Redline (2007 film)
|Directed by||Andy Cheng|
|Produced by||Daniel Sadek|
|Written by||Robert Foreman
|Narrated by||Nadia Bjorlin|
|Music by||Klaus Badelt ("Redline Theme")
|Edited by||Dallas Puett|
|Distributed by||Chicago Pictures|
|April 13, 2007|
Redline is a 2007 American action film starring an ensemble cast. The film's plot is centered on a street racing circle funded by a group of multimillionaires who wager millions of dollars over their high-powered supercars. It was written and produced by Daniel Sadek, who also used his own automobile collection in the film. The film title was borrowed from the original working title of the 2001 movie, The Fast and the Furious. A critical and financial failure at the box office, the film is most notable for being funded by subprime loans issued by Sadek's company, Quick Loan Funding, which closed its doors in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis. It was featured on the CNBC special House of Cards as an example of the excess of the pre-meltdown mortgage market in the United States.
Natasha Martin (Nadia Bjorlin) is a beautiful auto mechanic and aspiring musician who is invited to join music producer Infamous (Eddie Griffin) aboard his private jet en route to Las Vegas in appreciation of her services on his Ford GT. She is also a highly skilled race car driver, but is sometimes haunted by memories of her father's death at a NASCAR race many years ago. Meanwhile, on another side of town, Carlo (Nathan Phillips) has just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. He meets up with his brother Jason (Jesse Johnson) before heading to Vegas themselves. Carlo is not happy that Jason is living with their mob boss uncle Michael D'Orazio (Angus Macfadyen), whom he always sees as the cause of their family's destruction. Little do they know that Michael has been running an unsuccessful counterfeiting ring and owes millions of dollars to another syndicate led by the "Godfather" (David Dayan Fisher).
On the outskirts of Vegas, a high-stakes race event is being held, with Michael, Infamous, Hollywood producer Jerry Brecken (Tim Matheson) and Chinese businessman Marcus Cheng (Michael Hagiwara) placing their bets over who has the better car. When Infamous' driver fakes an ankle injury, Natasha becomes Infamous' driver in exchange for $300,000 and a recording contract. However, she is unaware that Infamous has to place her on his wager, as Michael - who has been obsessed with her since watching her band perform on stage earlier - has placed four platinum bars at stake. At the same time, Brecken wagers his brand-new Enzo Ferrari on Natasha.
Natasha (driving a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren) takes on Jason (driving a Lamborghini Diablo). As they approach the finish line, Natasha is several car lengths ahead of Jason, but he quickly zips past her by engaging the onboard nitrous system. Unfortunately, because of the excessive speed, the Diablo loses downforce, flies off the ground and flips in mid-air before crashing upside down at the finish line. Attempting to avoid the falling Diablo, Natasha crashes on a barrier and is knocked unconscious. Before Carlo can reach Jason to rescue him, the Diablo bursts into flames, killing his brother instantly. Michael's henchmen, dressed as paramedics, place Natasha in an ambulance and speed off.
Natasha wakes up in Michael's mansion, realizing that she is now his property. Meanwhile, Carlo meets up with an old military friend and picks up some ammunition and gear before riding a Ducati 999 with the intent to kill Michael. After breaking into Michael's mansion, Carlo and Natasha bump into each other and leave the complex. This prompts Michael to have his henchmen kidnap her mother and convince her to drive for him at the next race at Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. Meanwhile, after receiving an ultimatum by the Godfather to pay him $80 million following a botched attempt at giving him counterfeit bills, Michael raises his funds for the upcoming race by borrowing money from the banks using his mansion as collateral.
In the final race, Michael, Brecken, Infamous and Cheng place their bets for a combined purse of $100 million. Infamous and Cheng are eliminated from the race after their cars (an SLR and a Porsche Carrera GT, respectively) are involved in separate crashes. During the race, Natasha (driving Michael's Enzo) receives a phone call from Carlo notifying her that he has rescued her mother. While she is several car lengths ahead of Brecken's Saleen S7 Twin Turbo, she stops the Enzo an inch away from the finish line and gives the S7 the win, costing Michael the race.
