Every week, I scour Netflix for a movie rated at one star and put it in my queue, suffering through it for your entertainment so that you don’t have to. In the past, I’ve taken on anime cancer demons, softcore Iraq War porn and racist ventriloquism, and this week, it’s a movie that lives its life 500 meters at a time.
Starring: “Chavs,” which I had originally assumed was a sports team of some kind. Probably soccer.
It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that I have a fascination with terrible movies even when I’m not getting paid to write about them, which is probably why I’ve seen The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in its entirety eight times. Even putting aside my all-consuming fascination with drift racing (the cars go sideways you guys!), there’s one level – and only one – on which those movies are absolutely perfect: They are almost impossible to do a crappy knockoff of, because it’s already provided its own. Seriously, this is a franchise that started with a movie where a guy literally says the words “I live my life a quarter mile at a time,” and it only goes downhill from there.
So how can you possibly go lower?
Well, if you’re the makers of Octane, you put out a street racing movie that only bothers to get around to street racing when it has exhausted every other possible option for things to point a camera at. There are exactly two races in this movie, and the movie presents them with the reluctance of a guy being asked to do that hilarious impression for the eighteenth time today. It stalls as long as it can, then makes a halfassed go at it in hopes that you’ll be satisfied and leave it alone.
The first race, which shows up a grand total of 40 minutes into the movie, is, in typical Worst of Netflix Fashion, lit only by headlights so that it’s impossible to make out any of the action, which I assume is done for authenticity’s sake. To be fair, though, the second, which is built up for almost the entire movie – and by “built up,” I mean “mentioned once in the first ten minutes and then never really brought up again” – is far better, if only because it manages to involve both a) actually-pretty-awesome English rapper Roots Manuva and b) a carload of dudes who are high out of their mind from huffing spraypaint driving off a cliff, at which time their car promptly explodes. This, I think, is meant to be a really dramatic and tragic moment, but as it looks like someone made an anti-drug PSA out of an episodeof The Rockford Files and cold dropped it into the movie, it comes off more hilariously awesome.
Since there’s about as much street racing in this movie as there is actual beef in a stadium hot dog, the rest of the time is taken up with the cow-face that is the movie’s plot, which is essentially Human Traffic in the world of drift racing.
It’s simple enough to get: English Boy loves Goth Girl, goth girl loves cocaine and wandering into traffic, boy and girl have ice cream and talk about how she burns herself with a cigarette lighter, but oh no! Boy is dating a trampy girl who claims to be knocked up with his kid, while Girl is dating The Ghost of Justin Biebers Yet To Come!
It’s like Romeo and Juliet only with Montagoths and Don’t-Give-A-Crapulets.