I’ve never competed in a Nascar race after being awake for 36 hour while high on mushrooms, cocaine, adderall, 12 cups of coffee, the little clear pill from “Limitless,” and airplane glue, but I’m assuming the experience would be something close to “REDLINE.” Anime has never been a medium grounded in reality, and “REDLINE” reminds us of that. If you’re going to watch this, it better be on a large screen at a deafening volume.
“REDLINE” follows the story of JP and his participation in the insanely dangerous Redline race. Vehicles hover at this point in the future, but cars with tires are just so damn entertaining. The event is held every five years, and this year is particularly dangerous because it takes place on Roboworld. Roboworld claims to be a planet that encourages peace and progression so they oppose the violent and chaotic Redline race. It’s actually a highly militarized place, with a hostile president, and their flag is damn close to a swastika.
I’m not sure when “REDLINE” is suppose to take place. It’s in the future, that’s for sure, but I’m not even sure if earth still exists. Humans seem to be the minority as there are a ridiculous amount of species gracing the screen. Some are dog people, some are robots, some are crab like folks, some have multiple appendages, and so on.
The attention to detail in “REDLINE” is stellar (I think that’s the first time I ever used the word “stellar” un-ironically). The colors are vibrant, the animation is beyond fluid, and the perspectives are otherworldly. The whole experience is a hyper creative spectacle saturated in boisterous sounds and colors. I can’t really say that I have seen anything like this before. I guess that’s a good thing, but I can’t say I enjoyed this movie in its entirety.
If this movie didn’t have dialog and was accompanied by a stellar (there it is again) soundtrack I may have enjoyed it more. The scenes that have nothing to do with racing are hard to swallow due to it’s lack of story and poor dialog.There are also a ridiculous amount of side characters that have their own wacky story. There’s nothing complex in the plot, but the pure density of “REDLINE” is what saves it. The films frantic pace won’t give you enough time to question what the hell you just watched.
Alright, I’m going to start complaining about this film’s creativity. I feel like I have a valid point in my head, but I’m not sure what it will sound like when I attempt to articulate it. When the gates of imagination are wide open, story structure suffers. In a universe where anything can happen, your investment to the characters deflate. When JP crashes in the beginning, he’s hospitalized. So we establish that he can’t just walk away from crashes. Later on, there’s a scene where he crashes a hover bike and is hurled at blinding speed into a flower patch. He gets up as if nothing happened. That’s just an example for he gets in all sorts of massive crashes and just walks away.
There seems to be quite a few situations where characters are cornered and then something totally random saves them. So why am I going to care? They’ll be a giant squid monster to fight the bio-weapon, magic strippers will give you a path to the finish line, and a fucking bomb will give you a speed boost rather than kill you like it was suppose to. JP has a pretty gripping back story that is ripe for a nice arc, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t learn a damn thing. Unbound creativity is pretty, but restraint is what keeps you hooked and forces you to write.
Even though I just wrote two overly wordy paragraphs about how this movie is the cinematic equivalent to mozzarella sticks, I love mozzarella sticks. Sure, they have zero nutritional value, but I still eat them once in a while. I was never bored and the production value is outstanding. You need movies like “REDLINE” to establish what’s possible, and “REDLINE” reminds you that the impossible is very much possible….possible.