Fast & Furious
DVD Release: 07.28.09
1 hour, 47 minutes
Second Run Seats
The original cast of The Fast and the Furious reunite to drop the unnecessary articles and answer the eight year-old question: what have these stimulating characters been up to? The short answer is pretty much the same damn thing as when we left them. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is still stealing cars and knocking boots with his main squeeze Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). His sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) worries about them and lives her uninteresting off-camera life. Meanwhile, former friend Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) is still working for the law to take down the bad guys.
If you're looking for specific details, Dome, um, sorry, Dom is back in LA on the vengeance tip to wreck a drug lord's shit. Coincidentally, Brain, I mean Brian, has been investigating Campos (John Ortiz, Miami Vice), the main recruiter for the drug lord Braga's organization. Mia and Letty...well, at least they got a paycheck. Dome and Brain repeatedly butt heads while infiltrating the organization only to begrudgingly partner when they realize two is better than one.
Director Justin Lin (Annapolis) assembles some exciting and well shot chases, though getting Diesel to portray a sympathethic Dome would prove impossible even for the best of directors. You should know I have no love for Diesel, and F&F does little to improve my opinion. Diesel always comes off as too tough. I appreciate a good Willis-esque or Stallone-ish quipping with my action, so seeing him stand swollenly by when he could incite stroke-inducing anger with a few words is just unacceptable.
I shouldn't blame Diesel completely. Writer Chris Morgan (Wanted) should have given him some snarky lines instead of the instruction "stare blankly." Valuable minutes are eaten away wrapping Dome's vendetta and Brain's covert operation into a convenient package or validating the need for Jordana Brewster. It would've been nicer if they explained how a rotation of cops outside Mia's house found it impossible to apprehend Dome, though he spent days in her open garage rebuilding his old ride. For serious.
Detailed plot points aren't what draws audiences into F&F. It's Diesel's beefy bod and Walker's baby blues as they wrestle each other's gearsticks in heart-pounding races. For me it was about seeing the hotness of MRod, which I got to do for all three of her minutes of screentime. Unforgivable!
Lin did make up for it by making F&F a teen boy's wet dream. My friend and I are still unclear why an LA road race party had an attendance of 2,000 people: twelve dudes either racing or judging and 1,988 smoking hot women in high heels and short skirts, itching to lick carpet.
The Money Shot
Random hotties and fast paced action go a long way to making an action movie tolerable. Audiences can forgive some hamfisted drama and needless twists if the payout is an afternoon of mindless entertainment. Dome and the Brain have steered this franchise back into the black despite having a story that's running on fumes.