Torque (2004)

We gleaned over this biker flick as part of our “Exploring: The Clones of the Fast & the Furious” featurette during our first “Fast & Furious Week” back in August. And since John Doe shows up as tough-ass sheriff, we decided to bring it back with a review proper for our “John Doe Week.”

That’s right. If you have a hankering for a movie that stars one of the guys from N.W.A and one of the guys from the Los Angeles punk band X — then this is your movie.

That’s not your rods n’ cones, that’s the copy. The guys who made the Fast and the Furious, XXX, and S.W.A.T made this.

Now, if this Ice Cube-fronted two-wheeler sounds a lot like the Laurence Fishburne-fronted Biker Boyz, you’re probably right, as both films went into production at the same time. But the better known Ice Cube John Doe one was concocted by the production team of the Fast & Furious franchise. And Dreamworks wanted some of that Warners Bros. F&F stank on the screen, so they came up with their quickie mockbuster knockoff, got it?

So, is this The Fast and the Furious . . . only on motorcycles? Well, do you see any Torque sequels on your streaming service? No, you don’t. And that’s what happens when you get a $45 million box-office return on your $40 million investment: for Torque is one of those films where its performances, writing, and direction are slagged across the board . . . but everyone praises the stunts — so much so that it was nominated for several Taurus Awards.

Taking its cues from those juvenile delinquency films of the ‘50s and ’60s, the Sharks and the Jets the Hellions and the Reapers are illegal street racing-cum-biker gangs that compete on the two-lane blacktop and in the crystal meth business. And one of those members of makes the mistake of returning from Thailand to set things straight with his estranged girlfriend. Is any one woman worth it? Apparently so: for when she’s kidnapped for leverage, her ransom is the delivery of two bikes filled with crystal meth because, well, illegal racers always deal meth to finance their bike builds. Complicating problems is yet another gang member who wants our on-the-run biker wusspud from Thailand for the murder of his brother.

Damn right our favorite punk bassist steals his scene/courtesy of backgroundartist.tumblr.com.

Along the way, Joe Doe shows up as the bad ass Sheriff Barner. Oh, and the always badass Dave Wyndorf and Monster Magnet appear in a club scene to perform “Monster of Light” from their sixth album Monolithic Baby! (2004) — which did nothing to place the song on Top 40 Active Rock charts. So, we’ll give Torque bonus points, not only for quenching our John Doe jonesin’, but for giving Wyndorf a line and letting him kick a little ass, and for ripping off George Romero’s Knightriders with a sword-jousting scene that inspired us to watch Knightriders, again.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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