The fast-paced and notably furious Torque is not streaming but is available for purchase on Amazon, and we think it’s worth a look. The 2004 directorial debut of Joseph Kahn, the film is written by Matt Johnson and produced by Neal H. Moritz. The cast includes Adam Scott, Martin Henderson, Ice Cube, Monet Mazur, and Jaime Pressly.
Torque follows a biker named Cary Ford, played by Martin Henderson, who finds motorcycles filled with crystal meth and decides to hide them. But Henry James, a gangster, wants to reclaim his drugs and frames Ford for the murder of the brother of a notorious biker gang member, played by Ice-T. Ford ends up running from both the FBI and the motorcycle gang in an attempt to prove his innocence.
Torque is a blatant copy of The Fast and The Furious but it’s a campy good time that serves as a time capsule of 2004 pop culture.
The similarities between Torque and the Fast and the Furious franchise are likely not accidental as one of the film’s producers is Neal H. Moritz, best known for his work on the powerhouse Vin Diesel auto-racing film series. The action here is centered more around motorcycles than cars, but the connections are clear, meaning this movie could appeal to fans of the long-running action franchise.
As a Warner Bros. property, though, Torque was planned as something of a competitor to Universal’s The Fast and the Furious, and while the latter was the clear winner in that race, Torque definitely deserves an honorable mention.
The movie even pokes fun at its more successful rival, stealing the line “I live my life a quarter-mile at a time,” followed by the retort, “That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.” It also features Matt Schulze as Henry James, who is the same actor who played Vince, a former childhood friend of Dominic Toretto and member of the truck hijacking team who appeared again later in the series.
Torque also opens with the protagonist beating two cars in a race on his motorcycle, speeding past a sign that reads, “Cars Suck.” The jabs at the car racing series didn’t help the film pull ahead in the box office race, but it’s still a fast, fun ride that will surely appeal to adrenaline junkies who haven’t yet discovered it. With a soundtrack featuring Hoobastank, MxPx, and Monster Magnet, among others, it’s also a feast for fans of that musical era.
Torque earned $46 million at the box office, barely passing its budget of $40 million, but it ultimately lost money thanks to an extensive marketing campaign.
Though Torque opened at number four at the box office, it ultimately failed to adequately recoup its budget and received some poor reviews from critics at the time. However, others have praised it as unpretentious and fun, with Kevin Thomas of the L.A. Times calling it “terrific” and “stylish.” The film has since developed a cult following, especially among those who appreciate both racing, action, and the film’s ambitious, thrill-packed stunts.
If nothing else, Torque certainly delivers on that front, featuring stunts that have garnered not only audience attention but award nominations. It received nods for Best Specialty Stunt and Best Overall Stunt by a Stunt Man at the World Stunt Awards, and though it did not win, the industry attention demonstrates the quality of the stunt work in the film. Even if the movie didn’t have much else going for it, it would definitely be noteworthy on that account.
For his part, Jeremy Wheeler of AllMovie.com was very enthusiastic in his review of Torque, likening it to a shot of adrenaline directly into the heart and praising it for enthusiastically embracing its own over-the-top nature. According to Wheeler, the film is so filled with excitement that people with certain medical conditions might want to avoid it.
He also, however, recommended that people who are fans of serious films should stay away from the movie as well, indicating its status as pure popcorn fare, not trying at all to be a classic but definitely putting a lot of energy into delivering a good time to audiences who are willing to cast aside their cinematic snobbery and have fun.
Torque has developed a cult following, which may be ironic or just Adam Scott fans happy to see the Parks and Recreation star being part of such a bonkers film.
If you’re a thrill seeker of the movie variety, Torque might be just what you’re looking for—a high-adrenaline, high-action movie that puts fun and excitement over all else and takes a few swipes at The Fast and the Furious along the way. And who knows? Maybe it’s time for a sequel or at least another film that emphasizes motorcycles the way this one does in a world where that car franchise has dominated for a long time and might once again need a two-wheeled thrill ride to come along and give it a good run for its money.