"2 Fast 2 Furious" - Movie Review
- Friday, June 06, 2003
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating: PG-13 (for street racing, violence, language and some sensuality)
Release Date: June 6, 2003
Actors: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, James Remar, Devon Aoki, Thom Barry
Director: John Singleton
Special Notes: The 2001 "The Fast and the Furious" became a sleeper hit and made Vin Diesel a star. This time around director Rob Cohen is out and director John Singleton ('Shaft') and his "Baby Boy" star Tyrese are in with a $100 million budget and a flashier city (Miami). When Tyrese was asked if he felt pressure about filling Diesel's shoes, he said he felt "no pressure" because he hadn't even seen the original.
Plot: Brian O'Conner (Walker) is a former undercover cop, who was stripped of his badge and is on the run for letting a prisoner (Diesel's character) go free (at the end of the first film). When O'Conner is busted for racing his car on the Miami street-racing circuit, he's forced to help an undercover operation frame a Florida underworld kingpin (Hauser), who launders money and tortures those who don't abide by his rein of terror. The person O'Conner chooses to help bust the bad guy is an ex-con, Roman Pearce (Tyrese), and childhood friend of O'Conner with a secret score to settle.
Good: Gentlemen, start your engines! Only this time around there's also a lady (Aoki) in the driver's seat. This is a thrilling joy ride that doesn't try to penetrate the street-racer psychology, but instead lets the average speed-abiding driver enjoy the excitement of a highway chase (full of daring stunts like driving backwards or without looking at the road) and dangerous stunts (a truck runs over a car). This movie is all about what fast and furious audiences want -- close-up shots of fearless, buffed guys, stick-shifting and pumping the clutch pedal while staring down the road. The multi-million dollar budget provides stunts galore with numerous car pileups, a fun cast that doesn't take themselves too seriously and even more speed scenes than the first movie. I have a question that the movie doesn't answer, though. Where do teenagers get the kind of money it takes to fix up their cars to street race with rocket fuel and bet thousands of dollars on themselves? Walker (once again) is upstaged by his muscle-ripped costar whose quick wit, charm and charisma makes the story interesting. And of course, there's another gorgeous co-star who plays an undercover agent (Mendes), posing as the lover of a ruthless crime boss.
Bad: The PG-13 stands for mild language, lots of cop/car chases, racing scenes and some suggestive sexy clothing on young women (lots of cleavage but no sexual situations or nudity are shown). A couple of violent scenes take place between the bad guys and our undercover duo (one torture scene implies that a rat bites a man's stomach), as well as a couple of shoot-outs with the cops and a car crashes onto the top of a speeding boat (you have to see it to believe it). I enjoyed this movie for its cool cars, chase scenes and entertaining buddy storyline, but I have to take issue with a couple of things. One is movies like ''2F2F'' glorify an illegal sport (and behavior) and could easily influence not-so-bright, impressionable young teenagers. After the first hit came out, street racing almost doubled nationwide. In fact, the day I was writing my review, two news reports came in about two separate incidents of street racing in L.A. In one incident, a 13-year-old boy was racing another boy and lost control of his car killing a 15 year-old playing basketball in front of his house. In another incident, a 17 year-old was drag racing and hit a light pole, knocking out power for several blocks. So perhaps the real question would have to be, are movies (like this one) responsible for young teens committing stunts of stupidity? "Responsible", no. Influential? Yes. Even after my screening, there were lots of cars revving their engines and peeling out of the parking lot (I wasn't one of them). In the end, it all boils down to how responsible your teenager is and how mature he or she is when it comes to making decisions under peer pressure or with friends. Hollywood is in the business of making money and one of the quickest ways to do that is make a movie about fast cars and cool heroes for teenagers. And speaking of heroes … I'm sorry but "2F2F" lost its "cool" factor when Diesel didn't come back. Don't get me wrong, Tyrese is a likable bad-guy-turned-good-cop who keeps the story interesting, funny and scenic, but he's not Vin Diesel. He doesn't have the "cool" that kept a "serious" edge to the original, and made the audience "fear" for the bad guys who crossed him.
Bottom Line: ''2F2F" is a thrilling joyride that doesn't take itself too seriously. From the opening scene to the closing credits the music is loud, the races exciting, the cars colorful and the lines witty. This is simply a good popcorn movie that is entertaining. There's a guilty pleasure in watching characters race fast cars on the streets -- something most of the rest of us will never get a chance to do. But isn't that why they call it "entertainment"?
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