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"The Fast and the Furious"

Directed by Rob Cohen.
Written by Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist and David Ayer.
Starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster. 
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  6/28/01


You know what the problem is with a movie like "The Fast and the Furious"?  When the movie ENDS.

You see, I left the theater tonight pumped as all get out.  Then, I walked outside to the parking lot.

I drive a 1997 Saturn.  Four doors, 18 horsepower and two cupholders.  Oh, and I do have a pretty badass sunroof.  What don't I have?

Every single thing the drivers in "The Fast and the Furious" have.  So, while my car does 80 before redlining, the film's cars do between 120 and 150 MPH.  I don't have snazzy Asian symbols on my car, or parts logos all over the doors.  No ground effects, so while my Saturn is cool, there are no neon green lights underneath my car when I hit the Beltway.  Although the movie's cars all have spoilers, flashy hubcaps and killer art design on the hoods, my Saturn possesses none of those things.

Nor does my car have a NOS button on the steering wheel.  If I did have a NOS button on my steering wheel, boy, would I win me a bunch of street races!  (Is this not the coolest part of the movie?  How phat would it be to beat out another fool to a parking spot by hitting one of your turbo buttons??)

That is all I can think about right now:  having two large red buttons on my steering wheel that would boost the speed of my car for short distances.  Granted, "The Fast and the Furious" is a pretty good movie; it has almost no real story but that doesn't seem to matter to most audience members (including me), because you have two badass leads in Paul Walker ("The Skulls"...don't worry, no one else saw it, either) and Vin Diesel ("Boiler Room", amongst other things).  The movie is so loud that at some points, it is all you can do to not pop in the ear plugs, because director Rob Cohen jacks up engine revving and gunfire to the nth degree virtually the entire film.  Some people in my theater were literally cheering during the first street race.  Are you kidding me?  The soundtrack is awesome, once again put together by The Hottest Guy in Soundtracks, electronica guru BT.  And, there are so many hot women in this film--literally of all shapes and sizes; this could be the Diversity Film of the Year--that the eye candy is all over the prints.

The film's problems come mostly from Walker's wooden acting; he wears the exact same expression the entire film, amazing given the number of takes it must have required to finish this movie.  And, because the movie was clearly shot on closed roads, there are long stretches where the only cars on the streets of Los Angeles--by all reports, one of our nation's most congested areas--are the street racers that the movie follows, which I thought was a tad ridiculous.  (The movie's final truck sequence--full of great stuntwork--takes place on what must be the most barren stretch of highway in America.  Not one other commuter car appeared on either side of the road for ten full minutes.)

But, since the film made more than $40 million last weekend--and, it played to a packed house at my theater tonight--many of you probably already know this.  This is the film that "Driven", and last year's horrible "Gone in 60 Seconds", wanted to be--a car movie that really delivers awesome cars and cool race sequences.  Why didn't I see this sooner?  Probably because I went on a road trip last weekend, and if I had seen it before I had left, I am POSITIVE I would have been pulled over for speeding three or four times.

Rating:  $8.25 Show


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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 "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, 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/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09