Torque appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. A few modest concerns kept this one from “A” level, but it seemed pretty solid overall.
Sharpness consistently looked good. The image remained crisp and detailed throughout the movie, and I detected no signs of softness. However, some mild but noticeable edge enhancement did cause some concerns, along with slight shimmering on a few occasions. Print flaws seemed absent, though I detected some light artifacting on occasion.
Colors appeared very solid. Throughout the film they came across as vibrant and distinct, with no signs of bleeding, noise, or other defects. At times they came across as somewhat oversaturated, but intentionally so, as the palette tended to run quite hot. The bright neon paint of the many bikes looked especially vivid, but all of the hues seemed accurate and lively. Black levels also were reasonably deep and dense, and shadow detail looked appropriately heavy but not excessively thick. Many parts of Torque were absolutely stellar, but the moderate number of concerns dropped this one to a “B+”.
One might expect a dynamic soundtrack from Torque, and the flick’s Dolby Digital 5.1 audio lived up to the anticipated levels. The soundfield definitely seemed active, as all five channels received a pretty strong workout. Not surprisingly, they came to life most strongly during the film’s many action/driving sequences. On those occasions, bikes whizzed past fairly effectively and the spectrum became pretty convincing and engrossing. The elements blended together well and panned from side to side nicely. Music received a good five-channel mix, as various song and score elements often emanated from all around the spectrum. Of course, the effects also came from many different areas, and they seemed to be well localized as a whole.
Audio quality appeared very good. Dialogue remained natural and distinct throughout the film. I detected no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Music seemed loud and vivid, as the rock/techno/rap score came across with clear and appropriately pounding tones. Bass response for the music was especially deep and heavy; these tunes really rocked the subwoofer and woke up all the neighbors – even those who weren’t asleep! The effects showed similar tones; the low-end for those elements wasn’t quite as dense, but it still roared at times, particularly when the film wanted to depict the sound of the engines. Effects also seemed clean and vibrant, and they lacked any distortion or other concerns. Ultimately, this audio provided an involving affair.
Torque comes with some extras, and we open with two separate audio commentaries. The first presents director Joseph Kahn plus actors Martin Henderson, Monet Mazur, Will Yun Lee, Jay Hernandez, Adam Scott, Matt Schulze, Fredro Starr, Justina Machado and Dane Cook, most of whom sit together for their running, screen-specific chat; I believe Schulze was taped separately and edited in with the rest. They cover elements like stunts, locations, and character development. We learn of some movie references and get a lot of sassiness. The participants often crack on each other and the fantastical nature of Torque, and the track presents a fairly light and lively tone.
However, we don’t get a lot of real information about the movie. Mostly the folks joke around, and while this makes the piece moderately fun, it doesn’t tell us much. In addition, a surprising amount of dead air occurs given the number of participants. Ultimately, this comes across as a sporadically enjoyable but erratic commentary.
On the second track, we get notes from director Kahn, writer Matt Johnson, director of photography Peter Levy, visual effects supervisor Eric Durst, supervising sound editor Tim Gedemer, 2nd unit director Gary Davis, editor David Blackburn, and production designer Peter Hampton. Most of them sit together for the running, screen-specific discussion; it appears that Johnson sits separately.
Not surprisingly, this piece mainly concentrates on technical areas. We get lots of good information about the various topics. We hear about big changes from the original script to the screen as well as the development and execution of sound effects, visual elements, and stunts. We learn about the editing process and choices plus many other topics. The track suffers from a little too much praise and happy talk, but it includes enough solid information to make it a useful program.
Two separate animatics appear. One looks at the film’s opening “Racing” scene (83 seconds) while the other presents the “Train” sequence (two minutes, 50 seconds). The first shows a splitscreen comparison between the storyboards and the final film, while the second offers storyboards on top, computer pre-vis in the middle, and the actual movie at the bottom. We also get commentary from director Kahn for the first one, and Kahn plus visual effects supervisor Eric Durst for the second. In “Racing’, Kahn talks about his various concerns and goals. “Train” includes notes about how the computer animatics helped plan for the complex sequence as well as some solutions to problems. The pieces seem short but moderately informative.
We also get a music video for Youngbloodz’ “Lean Low”. It uses a typical format in that it combines movie clips and simple lip-synch performances. The video’s dull and the song stinks.
Torque opens with a few trailers. We find ads for The Big Bounce and Love Don’t Cost a Thing. The theatrical trailer for Torque itself also appears on the DVD.
A movie so dumb it makes The Fast and the Furious look brilliant, Torque offers occasional cartoon thrills but nothing else. With plastic characters, silly situations and flashy visuals, it doesn’t offer any substance and seems totally obsessed with looks and style. The DVD presents high quality picture and audio plus a few good extras, though don’t expect a long roster of supplements. If you can’t get enough of high-speed action, Torque may satisfy you, but I can’t say much for this dopey flick.