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"2 Fast 2 Furious"

Directed by John Singleton.
Written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas.
Starring Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes and Cole Hauser.
Release Year:  2003
Review Date:  6/9/03 

Folks-- 

You artistic snobs will say “I will NOT see a film about fast cars!!”  For the rest of us, “2 Fast 2 Furious” delivers the goods by being much like last weekend’s “The Italian Job”--trying only to be the perfect summer film.

So, you get the same formula that worked for “The Fast and the Furious”, double the number of hot women and hot cars, drop Vin Diesel (who wanted too much dough to be in the sequel), add a quality director and whammo!  “2 Fast 2 Furious” actually improves slightly on the original film by upping the ante on the cars--solid street racing, not street DRAG racing throughout the streets of Los Angeles, and the addition of some real American classic cars that are juiced up for major muscle stunt scenes.

Director John Singleton (“Boyz N the Hood”, “Baby Boy”) starts things off just right, once again setting four cars driven by curiously different drivers (once again, an Asian, a Latino, a black guy and a white guy race for props--is it cars or a race war??) down the streets of Miami.  Whereas the first film’s initial race was just four folks driving straight down the street--sure, they were flying, but it was essentially a drag race--this time around, the racers drive all over town in what felt like a five-minute sequence with turns, jockeying for position, and a ridiculous jump over a drawbridge...complete with everyone’s favorite little red button:  NOS.  I still keep thinking I am going to end up outfitting my Saturn SL1 with NOS so that I can improve on the power that my slim shady -0.2 liter engine delivers...pitiful.

Then, Singleton and the film’s collection of writers create some real chemistry between returning lead Paul Walker (LAPD Officer Brian O’Conner) and new sidekick Tyrese, playing O’Conner’s old friend Roman “Rome” Pearce by essentially reprises the character he played in “Baby Boy.”  Even in watching the original film again over the weekend, the chemistry between Walker and Diesel just doesn’t feel right; here, I bought the twosome’s friendship and the constant jokes Rome is cracking throughout the film as the loose cannon compared to Walker’s straight-laced delivery.  Most of this is due to Tyrese; if you haven’t seen “Baby Boy”, you ought to rent it sometime--he really has an incredible screen presence...and, judging from the catcalls some of the ladies in my theater gave up when he has the requisite “Man, I’m hot...I ought to take off my shirt for no reason” scene, he seems to be popular with the ladyfolk to boot.  “2 Fast 2 Furious” also feels like it just has more attitude...from the sheer number of times O’Conner says “Cuz” or “Bro”, to the street influence of the characters to the menacing bad guy, this film just feels tougher than the first film, and it works.

And, the final stroke of genius (at least, “genius” for a summer film that is a fluffy cloud)--set the whole shebang in MIAMI!!  So, you get shots of the Pearl nightclub at Nikki Beach, you get hot women, you get Little Haiti, and most importantly, you get impressive fashions on all of the characters.   The Asian beauty on all of the film’s billboards, actress Devon Aoki, is solid, and even though Eva Mendes might be the worst performer in the film (amazing, considering Walker’s presence), she is still solid eye candy.  Cole Hauser continues his evolution from whacked-out psycho to...whacked-out psycho as the film’s bad guy, and even Ludacris fills out his part (subbing for Ja Rule, who was in the first film and turned down this sequel to star in another film--that’s right, “Half Past Dead”) quite nicely as the resident big-film rap star.

The performances by the supporting cast are poor, and a couple of throwaway scenes with actors essentially hangin’ out while spouting lines from rap songs feel like they should have been including on Disc 2—Deleted Scenes of the upcoming DVD.  And personally, I wanted a little more out-of-car action, be it fighting or gunfire or the like, and there is almost none of that in this film.  But, “2 Fast 2 Furious” is another in the long list of solid action films so far this year...and, in the Year of the Action Film, there are so many more to go!!!

Rating:  $9.50 Show

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09