What is a “weak” plot? What is a 2 dimensional character? What is required to tell a good story? Redline not only pushes the limits of the medium of Animation (Japanese or otherwise), but it makes one reconsider what is needed to tell a good story in the first place.
Sure you could sum up Redline as a retelling of that Roger Corman classic Death Race 2000 (or Jason Statham Driving a Car and Killing People VIII aka Death Race) with a bit of Hanna Barbara’s Wacky Races® tossed in for a few laughs. But to simply chalk up Redline in such a way sells the film short by light years. Not only did director Takeshi Koike and writer (and character designer) Katsuhito Ishii produce a visual kick to the nuts, but they grabbed on with their toes and ripped them clean off your body….. and you thanked them for it.
I’ve been told via the “twitters” and internet relay chat that there are some body pillow enthusiasts who are downplaying this cinematic delight. They claim something along the lines of, “The animation was pretty! But the characters were two dimensional and there was no plot to speak of! >_< I mean come on THEY’RE NOT EVEN IN HIGH SCHOOL! ~_~;;;!” Well, something like that. Anyway, I’m here to tell you that you that these waifu-having Lucky Star dance-preforming bozos are wrong. Trust me, I only deal in fact.
So what’s Redline about? It’s about being totally bad ass. Not just totally bad ass but more than totally bad ass. How is that possible? Simple. Science. Well, Science Fiction. Redline is more than Death Race 2000, in space. It’s more than high frame rates and fluid animation. It’s a vacation to a vivid universe where every planet is teeming with crazy looking aliens and technology you wish was real is swarming all over the place like some 1980’s Trapper-Keeper come to life.
Sure, I could give you a plot synopsis. But that would not be in the spirit of what this movie is all about. Don’t think I am saying that there is no plot or that it’s even a weak story. The plot is there if you want it to be there. Ishii and Koike deliver the story in a very “less is more” matter. There is no drawn out exposition. News reports, race commentary, conversations between crooked mechanics and mafia dons, day dreams, and near death experiences present you with just enough information for you to fill in the blanks or imagine more of what could be going on.
The characters in Redline are on par with Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece in terms of shape and size as well as strong personalities. A cybernetic army sergeant who get super strong when he cries, raver space fairies, a bad ass metal man with his own theme song, and a glowing super-pimp gently kissing two women on the lips at the same time. These are just a small sample of the the over the top characters you will meet in this small trip. Sure you don’t learn about their favorite flavor of space ice cream or who their first kiss was or whatever lame details like that some people claim makes for an “interesting” or “deep” character.
Bill Hicks summed it up best when he was talking about music in one of his skits. “PLAY FROM YOUR FUCKING HEART!” he screams at his dumbfounded audience in the middle of a rant about superficial 80’s juggernauts Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. It doesn’t matter how well the song is played or how accurate the band preforms. What’s important is that they play from their heart and “chop down a mountain with the edge of your hand” and send mall rats screaming home to mommy.
Redline embodies this ideal. You’ll see the love the creators put into every detail. You’ll see the lust in every jiggle of a female form. You’ll see a manic imagination run wild as a car literally skims across water like a flat stone. You’ll feel the power as an entire valley explodes! All along you’ll be sitting there smiling so hard it hurts.