Time Enforcer Anubis here with a fresh review!
There’s something to be said about works that put animation above all else. For a visual medium like anime, the quality of the animation can make or break a production. REDLINE, the subject of this review, took seven years to meticulously animate.
REDLINE is a 2009 sci-fi racing film by studio Madhouse. It tells the story of “Sweet” JP, a racer who, after narrowly losing the “Yellow Line” race, qualifies for the extremely dangerous REDLINE, following two REDLINE qualifiers dropping out. The REDLINE is an annual race that, this year, takes place on Roboworld, a militaristic planet whose government is heavily opposed to the REDLINE taking place on their world, as they have several secret military projects they don’t want discovered.
REDLINE is extremely well-animated. Everything is vibrant and has motion and definition, even random background characters. Everything from the environments to the cars and characters are heavily stylized and beautifully presented. Even with the fast pace of the racing, there’s no lull in the animation quality at all.
Past the animation, however, REDLINE begins to fall short. The story is mostly an excuse for high-speed races, explosions, and highly-kinetic action, which would be alright if the action wasn’t so underwhelming. REDLINE manages to make speed mundane, reason being that when the default speed is as high as REDLINE’s, there’s only one way to depict higher speeds, and that’s by adding more ridiculousness.
REDLINE’s most interesting part is actually the slowest. Around the middle of the movie, we see the “calm before the storm” so-to-speak, as the racers prepare for the REDLINE. This is when the racers are introduced. In addition, we also see flashbacks to JP’s past (Which never end up mattering much later).
The racing, REDLINE’s “main attraction” is, however, remarkably uncompelling. Things just get faster and faster and faster, while Roboworld’s military unsuccessfully attempt to stop the race. Not much else happens, however. The combat is intense, but ineffectual, even when one of Roboworld’s superweapons awakens and proceeds to destroy everything. When all’s said and done, all that really happens is the race, and not even that is very compelling.
The music and animation are very good, but there’s not much more to REDLINE than that. After seven years of production, REDLINE comes to the table with lots of style, but no substance. It’s disappointing seeing such fantastic animation go without an equally fantastic story, compelling action, or a coherent plot.
If you’ve got two hours to spend watching a movie purely for its animation, REDLINE’s your movie. If you’re looking for a movie with some actual substance, however, you’ll likely be disappointed by REDLINE.
‘Till next time!