Gang members, street racing, cops, explosions, minimal gunfire, and Matt Schulze. You think I'm describing the plot to The Fast and the Furious, don't you?
Well, think again. These six elements actually are pieces of the 2004 flop, Torque. Martin Henderson stars as biker Cary Ford as he tries to clear his name after being framed by an old rival (Matt Schulze) for murdering biker gang leader Trey (Ice Cube)'s younger brother. The primary plot is very different from the Fast franchise, but nonetheless, it feels just like those films only on motorcycles.
The film is even produced by the same producer, Neil H. Moritz, features famous anti-hero/antagonist Vincent returning for a different role, and directly references one of the lines from the original Fast film, calling it the stupidest thing they've ever heard.
But even with all of these terrible similarities, the film actually has many good qualities. The direction is fast-paced and well-edited, the visual effects are pretty okay for the time, and the humor does work often.
Do these make this the greatest movie ever? No, not by a long shot (or shall we say, "By a quarter-mile?"). However, seeing as how this film was released on the heels of the first two Fast films and Biker Boyz, this movie was pandering to the wrong audience.
Rather than no CGI and all practical effects, audiences were treated to a combination with Torque, which threw many (including myself) off. Also seeing Schulze play the guy to root against (once again), it just felt like we were watching the first Fast and Furious movie all over again.
Granted, seeing as how the Fast franchise is still going strong, this film would have to wait another century it feels like in order to set itself apart, but if this film had waited longer to be released, it might have gotten more appreciation than what it has now.
The story will never be original again, unless some writer delivers the best twist ever on the frame-up genre, but the use of bikers and street motorcycle racers is a twist that should be used more often in films and TV.
Overall, Torque was not the greatest action movie in the world, but for what it was, it has some entertaining moments, and would've worked a whole lot better if it waited for a lull in the Fast franchise hype.