Concession Confession: High octane speed and a beautiful hand drawn art style gives there a lot to marvel at. Some of the plot surrounding the race is a little meandering but not enough to prevent this from being a complete joy ride.
Logline: “Sweet” JP qualifies as a replacement to enter the Redline, the galaxy’s most coveted race. When intergalactic affairs and corrupt mob bosses stand in between the goal, JP does what he does best and that’s race to the finish.
Well kids, maybe never bet on something when you yourself don’t even believe you’re going to win. Yeah, I told my friend in a survival NFL Pick’em league that the Colts would keep with the 9 year tradition and lose on opening day. Only to then turn around and taunt my friend Scott (That’s Mechanical Anime Reviews BTW, I call him Scott because we’re cool like that) who is a Seahawks fan. Well it turns out Scott is not going to have to write about something spooky but instead I’m being rewarded by getting to watch Redline.
To be honest, I’m not much of a racing movie fan. Honestly, I tend to find most racing franchises a dime a dozen. Neat in principle and a nice excuse to experiment with a plethora of different character designs. However, with most of the characters confined to being behind the wheel and never really explored enough past a cool Wiki page read, it is hard to invest in any particular franchise.
Instead I much prefer when a cartoon takes pre-existing characters and put them in a Whacky Races scenario. Race episodes are one of my favorite formats, you can take your beach episodes I like when a character magically has a go-kart that perfectly matches their personality and enters a contest. There’s an abundance of great racing episodes out there from: Kid’s Next Door, to the dozen that Johnny Test did, and I mean Teen Titans had a great racing episode to name a few.
Using pre-existing characters as an anchor has always allowed to better enjoy the superficial storyline of the race and be more invested in the what is happening than the who. Sure it might feel telegraphed to have Scooby-Doo in a monster race and who is going to win but I like having someone to root for whether it be their style or purpose in the race.
Making Racing Fans Proud
While Redline is a bunch of new characters it does everything you’d expect from the racing genre. It’s a movie that makes me misses hand drawn 2-D animation in the mainstream. 100,000 drawings and seven years of production was definitely worth it for this gem. The film is so uniquely stylized and smooth taking advantage of lines and models to present the action instead of some janky CGI. It honestly almost has a pop art aesthetic to it, and it is always something to aww at in each frame. It’s such a daring and experimental art style that the film almost becomes entirely worth watching just for that sole reason.
Whether it’s been F-Zero, Initial D, or other arcade racing game we can all agree that your racing franchise needs to deliver on a bumping soundtrack. Well it is safe to say that James Shimoji’s tracks are the perfect blend of infusion of the genre as well as getting distinct enough to have its own sound. It definitely brings the energy and works well in a number of scenes.
Honestly Redline is dying for a game adaptation. Racing games need to stand out at this point and channeling into the film’s unique art style could be a fun and interesting challenge for a game developer to manage. Personally I would hope for something like Cel Damage or at the very least an attempt to keep the film’s more cartoony and colorful designs intact. The film plays like a cutscene, it presents a very stylized image and always feels like a special treat to view.
Is Redline a Great Movie?
Well, to be honest the storyline of the film is alright I guess. Honestly when the two above, the guys who look like they’re cosplaying as every Marvel character I usually tuned out. The don’t want the race to happen so they’re pretty stereotypical interference and they tend to say pretty ominous American-things. I don’t know if the intention was to target America specifically or just looming government interference, you just kind of hear immigrants bad, secret weapon projects, and trying to make questionable political gains and sit there like:
Yeah honestly maybe you guys could help me out. Has there ever been a racing movie that seems to know how to end it. It seems like their is two kinds of endings; abrupt okay folks race is over, now everyone go home. Or way too much unnecessary let’s spend another 10 minutes doing nothing much. Ford vs Ferrari was okay I guess and Cars might have the best race movie ending. I don’t know am I the only one that feels that way, and what are your great race movie endings?
It’s sort of an expected outcome, the race is maybe a little bit shorter than I would have liked and the incorporation of a lot of the outside plot stuff never really comes into the picture in a satisfying enough way to really justify how much time it consumes away from the race. The world-building is pretty fantastic and I would love to see more exploration and different racing circuits from it if an opportunity for a follow up were to happen.
Ultimately the film is lacking enough character or thematic depth to not feel like a typical racing affair, but if you have a need for speed this movie makes it look freaking awesome and is undeniably a neat experience. I’d put it next to Golgo 13 in the, very aggressively playing within the genre expectations and while maybe not exceeding expectations in a tremendous way it achieved what it set out to do and was a cool ride.
Let me know what you thought in the comments, you can find this on Tubi and uploaded to YouTube for free so check it out. There’s so much weird robots and driver stuff that I’m not going into but why ruin the surprise? It’s a movie that will definitely make you think, now this is podracing! If you have watched it who was your favorite driver, and why is it the twins and not the Scooby-Doo guy that I like! As always thanks for reading, and I will see you at the movies!