Review: “Fast and Furious”

April 6, 2009 at 8:17 am 1 comment

Fast and Furious is actually a prequel to 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, a movie that was able to revive a franchise that was on the verge of venturing into straight-to-DVD territory.  I’ll admit to having never seen all of 2 Fast 2 Furious, but what I did see made me not want to watch the rest.  Bringing back the original main cast of the original The Fast and the Furious, plus the director and some of the crew from Tokyo Drift, this latest installment proves to be possibly the best in the series and a fitting end to the Walker/Diesel storyline.

The movie starts in the Dominican Republic, with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) leading a hijacking of a fuel tanker.  With him is Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), two Latino drivers Don and Tego (Don Omar and Tego Calderon), and a familiar face from Tokyo Drift: Han (Sung Kang).  After barely escaping with their lives, the crew separates, with Dom and Letty going back to the U.S. and Han heading to Tokyo (thus kicking off the events of Drift).  Meanwhile, FBI Agent Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) is running around the streets of Los Angeles trying to bring down a drug kingpin known as Braga.

I won’t give away anything else about the story, as it’s a Fast and Furious movie and the story takes a backseat to the cars and women.  I will say that it’s a surprisingly compelling story that gives the actors enough to work with.  Just like with Tokyo Drift, Director Justin Lin proves himself extremely capable of handling fast action scenes.  Many of the stunts are actually pretty impressive with cars careening through busy roads, flying down highways, tumbling over each other, flipping, spinning, sliding underneath exploding fuel tankers, and all manner of craziness.  This movie is the definition of ‘fast and furious’.

However, there doesn’t seem to be much emphasis on the cars.  Sure, there’s lots of them, but this movie isn’t about how to trick out a car, or the rules and code of honor of street racers.  It actually comes down to a more personal story; most of the movie deals with the reprecussions of O’Connor’s actions from the first movie.  Technically, he betrayed Dom and his crew, especially Dom’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster).  No one forgot that, and though he and Dom are after the same guy, Dom has a hard time forgiving.  It’s this personal element that makes this the most enjoyable in the series.

Fast and Furious is also a very technically competent movie.  The colors are bright, the sound design is incredible, and the visuals really hit you hard.  My only issue with the visual style is that it moves too fast at times.  There’s this insane car chase through a mountain that has a dozen or so cars ramming into each other at high speeds.  It gets so crazy I had a hard time figuring out where everyone was, and it made things worse that some of the cars looked the same.

Also, Jordana Brewster was wasted (I don’t mean drunk) in this movie, even though she is smokin’ hot, even more so than in the first movie.  In the first one, she played the love interest of Walker, and acted as the bridge between Walker’s world and Vin Diesel’s world.  Here, she has maybe ten minutes of screen time, in all.  And in those ten minutes, she’s being upset, she’s being sad, she glares at Paul Walker, she glares at Vin Diesel.  That’s about it.  Oh, she and Walker have a brief romantic scene, which I didn’t buy at all.  Or maybe it’s Paul Walker’s fault; although Walker wasn’t exactly giving an Oscar-worthy performance, his acting can’t hold a candle to Vin Diesel’s sheer presence on the screen.

Fast and Furious seems to be the perfect end to the storylines of Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Connor.  I was watching the IGN review the other day, and they mention that maybe, just maybe, they should do one more.  If they do, I’d definitely go see it, as long as it as Walker and Diesel.  That being said, I feel it’s a fitting conclusion to the series.  All the storylines seem to end here, and though Diesel had a cameo in Tokyo Drift, I don’t feel that they have anywhere else to go with these characters.  It’s fine with me since this one is loud, action-packed, has ridiculously hot women everywhere, and has a decent story.  It has everything you need in a movie with street racing.  Basically, it’s Fast and Furious.

8/10

(images from Yahoo!)

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. CMrok93  |  May 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Say what you will about this series or this film in particular, but I really enjoyed this one. Give it a chance, it’s better than it might seem, even though the title is pretty terrible, redundant, and in need of being changed to something better. Good review, please check out mine when you can!

    Reply

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