©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
Every right imaginable is reserved.


This week:

Filthy says:
"Pay $8.50 to dip your head in a bucket of shit.

The Third Man is a great Orson Welles movie based on a Graham Greene/Carol Reed story. A western writer goes to post-war Vienna to visit his pal Harry Lime, a man he has always looked up to. Upon his arrival he discovers his friend was just killed in a car accident. The truth is, the friend isn't dead; he has faked his death to elude the police. They're after him for selling diluted penicillin to hospitals, which is killing children. Harry Lime is one of the all-time super creeps, and when we first see him, he's a sniveling coward. Greene and Welles wanted to make him the most despicable criminal imaginable, They couldn't think of anything worse than someone who'd kill children out of pure greed. They never met the people that made Torque.

Torque, or better yet, Dorque, is to cinema what watered-down penicillin is to the children's ward. What a worthless exercise in greed. It's a racist, homophobic, male-only circle jerk written to let twelve-year old boys know how 13-year old boys view the world. It could have been made better by any change, by any effort, but clearly none was made. The result is the kind of movie where the crowd is asked to cheer when a sign says "Cars suck." Yeah! Fuck yeah! Motorcycles fucking rule! Woooo! Oh, wait, how did I get to the theater again? The men bond over nothing more than their love of motorsiccles, and all the woman are hot, quiet and obedient.

Martin Henderson, an actor as thin, reedy and annoying as a grade school flute solo, is a lonely heart back from six months in Thailand. He went there to keep his girl from getting ensnared in his legal troubles. He lives for motorcycles, big Japanese bikes that seethe and tremor between his legs the same way those Thai pool boys did. Why did he choose Thailand? That's never explained, and it apparently hasn't changed him, but I think it's supposed to make him appear worldly to the twelve-year olds.

Henderson has stolen drugs from Matt Schultze, a bad guy with a big glistening Harley dangling from his crotch. Harleys the motorcycle equivalent of a flabby, middle-aged alcoholic woman, except they have more chrome. If the middle-aged drunkettes I know had as much chrome and leather fringe on them, they'd probably have guys on their backs too.

Schultze wants his drugs. And the FBI wants the holder of the drugs. But Henderson won't tell anyone. He reasons, in one of many painful scenes where someone talks, that Schultze won't kill him until he reveals the location of the "millions" in crystal meth. In fact, it's two motorcycle gas tanks full of crystal meth. Probably more like $5,000 worth. But quibbling over a story flaw that minor in Torque is like hating Hitler for the way he chewed schnitzel.

Given that Schulze doesn't want Henderson dead, it's strange that he frames him for the murder of Ice Cube's brother, so that Ice Cube and his gang want to kill him. I'm not sure how having someone else kill Henderson gets Schultze meth back, but, hey, that's the story screenhack Matt Johnson farted out, and nobody in Hollywood gave a shit enough to change it.

The result is a dogpile of clichÈd action sequences that are supposed to somehow be fresh because they happen on motorcycles. There is a collision followed by a gun that skitters loose between the two combatants. The movie rips off Michelle Yeoh's moving train motorcycle jump from Supercop, not once but twice. It even includes enemies separated because one was able to get across train tracks before the train came, and the other wasn't. There's also, I swear to God, a man in distress on train tracks as a locomotive barrels down on him. You're probably thinking, that's a lot of trains. Well, this is a movie about surrogates for dicks.

The train barreling down on a stuck Ice Cube actually reveals the true racist nature of Torque. Ice Cube is stuck and Henderson, who is trying to escape him stops to watch. The train is huge and coming on fast. It blares its horns. The driver clearly sees Cube. It's 1000 feet away and Cube is crapping his gay motorcycle leathers. It's 500 feet away and Henderson is still watching. The train is still blaring its horn and Barreling along. It's 200 feet away and Henderson leaps into action. It's not until whitey Henderson is on the tracks that the movie cuts to a shot of the train driver slamming on the brakes. Torque says, "Blacks are cheap and easily replaceable."

Ice Cube doesn't help. Holy shit is he a bad actor. He mistakes gritting teeth for toughness. I can hardly wait to see the ventriloquist-in-the-hood flick he's rehearsing for throughout this movie, because he's got the speaking without moving his lips thing donwn pat. Mr. Cube already sold his soul and now has the carcass up for auction. Seriously, there ain't nothing behind the eyeballs. A man who once was genuinely and articulately angry at the world and didn't take shit from nobody willingly barfs up the lines of a hack screenwriter. I assume Johnson is a white supremacist, or a self-hating black). At one point Ice Cube says, "Fuck tha Police." No, Ice Cube, fuck you. You turned a call to war into the punchline in a shitty, racist movie. You fucking sellout coward, did you ever think you'd be taking roles that were too white for LL Cool J?

The movie's other blacks are portrayed as lazy, slovenly, shady and only able to communicate in the sort of street language that middle-aged salesmen shout during racquetball matches. Not that the whites are portrayed any better. Everyone is dumb as a dumpster of dog crap, speaking in monosyllabic slogans torn from the "No Fear" T-shirt collection. The fashion and music is taken from some nebulous place and time. They look like they shaved off their mullets yesterday. Henderson wears orange and black leathers with "Carpe Diem" imprinted on the front. Wow, how profound; like it was ripped right off an eighth grader's Peechee. I wonder why not "Free Tibet."

The acting is uniformly awful, all sneers and ham as broad as the asses in the seats at McDonald. The dialog is the sort of sloganeering shit that is used to sell beer, and it has the balls to mock better bad movies, like the Fast and the Furious. It's one thing to suck, it's another to suck and be so fucking clueless you can't tell.

The special effects, besides being unnecessary, often look like a very bad video game. The live action suddenly turn into low resolution video graphics. We're also subjected to "stunts" that so obviously defy the laws of physics that they're laughable. Two people popping wheelies in order to use their bikes as swords? Yeah, that was funny on The Simpsons a few years ago.

If only Torque knew how fucking awful it was. If the movie could laugh at itself, or apologize, I might not be so mad. If it admitted to being awful, maybe I could laugh with it. It doesn't confess. It's watered-down penicillin, packaged and marketed just like the real stuff, and prescribed in the same amount. Fucking deadly. One Finger.

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Ain't It Cool News

Torque is "a smart, funny, thrilling comic book. Better than the Fast and the Furious!"

Seriously, how desperate do you have to be to quote Ain't It Cool News?

Filthy's Reading
Jonathan Raban - Passage to Juneau

Listening to
B-52's - The B-52's


Twin Peaks - First Season