Torque (2004)
Main cast: Martin Henderson (Cary Ford), Ice Cube (Trey Wallace), Monet Mazur (Shane), Jay Hernandez (Dalton), Will Yun Lee (Val), Matt Schluze (Henry James), Jaime Pressly (China), Adam Scott (FBI Agent Macpherson), and Justina Machado (FBI Agent Henderson)
Director: Joseph Kahn

Torque is as mind-numbingly bad and ridiculous as one would expect, and therefore, it's time to get out the popcorns and party! There's a place in this world for movies that don't pretend to do anything more than to entertain and Torque is just the thing to watch while we wait for the inevitable machine porn movie featuring SUVs.

The only downside to this movie is that while we have gorgeous hunks like Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, and Tyrese offering some hardcore eye candy to go along with other machine porn movies Hollywood has churned out in the past, Torque has David Arquette's more athletic clone Martin Henderson playing the lead actor. Monet Mazur, alas, is no Angelina Jolie making car racing hotter than hot, although she's good enough to give Ali Larter a run for her money, for what that's worth. Ice Cube... well, he's kinda too serious for that shirtless beefcake thing. The only hot guys here are Jay Hernandez and Will Yun Lee and these two have too many clothes on for the entire duration of the movie.

The plot, since we should at least pretend to care for one, is that our hero Cary Ford once learned of drug dealer Henry James' plan to smuggle crystal meth inside the, er, oil tanks (I know I get the jargon wrong, but you know what I mean, I hope) of what seems like thirty or so bikes. The FBIs suspect Cody of the drug smuggling deed and he flees to Thailand as a result. Poor Henry is left fuming because it is really hard to locate where thirty race bikes are hidden with your huge contingent of underlings. After a few years, Cody finally realizes that wa-hey, he can actually lead the FBI and Henry to the place where he hides the bikes and then his name will be cleared. What a smart man. I wonder how long it will take for him to solve a maths problem. So Cody is back, hooking up with his old buddies Val and Dalton that kindly take a break from appearing in some gay porn movies (kidding) to help an old friend out. Cody also has to win back his PO'd girlfriend Shane who's not too happy to be dumped without a word all those years back.

Henry, however, is quite smart in that he kills the brother of Trey Wallace, leader of the local bike gang, and frames Cary for it. In a better movie where people have brains, this plan won't work at all, but then again, this is Torque so let's not quibble too much. So now Cary have the FBI agents (the Brady-Bunch gone Nickolodeon Macpherson and his stoic and long-suffering partner Henderson), Trey, and Henry on his tail. Oh dear.

There are many bike chase scenes here, and while editing can be really annoying and jumpy at times, the movie still manages to provide many visual thrills. There are some obvious boo-boos like Shane and the villainess China duking it out in a surprisingly lame bike chase scene, but on the whole, Torque is all about the bikes and the speed. The humor is surprisingly sharp at first though, with some unexpected good laughs. I mean, who would thought that Mountain Dew represents the forces of good while Coke is evil?

The only problem I have with Torque is its slide into the realm of cartoon in its final twenty minutes. The chase scenes become utterly laughable in how fake and ridiculous they are (shooting trails of fire - wow, not!). The movie seems to be a parody itself at that stage, making me wonder who spiked the drinks of the production crew when they were filming the scenes of that portion of the movie.

While not as, er, visually arresting as some of the better machine porn movies in the past, Torque can still deliver some good laughs and thrills in its blessedly short running time (just a little over one and a half hour). Maybe I do wish that we have Paul Walker in this movie, but then again, every movie could use some naked Paul Walker as long as they don't make him speak too many lines. At the very least, maybe some members of the audience will learn a new word while watching this movie and figuring out how to pronounce the title.

Rating: 72

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