The Fast Franchise: Volume 2 – ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’

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2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) – Action | Drama

Directed by: John Singleton

Starring: Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson

Review by Eric Scot Lemons

2 Fast 2 Furious is, at its core, a film for people who don’t know the difference between two and too. The inevitable sequel to the 2001 street racing hit loses much of what made the original so spectacular, most importantly Vin Diesel. This film loses its star and its director, and replaces the LA locale with the supposedly vibrant Miami. Bienvenidos a Miami! But realistically the film could have been shot in Hoboken. I really couldn’t get a grasp on this film. There were so many times in which I wanted to just roll my eyes due to the boring shots, yet there was some truly beautiful blocking and depth of field to certain scenes. I was so impressed with the first third of the film visually, I looked up the director on IMDB. I was actually curious about who directed a Fast and Furious flick. Surprised me too. It was Oscar-nominated director John Singleton.

The plot follows the most boring character of the original film, Brian (last named changed from Spilner to O’Connor, because he’s a fucking hero now) as he is recruited by the FBI to work undercover to take down a cartel kingpin. Well, I mean, he is recruited by US Customs, but also(?) works for the FBI. I couldn’t quite understand what was going on, plotwise. And it does follow the same cognitive dissonance of Armageddon in which it appears easier to train a street racer to be an FBI agent than the other way around. But Brian decides to bring along his best friend from back in the day, who now hates him, played by Tyrese Gibson. A clear replacement for Dom. A racing pal to whom Brian must prove himself. The rest of the film is fast cars and Eva Mendes as a love interest that really doesn’t add anything other than a motivation to complete the movie. The drug lord is maniacal but pretty bland, wearing clothes from 70’s Kung-Fu flicks.

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Paul Walker RIP very clearly cannot carry a movie by himself. Luckily, they hired Tyrese, who is legitimately good at trash-talking and being tough (the two primary needs for a role in any F&F movie), but feels amateurish when he is clearly told to comedically riff. Paul Walker RIP went from bland pretty boy in the first flick to Cali surf kid, spending most of the film in a West Coast Customs t-shirt and Dickies Shorts. Ludacris is hit or miss (ANOTHER FUCKING RHYME!)

Many of the car races feel recycled from the first film also. You know the stakes and you know the characters and you know what is going to happen. There is not a lot of suspense built into the Win or Lose scenarios. I was, however, thoroughly impressed by the scene in which the bad guy is torturing a cop by placing a rat under a bucket on his bare chest, and heating the bucket, forcing the rat to try to burrow through the man’s torso. The effect is super cool and the imagination runs roughshod with the concept.

Overall, the film feels pieced together in an attempt for a quick cash grab, without fully understanding the world of the original film, nor the reason people tuned in. I would probably never watch this flick again, as it was just dumb without the fun. The film ends with the two homies jumping a ramp onto a yacht that is speeding away – which sounds amazing. But somehow, it lets you down and thus, is the perfect analogy for the film.

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