure the depth of its incoherence, I tried to trace what had transpired after fixed durations for any semblance of a plot. Thirty minutes later, I was still suspended in confusion. Torque, a movie so convinced of itself as being the coolest, hippest action flick this side of the Matrix series, is akin to an unofficial, bastardized spin-off to 'The Fast and the Furious', except this time the fast cars have been replaced by even faster bikes.

If first impressions are anything to go by, it even begins on the wrong foot. Two racecars creep up to a non-existent start line in the middle of nowhere, rev of their engines, and race off on a stretch of desert road. A bike creeps up from behind and overtakes them, leaving behind a trail of sand and dust. Who exactly are we supposed to root for here? The racecar drivers because they have such great looking cars or the biker, hidden behind his gleaming helmet, because he has just won? Doesn't really matter, once you realize they are all the same breed of modern day hillbillies, masquerading behind the might of their vehicles.

What I was able to figure out without taking any notes was the following. Martin Henderson plays Cary Ford, the biker described above (get it? A biker named Ford!). He returns after having hidden in Thailand for six months, to clear his name over drugs he did not procure and a bike he did not steal. He also wants to win back his girl Shane (the stunning Monet Mazur) and settle a score with tough guy Henry James, the rightful owner of the drugs that are in Ford's possession. Layers of intricacy and excuses for chases are added in the form of a pair of FBI agents hunting for Ford and the animosity created when he is wrongfully accused of murdering the brother of Trey Wallace (Ice Cube), the leader to a rival bike gang.

A major reason why Torque doesn't work is because the lead does not convince. Henderson is a decent performer, fit for the kind of quiet roles that lend strong background support to a main actor. Here he has the pumped up chiseled physique of an action star but not the persona, even with a toothpick dangling from his mouth and a two day stubble. A movie this shabby is also usually funny in parts, except 'Torque' is too conceited to even contain any genuine humor.

The diverse cast includes R&B singer Christina Milian and model Jaime Pressly, whose only purpose before being whopped in a bike fight towards the end, is to lick her lips in numerous close-ups. Every frame of the final product is music video polished and every uttered sentence is bravado laced rubbish. Director Joseph Kahn desperately tries to make the culture of leather, piercing and gyrating women in minuscule summer wear look appealing, but only ends up proving what filthy taste he has for entertainment. This is, after all the man responsible for the music video to 'Toxic'. - Faizan Rashid

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