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Linus de Paoli [Film Festival 08.17.09] Japan movie review anime action

Year: 2009
Directors: Takeshi Koike
Writers: ?
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Linus de Paoli
Rating: 8 out of 10

Another great night on the Piazza: First William Friedkin received the "Leopard of Honor", held a speech about how he was influenced by European filmmakers of the 60s and the national-nervous-breakdown America was going through at the same time. After that he presented his 1985 classic "To Live And Die In L.A." – 80s hurray! It’s too bad that more than half of the audience left afterwards and missed the world premiere of Takeshi Koike’s "Redline", which might just be one of the craziest films ever to be screened in Locarno!

If you don’t like animation, over the top action and luscious colors, don’t go near his film. It is pure adrenaline from minute 1 to 100. Whenever I thought it couldn’t get any louder or faster, it proofed me wrong. This is the next level of stimulus satiation. I’ve never seen anything like it.

As expected, the "story" is more or less an excuse to get to the action. While I've seen worse, there is a plot. Set in “the distant future”, sweet JP, a futuristic “Leningrad Cowboy” is a courageous racing talent and secretly in love with his strongest competitor, Sonoshee, who inspired him to become a racer. They both qualify for the Redline, a race event without any rules and the biggest media event of the universe. The other racers are strange creatures; robots, cyborgs, cute cyber-twins – all willing to kill for glory! Unfortunately, the race is also illegal, so the racers are being chased by each other AND local authoritie. As if that wasn’t already enough, Sweet JP doesn’t know that one of his mechanics is double crossing him!

Koike described his first full length feature as "Pop Art", which fits pretty good. Only that Lichtenstein, Warhol & co never went so far. Realism farewell, every character is a caricature or freak, some are even animals. Cars, bikes and buildings are colossal. Every color, every single element is gaudy and screams to be seen. Sweet JP’s Elvis-haircut is twice the size of his head. It is obviously reminiscent of "Speed Racer", but compared with Koike’s high-octane speed trip, the Wachowski brothers’ jolly comic adaptation seems like a merry-go-around.

Some other films that came to my mind are "Heavy Metal" for its loudness and bombastic attitude and “Death Race 2000”, which presents a similar story in a colorful science fiction setting as well. But the only thing you can really compare "Redline" to is watching a pro-gamer play "F-ZERO X" in double speed for 2 Hours.

"Redline" also throws elements of live TV shows in the mix, as if you were watching a live broadcast with commentary and background info on the drivers. Sometimes we even get to see the commentators, two aliens, in their studio!

The soundtrack is packed with speeding techno tunes. Not really my style, but anything else would have been wrong.

It is easy to criticize "Redline" for being stupid, tasteless and hyperactive to an unbearable degree. And yes, this movie will not make you more intelligent. If I had the chance to change something, I would give the character and conflicts some more room to develop, because there is potential for more suspense and romance. But I say it’s worth it anyway. Fasten your seatbelts, lean back and GO-GO-GO!!!

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Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

looks very studio 4c/ production I.G. from that one picture. Looks very promising.


Anonymous (10 years ago) Reply

It;d was done by Madhouse, however, the director, has worked for production I.G. before as a lead animator. I watched the trailer and it is very reminiscent of one of his production I.G. movies Dead Leaves.

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