2 FAST 2 FURIOUS
Review by Gordon Justesen
Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Ludacris, James Remar
Director: John Singleton
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Features: See Review
Length: 108 Minutes
Release Date: September 30, 2003
“So what up, man? You ready for this?"
“Come on, man. Guns, murders and crooked cops? I
was made for this, brah!”
If there was any
movie of the last few years that was yearning for a sequel, it was The
Fast and the Furious. The movie was perhaps the breakout hit of 2001, and
its two stars, Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, had soared to immediate stardom. The
movie was clearly a guilty pleasure if there ever was one, mixing in an
action-formula plotline with some audacious sequences of street racing.
Now comes the
sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, which
despite its even more elaborate car chases and action set pieces, turns out to
be something of a letdown in the wake of its highly successful predecessor. The
two major elements missing from the sequel are, of course, Vin Diesel and
director Rob Cohen, who were tied up in the shooting of XXX. I’m unsure as to whether their presence would’ve made any
absolute difference, unless either had an opinion of, well, if the entire script
should’ve been rewritten entirely.
The sequel switches
settings from L.A. to Miami. Returning to the scene is Brian O’Connor (Paul
Walker), who is no longer with the LAPD. It is suggested that Brian fled to his
home town of Miami after letting Vin Diesel’s character elude authorities in
the first movie. So stripped of his badge, Brian now engages in nightly illegal
street racing for quick cash. That is, until he is confronted by Miami PD on
charges leading all the way back to the events in L.A.
However, Brian is
given one last shot to clean up his record, which is to do some heavy, and
all-too elaborate undercover work. He is assigned to go in, along with the
assistance of undercover agent Fuentes (Eva Mendes), to do some work for vicious
drug lord Carter Verone (Cole Hauser), by accepting a job to do some heavy-duty
transporting of a certain item from Miami to the keys.
Needless to say,
Brian will need a partner for this endeavor, and he suggests looking up Roman
Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), a childhood friend who has since grown to dislike Brian
for becoming a cop. A big reason for this is the fact that Roman blames Brian
for not being there for him when he got sent to jail for three years. Roman has
also been granted his record being cleared for participating, and before long,
the two go to work.
Of the countless
chase scenes, the best one comes early in the movie when Brian and Roman, on
their first undercover assignment, are first ordered to carry out a test in
order to win their jobs. They, along with several other candidates, are required
to race to an auto pound to recover a package in no more than 20 minutes. During
this particular race, Brian and Roman, in separate cars, engage in a brief
showoff contest on the freeway, while at the same time their opponents engage in
crashing into other cars and getting severely crushed by way of a big rig truck.
With scenes like these, you know the makers only had two words in mind; mindless
It’s too bad that
so many other moments couldn’t have been better developed. There’s no
question that the fundamental problem with 2
Fast 2 Furious is the bland excuse for a credible story. Now it’s true
that for an action movie, your plot doesn’t need to require so much as long as
it’s got some things going for it in other areas. The way that this movie is
set up is by way of chase scene, bad dialogue, chase scene, bad dialogue, and so
on and so forth.
Look at Bad
Boys II, a movie that I loved and all the critics eagerly loathed more than
this movie. It had a basic action movie plot, which also happens to be set in
Miami, involving a prolonged battle with a drug lord, and yet it boasted some of
the most original and outstanding action sequences to ever blast onto the
screen. It also had uproarious comedy on the side, something that this movie
could’ve used a whole lot. True, this film does have plentiful car racing
scenes, but not a single such scene can begin to compare with the jaw-dropping
scene in Bad Boys II where a car carrier truck commandeered by thugs dumps
various cars onto a freeway to take out Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in a
speeding Ferrari. But then again, I still find Michael Bay to be the reigning
king of action movies.
It seems a bit
foolish to even begin to judge the acting in 2 Fast 2 Furious, since it’s clear no one is competing for Oscar
attention. In the case of Paul Walker, who was quite good in the first movie,
this is probably the most bland performance I’ve seen in a lead performance in
quite sometime. He seems to be simply going through the motions, while repeating
such lines as “How ‘bout them apples?” more than once, which not a good
sign. Tyrese Gibson makes for an energetic and exceptional sidekick, while the
best acting in the movie definitely goes to Cole Hauser, who injects a much
needed dose of menace to his role.
So in conclusion, 2
Fast 2 Furious is at times 2 Excruciating 2 Endure. If it weren’t for the
frequent racing sequences, this may have gone done as one of the worst films of
the last few years. It’s clear that director John Singleton has seen better
days. He’s a confident action director, but should stick to the more poignant
material that made him such a unique filmmaker in the first place. The end
result is one of those movies where to enjoy it completely, you need to kill off
just about every brain cell there is.
Since the original Fast
and the Furious was a standout DVD release, it’s no surprise that
Universal pulled out all the stops once again for the sequel, which results in a
high-speed knockout of a disc. The anamorphic picture is one flawless
presentation, alive with ultra-sharp quality and a grand use of vibrant colors.
Every frame consists of superb clearness and detail, making this one of the
better looking discs of the year.
Without a doubt,
the best sounding disc of the year, thus far! It’s been a while since I came
across a disc that would qualify as the ultimate sound system demonstration. The
5.1 mix on 2 Fast 2 Furious is one
that truly takes DVD sound to a whole new level. Every single area of the
presentation is at a full throttle level of quality, most notably the sound
displayed in the racing scenes, which will engage you in a heartbeat thanks to
this most superior sounding release. Music is very frequent in the movie, as
well, and each instance of music playback is of the utmost dynamic. The highest
of marks all around!
Lots of extras to
go around, starting off with the menu itself, which qualifies for the best use
of menus I’ve seen this year so far. You get three menu selections, from the
driver’s seat of three different cars from the movie, where you’ll find the
same extras, as well as some additional extras concerning the driver of the
selected car and the ride itself.
As for the main
extras, this disc from Universal deserves the checkered flag. To start off with,
there is a commentary track with director John Singleton, various deleted
scenes, a gag reel (quite funny), a look at the stunts of the movie, an
“Inside 2 Fast 2 Furious” featurette, a making music feature with Ludacris,
animated anecdotes, Driving School with the Cast, a trailer for the upcoming
Fast and the Furious video game, and an additional featurette titled “Tricking
Out a Hot Import Car”.