Interviews: The Action & F/X of Torque


Something that will impress those who see Warner Brothers’ biker film, Torque, will be the amazing motorcycle action and visual effects, attributed to director Joseph Kahn. After directing hundreds of award-winning music videos, Kahn makes his feature film debut with Torque, and it seems like action movies might have a new name.

Ice Cube had worked with Kahn before on his video for “The World is Mine”. The chance to work with him again was one of the main reasons Ice Cube decided to be in Torque. “I wanted to be a part of this no matter what. I just knew that it would be visually off the chain, and it would take it to another place. It feels like a video game, just like he said it would. Joseph is going to be hot. Even with this movie, we had to hold him back a little bit, because he didn’t have the budget that he really wanted. He’s going to go even further on any other movie he does, because I think they’ll give him anything he wants.”

The movie’s two stars, Martin Henderson and Monet Mazur, were also excited about Kahn’s innovative filmmaking techniques, even if Monet was somewhat mystified by them. “It was all really aesthetic. For Joseph, every shot was really intricate and detailed, and sometimes he’d be filming things that you were like, ‘The scene is over this way’. He’d be filming the pupil of someone’s eye to segue from one shot to the next. You never really knew what he was doing.” After seeing the finished the film, she was blown away, especially with her own action scenes. “It was more than I ever expected and I was really happy with it. It was like, ‘Wow, that’s what he was doing! I can’t believe that’s me doing it!’ It felt kind of awkward a lot of time and there’s not a lot of fluidity shooting an action scene, so it doesn’t feel like it’s going to look tough while doing it.”

“What Joseph did, coming from the MTV world,” Henderson adds, “Is he lent this film such a unique visual sense that you haven’t really seen in an action movie before, and it’s exciting to see the evolution of the genre. That end sequence on the Y2K with all the special effects has never been seen before.”

“The end borderlines into playing a video game,” agrees Monet.

Cube continues: “I was excited to see all of the action and how it was cut together and to know what we went through to get there. I think the niche audience is going to love it. I think that anyone not knowing what to expect…if they get in there…they’re going to love it. I think it’s an all-around cool movie. What’s cool about it to me is that we’re over the top, and we tell you, we’re over the top. It’s a movie that kind of winks at you and says “Yo!” We’re kind of making fun of this genre a little bit, which is cool.”

Despite being an action movie, Henderson thought that women might enjoy it, too. “When you look at the trailer, it’s motorbikes and stunts and fights, so it looks like a guy movie, but one thing that differentiates this from most action movies is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. In some ways, ‘Torque’ is in the vein of that ‘Indiana Jones’ or ‘Lethal Weapon’ thing where it’s very tongue in cheek. Even the violence in the movie is kind of cartoonish and not gratuitous. It’s quite mild and purely for the audience’s entertainment value. Because of that, it becomes more about having fun and going for a ride for an hour and a half, sort of like a theme park ride. Girls like theme park rides, too, so it’s more than just a guy thing, I think.”

So is there a chance of a sequel? “A sequel is only going to be made because there already is an audience for the characters and concept.” Says Henderson “A studio is not going to spend millions of more dollars unless there already is an audience. With a movie like ‘Torque’, it’s all about the audience and entertainment value. The exciting thing about doing a sequel is that you already know that they appreciate what it is, so it gives you more confidence, and it gives you the license to just make a fun movie. One of the things about the movie is that it ramps up its pace through the whole thing, so the next one would be a whole different venture. At the end of the day, it’s just a big popcorn movie, so the idea of seeing a sequel to that is exciting.”

Torque opens nationwide this Friday.