2 Fast 2 Furious Review
By Shawn McKenzie 06/06/2003
I think I have finally discovered the advantage of the big screen. I didn’t see The Fast and the Furious in the theater, but I did catch it later on DVD. While I was somewhat impressed with the action, it didn’t blow me away. When I went to see the 2 Fast 2 Furious screening, I realized what I had missed by not seeing the original in the theater…car action plays better on the big screen!
It’s been two years since the events in the first movie (I’m assuming, since they don’t specify), and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) is no longer a cop, or living in Los Angeles. He was stripped of his badge after letting Dominic Toretto, the ringleader of a big-rig hijacking operation, get away in the first movie (though I noticed that they never mention Toretto by name.) He is now living in Miami and street races cars for money, not as a cover for the FBI. The races are organized by car shop owner Tej (Ludacris), and usually involve Orange Julius (Amaury Nolasco), Brian’s main racing rival, Suki (Devon Aoki), an Asian hottie who drives better than most guys, and Slap Jack (Michael Ealy), who races more for the glory and to impress his girlfriend. One night, after one of the races, the police catch Brian. Agent Bilkins (Thom Barry) and Agent Markham (James Remar) of the FBI offer Brian a chance to clear his record and possibly get his badge back. They have been keeping surveillance on Carter Verone (Cole Hauser), a businessman who uses his import/export business to launder money. In the year that they have been watching him, all they have linked him to is illegal street racing. They want Brian and a partner to pose as runners and work for Verone so they can get more dirt on him. Brian refuses to partner with the agents suggested by the FBI, since they can’t cut it on the streets. He insists on partnering with Roman Pearce (Tyrese), a childhood friend and ex-con (currently under house arrest by ankle bracelet…but his house is a trailer on wheels.) They were best friends, but they had a falling out when Brian became a cop. The FBI offers Roman a chance to clear his criminal record if he partners with Brian on this case. He agrees to do it, and they are introduced to Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes), an undercover agent who is posing as Verone’s girlfriend and assistant. Monica introduces Brian and Roman to Verone, and he tests them out by having them retrieve some money from an impound lot. They succeed, despite some interference by Markham. Verone hires them to transfer some money for him. Brian wonders how Markham knew where they were, so he has Jimmy (Jin Auyeung), a mechanic in Tej’s shop, check out the cars supplied to them by the FBI. Jimmy discovers that they are wired with GPS in them. They also discover Verone’s intentions with them after they do their job. Brian and Roman need to get new cars, complete their mission, and possibly clear their names…and a lot of fast car driving is involved.
I don’t know one car from another, but I do know what looks cool. I have a decent home theater system, but it doesn’t do justice to seeing it on the big screen. Since both movies have a very weak plot, they depend on the action to make up for it. The first movie didn’t do it for me, because I didn’t have the advantage of getting that “up close” feeling of the car action that I got when I saw this one.
Another thing this movie had over the first one was that it was a little lighter in tone. The producers of the movie had tried to negotiate with Vin Diesel, who played Toretto in the first movie, but it fell through. With him went the original director, Rob Cohen. After seeing the sequel, I say good riddance. The Roman character was obviously meant for Diesel, and they replaced Cohen with one of my favorite directors, John Singleton. Singleton had already proved he could handle action with the ultra-cool remake of Shaft, so I knew he could hack it. Tyrese was more fun to watch than the stone-faced Diesel, and provided the comic relief that fell to rapper Ja Rule in the first one (and he wasn’t even in it that long.) Speaking of rappers, Ludacris had more personality (and a bigger part) than Ja Rule.
All around I think 2 Fast 2 Furious is a better time in the theater than The Fast and the Furious. That is the catch though, because you have to see it in the theater. Even with the lighter tone, it is still a weak story (in fact, it feels like it is ripping off the FOX TV show “Fastlane,” which had
coincidentally ripped off The Fast and the Furious), but the action is cool. The friend I brought to the screening is into cars, and he said they were cooler than the cars in the first movie, so car geeks will love it. Don’t let it pass by your local multiplex, unless you have a better home theater than me (actually, if you do…can I come over?)
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