Redline

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This review was written for the theatrical release of "Redline." 

Chicago Pictures

NEW YORK -- It's hard to say whether gleaming automobiles or women's bodies are given the more fetishlike treatment in this vanity production that opened Friday without press screenings. Apparently designed to show off the personal car collection of its producer and story creator, rich businessman Daniel Sadek, "Redline" is the cinematic equivalent of a sports car ad in Maxim magazine.

The story, such as it is, revolves around a series of illegal high-speed races that are wagered on a by a trio of bored rich guys, played by the slumming Tim Matheson, Angus MacFadyen and Eddie Griffith. (The latter, you might recall, was recently involved in a well-publicized accident involving an expensive Ferrari that just happened to occur shortly before this film was scheduled to open.)

Among the drivers are the daredevil Jason (Jesse Johnson), who in the film's opening-credit sequence is shown driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in one hour and 45 minutes, and the impossibly beautiful Natasha (Nadia Bjorlin), who becomes the object of one of the millionaire's obsessive attention. She in turn becomes involved with Jason's brother (Nathan Phillips), who has conveniently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq just in time to kick the bad guy's asses.

Featuring dialogue on the order of Natasha's being told to participate in a race "because it's what you were born to do," the film spends most of its time ogling a seemingly endless procession of barely clad women who serve as little more than visual props.

Director Andy Cheng provides a suitably glossy veneer to the proceedings, and MacFadyen, who is far too talented for this sort of stuff, does manage to deliver an interestingly quirky turn. But this mediocrity is mainly for teenage boys who are dreaming of pricey sports cars and beautiful women but unlikely to become acquainted with either.

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