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2 Fast 2 Furious Print E-mail
Friday, 06 June 2003
ImageThere’s an almost overwhelming temptation to rag on “2 Fast 2 Furious.” It does provide, as promised, fast cars moving at high speeds, but it’s sort of like a delivery worker who tramples your bushes and knocks over the trashcans on the way to your door. Strictly speaking, the job has been done, but a totally unnecessary mess has been made along the way.

“2 Fast 2 Furious” is a sequel of sorts to the 2001 much-bang-for-its-bucks “The Fast and the Furious,” in which young undercover cop Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) infiltrated a crack truck hijacking ring, only to wind up befriending its charismatic leader (Vin Diesel) and ultimately letting the man go free. Stripped of his badge, Brian has migrated to Miami, where he’s a hero of the illegal street-racing scene. He is approached with an offer he can’t refuse by his old law enforcement colleagues, who want him to go back undercover as a driver for Florida drug lord Carter Verone (Cole Hauser). Brian in turn brings in his old friend Roman Peace (Tyrese), a brilliant driver who has just done three years in the joint and blames his ex-cop ex-pal.

Can Brian and Roman patch up their friendship? Will they thwart the evil drug lord? Will they manage to show the authorities, who want to use the two drivers like disposable puppets, that they’re not to be bossed around? Is this movie more predictable that the average episode of a syndicated cable buddy/action TV show?

In fairness to director John Singleton, the cars are made to look absolutely great, especially Brian’s Nissan Skyline and Roman’s Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder, which are as colorful and speedy as one could wish. Without a side-by-side comparison, it’s hard to say if they’re actually as loud as the cars in “The Fast and the Furious,” but the racing sounds are pretty good and persuasive. Other cars that get reasonable face time include a 1970 Hemi Dodge Challenger, a 1969 Yenko Camara, a 1998 BMW M3, the new Dodge Viper, a Chevy Corvette, a 1994 Toyota Supra, a 1994 Mazda RX7, a 2001 Honda S2000 and a 1993 Acura NSX. There are some fun shots that have an almost-plausible reason to have all of these cars (and many others) loose at once near the finale, and there’s a lot of impressive driving throughout, with at least two noteworthy car jumps.

Singleton favors an almost Day-Glo look, especially in the night sequences, which furthers “2 Fast’s” MTV-video feel. Tyrese, who demonstrates decent acting chops here, appears on the soundtrack on “Pick Up the Phone” with Ludacris, who plays a street-racing impresario. The soundtrack, weighted toward hip-hop, also features a solo turn from Ludacris, along with contributions from David Banner, Jin, Dead Prez, Lil Flip, Pit Bull, Trick Daddy, Big Reese, Sean Paul, Run D.M.C., Eightball, Shawnna, K’Jon and Joe Budden.

In short, “2 Fast 2 Furious” is a marketer’s dream. It’s got gleaming metal and up-to-the-moment sound to spare, which is all some people want from a movie. But it’s hard to accept that the plot, dialogue and characters absolutely had to be this flat. Singleton and his company are professionals, so “2 Fast 2 Furious” is spared the designation of being so bad that it’s funny – it’s just plain old boring when the cars aren’t moving and, if you’re one of those viewers who wants some context for enjoying the stunts, even the plentiful action can only do so much to liven it up.

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