"Fast and Furious"
Directed by Justin Lin.
Written by Chris Morgan.
Starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster and
Release Year: 2009
Review Date: 4/7/09
I'll give it to "Fast & Furious", the fourth
film in the seminal girls-guns-cars series: no one has been able to
successfully rip this franchise off, and bringing back the film's
original stars made for a not-bad time at the movies.
Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are back as bad
boy Dom Toretto and Brian O'Conner; this time, they team up to take
down a drug runner (John Ortiz, from
with the help of some cars, some nasty staredowns and the occasional
shotgun. Even though O'Conner works for the L.A. FBI unit
(they appear to sublet offices from CTU of "24", if that's even
possible) and Dom has been living a life of crime outside our
borders, it's all about taking down the big drug runner to avenge
the death of a friend. So what if none of this makes any
The script is terrible, the acting by nearly
everyone is terrible, and--believe it or not--the cars in this film
are mostly terrible, which is maybe the biggest surprise in "Fast &
Furious", after three films of at least very cool cars starring in
the action. I couldn't figure out why the cars in this film
didn't fire me up; I have very distinct memories of the cars being
whoop-ass in the first two films, and then in
Drift", the cars are cool but the drifting is cooler. And,
driving around in the desert or down L.A. streets didn't really get
me going this time around...even now, I struggle for the specific
But, if you can get past these issues, "Fast
& Furious" delivers in most key areas. It is fairly well
paced, it does have at least two completely unnecessary scenes where
two or three women are fighting to make out with each other, there's
a taste of gunplay, there are the random block parties where it's
78° at 2 AM and the loudest illegal street race in street race
history is happening with 500 people, 400 of whom are Asian, 300 of
whom are women, and 200 of whom have been rebuilt from the ass cheek
line up. Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez are
collectively so bad that you almost wonder how they got these jobs
in the first place; Diesel still has the charisma that makes you
think what his career could have been had he signed on for
"xXx: State of the Union" instead of making
The soundtrack also hits the mark and has an
M.I.A. track that will make you smile as you walk out of the
theater. My favorite is probably still
Fast 2 Furious", but this is still a nice addition to the "F&F"
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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
"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
"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