Saturday, February 23, 2013

Redline Anime Movie Review

Manga Entertainment
Movie - 102 min. - 1 disc
$19.99 (2012) Blu-ray
$14.98 (2012)
ISBN 013132229294
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Takeshi Koike
Studio - Madhouse

Synopsis: The "Redline" is the top race in the universe - held every five years at a different secret location around the galaxy.  Racing in it is the ultimate goal for every wannabe racer and the winner gets incalculable prestige.  "Sweet JP" nearly wins a race called the "Yellowline", but loses at the last minute due to mechanical failure and misses qualifying for the Redline.  The failure was actually caused by Frisbee, his best friend and mechanic, who sabotaged JP's car.  Seems Frisbee and JP got into some trouble for fixing races and did some time.  They got out and had to fix another race to make some money, but JP loses himself within sight of the checkered flag during the Yellowline.  He would have won if not for Frisbee's intervention.
JP barrels toward the finish in the Yellowline with Sonoshee on his heels
Winning the Yellowline would have been a death sentence for both of them at the hands of the interstellar gangsters who paid them to throw the race.  Sonoshee McLaren wins the Yellowline and qualifies for the Redline.  JP recovers in a hospital bed and gets a visit from Frisbee holding a suitcase full of cash.  Just then a mob of press bust into the room with a startling revelation!
JP kicks in the nitro for the final stretch
Seems the current Redline is being held in Roboworld - a heavily militarized empire ruled by cyborgs.  The leader of Roboworld wants nothing to do with the race and forbids it from happening anywhere in his star systems.  Any caught participating will be executed and he mobilizes a military force to stop the race.  It's being held on a neutral planet filled with galactic refugees.  Two of the Redline qualifiers bailed out of the race to avoid enmity from Roboworld and making room for JP.  He's now in the Redline!
Sonoshee pushes herself to the limit to win!
The racers descend on the planet (top left to right, then bottom left to right):
  • Machine Head Tetsujin in his God Wing - A massive robotic racer who is literally part of his racing machine.  He's the reigning champion from the last Redline and a formidable opponent
  • Sonoshee McLaren in the Crab Sonoshee - she's a beautiful racer with pink hair and an amphibious vehicle. She's been racing for a long time and her father gave her a special fuel on her 7th birthday - a steamlight capsule.  She wears it around her neck.  
  • Lynchman & Johnny Boya in the Lynchcar - bounty hunting duo from planet Alsatia also known as The Mad Brothers.  They're gunning for payback from Machine Head for beating them in the last Redline.  Johnny Boya looks a little bit like Beavis (from Beavis and Butthead).  Lynch!!!
  • Trava & Shinkai in their Speedmaster - former members of the Roboworld military the race is personal for them.  Captain "Little" Deyzuna holds a special grudge against them for leaving him in the military. 
  • Super Boins in their Boincar - they are Boiboi and Bosbos, two ultra-hot super-women from the planet Supergrass.  They're from the royal family and race for Princess Supergrass, heir to the magical superpowers of their planet.
  • Gori-Rider in the Gorillatank - member of the Space Gorilla Police for Area-4.  Considered a dirty policeman and really named Hamesh Frini.  Smeared in the tabloids for having an affair with his race companion, Ms. Yang-Sue
  • Miki & Todoroki in the Semimaru - duo from Earth and winners of the Blueline.  They missed the Yellowline race because of being arrested by Gori-Rider.  They want payback against the big ape!
  • Sweet JP in his TransAm 20000 - He and Frisbee grew up in the slums and idolized the racers they watched.  JP became a phenomenal driver and Frisbee an awesome mechanic, but racing is an expensive sport.  They had to fix races to make money to keep racing.  
Frisbee tests the new engine for JP's car before the race
The President of Roboworld charges Colonel Volton with repelling the invaders.  Volton rallies his officers - Big Deyzuna, Dr. Sabose, and Little Deyzuna (whose special power gives him incredible strength the more he cries).  Can the racers avoid the flying bullets, missiles, and death rays of Roboworld?  Will Frisbee double-cross JP again?  Can JP's skill stand up to the deadly competition in the Redline?  Will the beautiful Sonoshee even give JP the time of day?  Who is the dreaded Funky Boy!?
The President of Roboworld gives "Little" Deyzuna a pep talk  before battle
Pros: Exhilarating and kinetic race scenes, great techno soundtrack, interesting character designs (especially the crazy looking aliens), tons of attitude and dripping with badass, beautiful girls - Sonoshee is hot, very brief nudity, nice final message in the ending
The Super Boins in a pre-race interview - they're also pop stars and make cute faces
Cons: Very simple plot without much depth, animation style uses a lot of blacks and is gritty, story jumps around almost like a music video, defies the laws of physics (those poor drivers would be jelly at the apparent speeds they're traveling)
JP meets Sonoshee for the first time and she tells him about
the steamlight capsule her father gave her when she was 7
Mike Tells It Straight: Redline is pure kinetic energy and non-stop action from start to finish.  The story is simple, but looks cool!  The animation style is reminiscent of underground comic books - gritty, heavy use of blacks and slick lines.  I kept thinking Heavy Metal magazine from the '80s as I watched it.  Great character designs and everyone is just dripping badass attitude.  Each character is hip with a neat backstory.
Machine Head Tetsujin is the returning champion from the last Redline
The soundtrack was energetic techno with some good songs although they get recycled a few times.  JP and Sonoshee are likable characters.  Downside is Redline's oversimplified plot - don't expect any deep meanings, witty dialogue, or crafty plot devices in this movie.  It's just about a guy in a race and a beautiful girl who is trying to beat him!  For such a straightforward plot it can actually get a bit confusing with the multitude of characters and fast-paced action.
Lynchman and Johnny Boya are psychotic bounty hunters
I liked Redline quite a bit and think it has crossover appeal to non-anime fans.  Entertaining and fun without the burdens of a complicated storyline.  Lots of cool science fiction and weird aliens to keep you distracted.  It's an easy watch and less of a time commitment than a ten hour anime series.  Had a classic style and feel despite the futuristic theme.  This movie is pure escapism and  looks like an underground comic book come to life.  Check this out if you want something upbeat and mindless.  
JP will win at any cost!

TO BUY and Recommendations: