A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating: Rated PG-13 for street racing, violence, language and some sensuality
Starring: Paul walker, Tyrese, Ludacris
Directed By:John Singleton
In the world of Hollywood where the sequel is the new hot thing to do it isn’t hard for anyone to come up with a sequel to just about anything. And when The Fast and Furious proved to be a box office hit, it didn’t take long for the creative minds to gather their crew of screenwriting monkeys and begin working on the second installment in the high speed action flick.
Road racing and car enthusiasts will be excited this week as 2 fast 2 Furious made it’s way to the big screen. Our story picks up years later, Brian O’Connor now running from the cops after giving up his badge years before, after letting Vin Diesel escape from Justice. But when a street-racing gig gets broken up, O’Connor is picked up and given the option of helping the cops track down a drug dealer or heading to jail. O’Connor agrees as long as he gets to recruit his old childhood buddy (Tyrese) ex-convict with a big ego and even a bigger mouth. The flick prides it self as being more fast and more furious than the first one, and fills it’s screen time with more crashes, more stunts and more Paul Walker than a 14 year old fan boy could ever want.
Unfortunately it takes a wrong turn when both the original director and Vin Diesel both walked out early on, meaning the film success rides only on the title and the acting ability of Paul Walker. Luckily the flick picked up John Singleton (Baby Boy, Boys in the Hood) to direct the flick, and a few hip hop heroes, or as the rest of us like to call them, rap gangstas. Tyrese and Ludacris add their names to the cast bill but in the end they fall short of replacing the one man the film really needed Vin Diesel. Singleton tried hard to keep the spirit of the first movie, despite the loss of Diesel, but like I said it really took 3 separate characters in this movie to accomplish what Diesel did with one character in the first. The Bad-ass tough guy role was played well by Tyrese, and once again proves that he may in fact have a shred of talent when given the right roles. Ludacris takes on the role as the hustling egotistical auto shop owner, and our enemy is a cartel drug lord, who is nothing more than a stereotypical villain. But the wide variety of characters was no big deal when you are working with Paul Walker. Walker can’t really act to save his soul. His pretty boy smile and what I am told is a “sexy” look behind a fast car gives him his edge, get tiresome to the eyes after an hour into the movie. His dialogue is spouted off like a second rate Keanu Reeves, which continues to prove to me that Walker is quickly becoming the Keanu Reeves of the New Millennium. Walker walks around in his West Coast Chopper T-shirt like he is the star of the show, and in reality he really is, but the flicks redeeming qualities rely and his supporting actors, and the cars he is surrounded by, not his gifted acting ability.
But don’t get me wrong; the film is not a complete waste. Although this flick lost some of the original flick’s “gritty” feel to it, it is high on the action part, in fact this has much more of a Hollywood feel to it. Our heroes don’t live in the Ghetto yet drive street racing machines, they aren’t covered in oil and grease but they do still have arms that are bigger than the average person’s head and the cars to match their giant egos. The action is a little more action packed, there are more car wrecks, and more police chases and more fiery explosions than the first one could give us. The action flows quickly from scene to scene, and we never really have any moments that truly drag.
In the end, 2 Fast 2 Furious despite its crappy name proves to be mind-numbing entertainment at it’s best. The car enthusiast, the 14-year-old boy and the average filmgoer who wants a film that has no thinking involved should enjoy this fast paced flick. But when it comes to all around great plot development, strong characters and great performances this flick doesn’t perform, instead it just kicks into cruise control and glides by on what little it has going for it. While the original Fast and Furious was far from a work of art, this flick, although mildly entertaining, just doesn’t prove to be much better, if not worse.