STARRING: Rutger Hauer, Mark Dacascos, Yvonne Scio, Patrick Dreikauss, Randall William Cook, Michael Mehlmann, Ildikó Szücs, István Kanizsay, Gabor Peter Vincze

1997, 113 Minutes, Directed by: Tibor Takács

Description: In the future, death is only the beginning. In the tradition of such science fiction classics as "Blade Runner" and "Escape From New York" comes a terrifying vision of a future unlike any seen before. When John Wade (Rutger Hauer) tries to smuggle fantasy chips for the city's cyberjunkies, he is betrayed by his partner, Merrick (Mark Dacascos), and killed. Authorities resurrect him with bio-synthetic cyber-implants to interrogate him regarding the Troika, a crime syndicate that counts Merrick as a member. Once alive, Wade escapes and begins an intensive search for Merrick in the underworld of the future--seedy cyber-slums and sex dens--to exact revenge on the traitor in a blaze of gunfire. After dodging assassins and scavenger bounty hunters, Wade realizes that in this world, he can trust no one.

You know you're watching a straight-to-video cheapie when you have Rutger (who'll never again star in the likes of Blade Runner and Ladyhawke it seems) Hauer in a long black coat fighting a completely nude (!) woman kickboxer.

Yeah, Redline doesn't shy away from some gratuitous violence and T&A. Early on in the movie the chief baddie, after beating the crap out of someone he's trying to intimidate, slices off the poor guy's fingers with a samurai sword and stuffs it into his mouth. Later on, every attempt is made to populate the movie with sexy young women in revealing/sluttish clothing and/or in various states of undress. If you hold on a bit longer you'll see Hauer (in said black coat) having a bit of two-on-one action with two nubile starlets in a virtual reality shower scene.

If this sounds like your kind of B-movie, don't be fooled. Redline (which may be gathering dust on your local video shelf depending on where you're actually reading this under the title of either Armageddon (!) or Deathline) isn't much fun.

The story plods along not making much sense, the dialogue is wooden and the acting even more so. It is a dull affair - and not much in the MSTK3000 way that similar trashy movies like Barb Wire or Hauer's earlier Split Second were. There just doesn't seem to be any spark of life in the whole affair and the action scenes falls firmly in the uninspiring Nemesis mould. Not even lots of beer and pizza can save this one . . .

It needn't have been this way. The director managed to find some very interesting and atmospheric locations to film Redline (although it is set in a post-economic collapse Russia, it was apparently filmed in Hungary) and the photography is pretty good. Also, a fleeting scene in which Eisenstein's famous Battleship Potempkin Odessa steps sequence is parodied is pretty clever. But it all falls apart under the bog standard and dull screenplay about a small-time crook (Hauer) seeking revenge against his former partner who double crossed him.

Not even a few cool Strange Days-like cyberpunk gizmos can save Redline from becoming the type of movie you wouldn't even want to watch for free on the telly late one night . . .



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