“Torque” is basically a “Fast and the Furious” movie with all of the dials turned up to 11, and with motorcycles instead of cars. That pretty much covers the basic summary of this movie. The film takes place in what I assume is a fantasy realm with looser physical laws more akin to the Loony Toons universe than our own, at least judging from the ludicrous opening sequence.
Something that I neglected to mention in the video review up top is the plethora of product placement scattered throughout this movie. The sheer quantity and brazenness of the advertisements make Michael Bay movies look subtle. For one particularly notable instance, there is a climactic bike duel that prominently features billboard backdrops of Pepsi and Mountain Dew. It is impossible to be more blatant with product placement than in this scene (or if it is, I’ve never seen an example of it).
I would be doing a disservice to everything good in the world to not at least mention the absolutely ridiculous special effects in this movie. I think they can be best described as “overzealous”. Just check out this final fight scene from the movie, and tell me they didn’t go completely overboard with the effects.
I had to re-watch that scene so many times to figure out what exactly happened. Everything is so distorted and frenetic that it is nearly impossible to make out the details of what is actually going on. That takes some real talent to make your pinnacle action scene so action-packed that the movie loses coherency.
Oh yes, there are also actors in “Torque”. They don’t matter all that much, but they are present. Most notably, Adam Scott of “Parks and Recreation” and “Party Down” plays one of the primary antagonists: a dirty special agent who is tracking down the film’s “hero”. To say that Scott’s performance is absolutely ridiculous doesn’t go nearly far enough: I am shocked that he ever got acting work ever again. Other notables in the cast include Ice Cube, who does his typical role of scowling and being angry at things, and Dane Cook, who is mercifully absent for the vast majority of the movie.
There is interestingly a fair amount of controversy around “Torque” in the bad movie community, specifically in regards to the film’s earnestness. Is “Torque” an honestly made bad movie? There seem to be lots of people who think that Torque was made intentionally over the top as a self-parody on the genre. I can see some slight nods to this in the movie, but I don’t think they are quite frequent or blatant enough to convince me that this movie was an intentional farce. My personal opinion is that the filmmakers realized that the movie was going too far over the top, and the humor was an attempt to try and ground it in some way. If you ask me, the nods and winks actually did the movie a disservice. I know I would have enjoyed the movie more as a bad movie if it didn’t try to feign parody, and just owned the identity as a ridiculous action movie.
When it comes right down to it, I feel like I can recommend “Torque” for what it is: dumb action. If you want to see over the top explosions and ridiculous content, this is a movie to check out. Just don’t expect anything more than that.
“Torque” isn’t in the IMDb Bottom 100 any more, which isn’t terribly shocking. The movie is silly, but the production values are good, and the semi-popular opinion that it is a self-parody has gained it some levity from audiences I think. I personally see this as a genuinely bad movie, but not so bad that it necessarily merits a spot in IMDb’s basement.
If you would like to hear more about the good, the bad, and the ugly of “Torque”, I highly recommend checking out the Bad Movie Fiends Podcast episode on the movie.