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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring (voice): Takuya Kimura, Yu Aoi and Tadanobu Asano
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 14 November 2011

JP is a retro dude with a taste for speed. Entering racing tournaments, he is always the ‘almost man’, with his fans both dismayed and delighted with his spectacular crashes which usually come at the end of races he nearly wins. What his fans don’t know is that JP is throwing the races to help the mob and help keep him out of jail. After coming in last, again and totalling his car JP hears that he has been entered in one of the most dangerous races, the Redline; dangerous because of the total lack of rules but also because this year the race is to be held on Roboworld, a planet of military cyborgs who have vowed to kill anyone taking part...

Redline (2009 - 1 hr, 42 min, 42 sec) is a science fiction amine, focused on racing. Seven years in the making the film was directed by Takeshi Koike from a screenplay by Katsuhito Ishii, Yōji Enokido and Yoshiki Sakurai. The film picked up the award for Outstanding Achievement in Feature Filmmaking at the 2011 Newport Beach Film Festival.

The first thing which strikes you about the film is its unique, stylised form of animation, which is bolder and a little less polished than its contemporaries. Bright colours fight with brash and dramatic drawing in almost every frame.

The story isn’t that original, with our hero engaging in a series of events which look exceedingly like Wacky Races on drugs. His chance to race openly to win, even if it on a planet full of slightly mad cyborgs, is too much for our hero to miss out on. Whether he wins or not is a moot point as the film is all about experiencing the journey. In the same way that The Fifth Element oozed style, sometimes over content, so Redline occasionally makes the same mistake.

It is not a mistake it makes often and there are some wonderfully eccentric vignettes within the film, my favourite is when JP crashes for the first time. The film cuts, without warning, to a scene of a family watching the race. The style of animation changes dramatically as the mother proclaims that only violence can get her hot nowadays. Brilliantly subversive, the film does dip a bit when JP gets to Roboworld and prepares for the race, but things are picked up swiftly as they head for the titular Redline race.

The film is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen with either an English DD 5.1 or DD 2.0 audio track or Japanese DD 5.1 or DD 2.0, both with English subtitles. Extras are limited to the Redline Trailer 2006 (4 min, 51 sec) and the Quick Guide to Redline (24 min, 09 sec), in Japanese with English subtitles; it’s your average ‘making of’ feature.

Lack of extras aside, this is well worth checking out, its hand drawn cells is a nice change to the plethora of CGI’d anime which has been made recently.


Charles Packer

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