With no money left, Michael is given a last ride from the Godfather's henchmen. As a way of thanking Natasha for handing his driver the victory, Brecken gives her a recording contract (which shortly gives her a gold record and lands her on the cover of Variety), an Enzo and a Koenigsegg CCX. The film ends with Natasha (in the Koenigsegg) and Carlo (in the Enzo) racing each other before being chased by the police on the freeway.
- Nathan Phillips as Carlo
- Nadia Bjorlin as Natasha Martin
- Jesse Johnson as Jason
- Angus Macfadyen as Michael D'Orazio
- Tim Matheson as Jerry Brecken
- Eddie Griffin as Infamous
- Denyce Lawton as Mianda
- Kevin Levrone as Sante
- Barbara Niven as Sally Martin
- David Dayan Fisher as the Godfather
- Hal Ozsan as Mike Z
- Todd Lowe as Nick
- Neill Skylar as Mary
- Marc Crumpton as Trevor
- Faleolo Alailima as Diggs
- Michael Hagiwara as Marcus Cheng
- Christopher Backus as Tony Nefuse
- Mary Elise Hayden as Liz Athens
- Amber Lancaster as Angela
- Ernie Reyes, Jr. as Ernie
- Joe Sagal as the Elvis announcer
Daniel Sadek, a third-grade dropout from Lebanon, migrated to the United States, where he worked at gas stations and car dealerships. After seeing many mortgage brokers buy cars from the Mercedes-Benz dealership he worked at, Sadek entered the real estate business and set up the subprime lending firm Quick Loan Funding in 2002. By 2007, Quick Loan Funding had approved US$4 billion in subprime mortgages, with Sadek's take-home earnings reaching US$5 million a month. He used his earnings to buy several homes in Southern California and Las Vegas, build his collection of expensive supercars and feed his insatiable appetite for gambling.
During this time, Sadek was engaged to soap opera actress Nadia Bjorlin. Using his subprime lending firm as his source of funding, he produced the film Redline to show off his car collection and help Bjorlin break out of the soap opera scene.
Enzo crash incident
In March 2007, Eddie Griffin participated in a charity race at Irwindale Speedway to promote the film, using an Enzo owned by Sadek. During a practice run, Griffin lost control of the Enzo and crashed into a concrete barrier. He walked away unharmed, but the US$1.5 million supercar was badly damaged. Griffin went on to lash at reporters who claimed the crash was a publicity stunt.
Box office and reception
Redline was both a box office bomb and a critical failure. The film opened at #11 at the U.S. box office, grossing US$3.9 million in 1,607 theaters in its opening weekend. The budget of the film was US$26 million and after six weeks in theaters, the film grossed US$6.8 million in North America. Furthermore, Cartoon Network sued Sadek for failing to pay the US$845,000 advertising fee.
The film was not screened for critics before it opened, and reviews after its premiere were universally unfavorable. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 0% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 27 reviews. On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 24 out of 100, based on 12 reviews.
Redline was released on DVD by The Weinstein Company on August 21, 2007. Christopher Monfette of IGN gave the DVD an overall rating of 5 out of 10, citing that it gives "more of the same; none of the new." The film has also been released on Blu-ray disc outside the U.S.
In the CNBC special House of Cards, the crashing of two US$500,000 cars for a single scene is cited as a direct example of the excess of the pre-crash subprime loan market in the mid-2000s. Quick Loan Funding had long since crumbled following the film's release, and the expected profits from the film were heavily borrowed against. The film's failure further worsened the situation. Following the demise of his company, Sadek lost his escrow and lending licenses over issues of him withdrawing millions from his corporate accounts to gamble in Vegas. Aside from over a dozen cases revolving Quick Loan Funding, he was sued by Bellagio and Wells Fargo over unpaid debts and repeated cash advances done at gambling resorts worldwide. He declared bankruptcy in 2009.
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