Review By: John Fragglepuss Evans
Genre: Action, Sports, Sci-Fi, Racing, Death Race
First Released: August 2009, 102-minute film
Summary: In a future with all manner of flying cars, some drivers prefer to stick to the ground. Redline is the biggest and most deadly ground-based race in the universe. Races are held for drivers to qualify for this “once every five years” race. Drivers from all over the universe attempt to qualify for the Redline, hoping it will be their claim to fame. We follow JP, a reckless driver with a shady past, in his journey to get to this deadly race.
Redline is the directorial debut of Takeshi Koike. From the opening scene I noticed the unique animation style. The color and detail almost jumps off the screen, but not because it looks realistic. It is because it is so bright and vibrant. Even if you do not want to watch the whole film, it is worth at least watching a trailer or an AMV, just to witness the beautiful animation.
Despite a plot that is creative and well-paced, the film feels rushed. It feels like a story that would be better suited for a mini-series because of everything that happens over the course of the film. There are a few flashbacks and a few times we notice character development, but I wanted more. I guess that shows how much I enjoyed the film since it left me wanting more. Redline feels like a movie that could have been three hours long and still would feel short at the end of it.
One of my favorite parts of the film was how all the drivers received their own TV introduction. I enjoyed how the intros were done in a way that seemed almost like a video game, which fit the overall tone and animation style of the anime. That being said, I would have liked to get to know the characters (especially the drivers) better since they all seemed interesting. The characters were not extremely complex, but flashes were seen that could been added to their complexity and depth, if there was more time to explore their background.
As I mentioned, the tone of the anime seemed in many ways like a video game, complete with totally customizable cars and weapon additions to the vehicles. If you want a visual, just imagine an anime version of Mario Kart mixed with drama and loaded with action. The over-the-top tone is present in not only the actual racing, but in the preparation up to the race as well.
For a while I have thought that a bad soundtrack in a film is more noticeable than a good soundtrack. I notice bad soundtracks because they take me out of the moment in the film as I am thinking, “What is this music and why is it playing now?”. Good soundtracks keep me in the moment as they add to emotions you are already feeling while watching the scene. Redline did a great job with the soundtrack. As I rewatched some of the racing moments with the purpose of listening to the soundtrack, I noticed how the intensity and action of the race was captured by the music that accompanied it.
As a whole, Redline knew what it was trying to accomplish and did a great job of it. It is not an attempt to accurately showcase car racing, it is a futuristic sci-fi anime that happens to include racing. It is an action-packed film from the opening scene to the final credits, with all manner of humans and aliens doing whatever it takes to win the most dangerous race in the universe.
You might enjoy this if: You like over-the-top racing, video games, or unique animation. You don’t have to be into all three, just one or the other. I am not into racing, but I still really liked Redline.
You might not like it if: You want to stick to a more traditional style of animation in your anime.
Note to the Viewer: The tagline of Redline during its release was, “Witness the Future of Animation”.
AMV – Ride or Die by Kyssifur
(Warning, the AMV contains minor spoilers. This is the AMV that made me want to watch Redline immediately, so I highly recommend it.)