HAVE you ever taken a chance on a flick that looked like it’d be a low-budget, straight-to-video stinker but actually turned out to be pretty good? Well, In The Red is not that movie. The poster promises some kind of Aussie Fast & Furious (impossible anyway, given the latter came out two years later); unfortunately, the film itself is resolutely subpar.
This article was first published in the June 2020 issue of Street Machine
Pretty-boy Dymo (Bradford) is apparently some sort of Sydney crime lord (“Ram raids, car theft, drug deals – if it’s illegal, he is into it,” according to the cops). He appears to divide his time between hooning around in his hotted-up Nissan 200SX and chilling in his palatial crime-boss pad with his sassy girlfriend, Carli (Cratchley). But when someone tries to kill him and shoots up his beloved ride, he’s well pissed off and vows revenge. Well, at least we assume so; Damian Bradford’s performance exudes all the charisma and emotional range of a lamp-post, so it’s hard to tell.
Meanwhile, two cops – the improbably named Blondine Dimaggio (Steele) and the dopey Peter Dasha (Young) – offer Dymo’s rival gang leader Jack Hand (Running On Empty’s Terry Serio) a deal to avoid jail time in exchange for helping them set a trap to snare Dymo and his crew. The cops somehow know that the attempt on Dymo’s life had Hand’s, er, hands all over it, and they’ll throw the book at him if he doesn’t co-operate.
So begins an elaborate game of… oh, who am I kidding? Who cares about the plot? Writer and director Glenn Ruehland sure didn’t. He’s had a long and distinguished career as a movie stuntman both before and after In The Red, and it’s pretty clear that his script was merely an afterthought to stitch together a bunch of car chases, burnouts, collisions and stunts.
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In this regard, at least, Ruehland knows what he’s doing. Given the film’s clearly minimal budget, the car action is surprisingly well-staged, shot and edited, and the Sydney backdrop lends a suitably gritty ambiance to the carnage.
Otherwise, the best that can be said about In The Red is that at least it doesn’t take itself remotely seriously.
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MAKE no mistake, In The Red is not a good film. The plot is paper-thin and riddled with holes, the dialogue is laughably bad, and to call most of the acting ‘wooden’ would be to cast unfair aspersions on wood (though Allison Cratchley isn’t bad as Dymo’s take-no-bullshit better half, Carli). A cameo appearance by Mad Max’s Steve Bisley as the mechanic, Sparky, is good fun though, especially when he unleashes the sonic majesty of a blown V8 and admonishes two of Dymo’s rice burner-loving cronies: “V8s! You young pricks just don’t get it, do you?” The automotive hijinks are the film’s one saving grace, and might just be enough for you and your mates (hopefully suitably lubricated) to give it a go.
- 1996 Nissan 200SX
- 1978 Porsche 928
- 1968 Chevrolet Camaro
- Ducati Monster 600 motorcycle
- 1973 Ford Thunderbird
- 1993 Ford ED Falcon
- 1999 Holden VT Commodore
- 1992 Honda Civic
- 1988 Nissan Silvia
- 1996 Subaru Impreza WRX Club Spec Evo 3
- 1987 BMW 325i
- 1972 Ford ZF Fairlane 500
- 1997 Holden VS Commodore ute
- 1976 Holden LX Torana
- 1974 Mazda RX-3
- Damian Bradford
- Allison Cratchley
- Terry Serio
- Warwick Young
- Vanessa Steele
- Steve Bisley
- Damian de Montemas
- Steve Vella
- Jason Chong
A game of highway cat-and-mouse between a 200SX and a ’68 Camaro; multiple car chases through Sydney streets; automotive carnage aplenty; and a cameo appearance by the infamous Auto-Tek VS Commodore ute known as ‘The Beast’
Watch the video: Brock behind the wheel of the 520kW Autotek ‘Beast’ VS ute
Sydney crime boss Dymo is targeted by the cops and a rival gang leader
YouTube, DVD, internet download
Cool flick fact:
The film features a few wild creations from the Roman/Auto-Tek stable, including the bonkers, 700hp, blown BBC-powered VS Commodore burnout ute, ‘The Beast’.