Redline (1997)

a.k.a. - Armageddon (UK) Deathline (USA)

Rutger Hauer stars in an excellent dark sci-fi thriller from director Tibor Takács and Nu-Image. Prism Leisure DVD UK R0 DVD.

The Film

In a dystopic near-future Russia, arms dealer John Anderson Wade is betrayed during a sale and shot in the head by his partner Merrick. Found by the military the next day, Wade is selected for an experimental new process, restoring him to life so the military can gain information about the underground arms trade in which he was involved. Escaping the medical facility, Wade has only revenge in mind...

Co-written by the director Tibor Takács and Brian Irving, Redline is a modern midnight movie and was clearly intended for late-night television or video rental, packing in plenty of action scenes with a good dose of sex and nudity - unlike most though, this film comes with a storyline as well and although hardly original, it is detailed enough to keep the film moving and interesting throughout.

The setting itself is more ambitious than most - a near-future, dystopic (seemingly post-economic collapse) Russia under a semi-dictatorial Presidency, which all seems very plausible - there are some more sci-fi type ideas developed, with the resurrection technology and living fantasy machines that play clever but relatively minor roles in the storyline. The revenge storyline is pretty typical of the genre but fleshed out enough to keep the pace up for 90 minutes, while what seems at first to be a token romance is actually a major thread in the plot. There are a few surprises that keep things interesting, although the script avoids the tenuous twists of many other similar thrillers and is always easy to follow, keeping up the good pacing to a fitting finalé, although the final coda seems a little unnecessary.

Behind the camera, Takács does some solid work, immersing the film in the dark dystopic atmosphere of the script. The East European locations used in most of the Nu-Image films are perfectly suited for the setting and the set design conveys the futuristic feel well. The action scenes are ably handled, without the shaky-cam or rapid-editing of most digital-era productions. Composer Guy Zerafa (Mega Snake (2007)) provides a fitting and well used soundtrack - the only flaw being with an annoying upbeat track that runs over the end credits and seems completely out of place.

One of the great cult stars of contemporary film, Rutger Hauer, takes the lead role here and gives a fine performance as the almost emotionless Wade while still pulling off plausible action scenes at the age of 53. His casting provides a nice variation from the invariably 20-something stars of most other modern action films. Beautiful Italian actress Yvonne Sciň makes for an appealing co-star and is convincing in the fight scenes, while American Mark Dacascos is well cast as the villain Merrick.

A small, unassuming dark sci-fi thriller, Redline is everything you could want from a modern midnight movie - action scenes, nudity, Rutger Hauer and a neat storyline. Fans of DTV thrillers will find plenty to enjoy here.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Rutger Hauer - Dutch actor with a lengthy filmography including Blade Runner (1982) and Sin City (2005)
Directed by anyone interesting? Tibor Takács - best known for helming fantasy horror The Gate (1987), more recently he has mostly worked in low budget TV films, including Mega Snake (2007) and NYC: Tornado Terror (2008)
Any gore or violence ? Plenty of blood but nothing particularly gory.
Any sex or nudity? Numerous female topless shots.
Who is it for? Fans of slightly surreal late night action films should enjoy this, not for a mainstream palate.

Visuals Original aspect ratio - 1.33:1 fullscreen. Colour
Good picture quality for a DTV film of the era, sharper than VHS.
Shot for video premiere so the academy ratio is correct.
Audio English stereo - sounds fine.
Subtitles None
Extras None.
Region Region 0 (ALL) - PAL
Availability Available on its own or in various multi-pack incarnations..
Other regions? Available on a similar print from Image in the US.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. Titles and credits are in English.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 23rd March 2012.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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