In all the galaxy, the most prized – and most dangerous – race for motorheads is the infamous Redline, a chaotic trans-planetary dash in which the incautious not only lose but often end up dead. Human racer “Sweet” JP dreams of winning the Redline – but unbeknownst to him, his attempts to do so are constantly foiled to by his mob-aligned engineer, Frisbee, who fixes each race on his boss’ orders. Nonetheless, such is JP’s standing with the public that, even though he loses the final qualifier “Yellowline” race, he is allowed to compete in the Redline because of popular demand. But that’s when things get really complicated: the government of Roboworld has declared that its moon Europass – on which the Redline is scheduled to be held – is off-limits, and that any attempt to hold the event will be met by deadly force.  But the Redline is so big these threats go unheeded, prompting Roboworld to unleash the wrath of its military upon the racers. Toss in the fact that JP is also in love with one of his main rivals, the lovely Sonoshee McLaren, and that he has no idea that Frisbee and his mob cadres intend to fix the result of the Redline as well, and the inevitable result is a maelstrom of danger, violence, and high-octane action, through which JP has to somehow survive, win the race, and make known to Sonoshee his feelings for her  – in that order!

Produced by legendary studio Madhouse and premiered at a series of film festivals throughout 2009, “Redline” made its theatrical debut in October 2010.  Taking over seven years to make and requiring more than 100,000 hand-made drawings (and in the process almost bankrupting Madhouse itself),  “Redline” is the anarchic bastard child of “Speed Racer” and “Wacky Racers” on a bad acid trip, with gestures toward Sav! The World’s “Oban Star-Racers”, and 70’s sci-fi schlock classic “Death Race 2000” thrown in for good measure. Gorgeously animated in a lavish pop-art style that explodes off the screen in an almost overwhelming burst of colour, Rockabilly racer JP immediately recalls the lovably hapless hero of Shinichiro Watanabe’s classic “Space Dandy” series. And it is in the same vein as that series that “Redline’s” sweetly innocent love-story plays out amid all the missiles and mines and machine-driven madness. Light on plot but heavy on action and mesmerising animation, “Redline” won’t change the way you look at yourself and the world, but it will give you a hell of a good time – even if you often find yourself wondering what exactly is going on.

Text ©Copyright Brendan E Byrne 2020. All rights reserved.