2003 Movies

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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Cathy’s Take on ‘Looney Tunes: Back in Action’

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Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) – Family Friendly Romp | Wickedly Smart Adventure Romp

Directed by: Joe Dante

Starring: Brendan Frasier and Dharma from Dharma and Greg

How I Watched: When it was on Netflix for the first time

Everyone knows it’s summertime when I start donning my Daffy Duck windbreaker and start placing my Tweety Bird sunshade in my windshield to keep the faux leather seat of my Nissan Sentra from burning my legs. From Sylvester speaking in a lisp to Bugs Bunny saying, “What’s Up, Doc?,” summer is so completely full of Looney Tunes references. And because of the sweltering heat lately, I felt it my duty to talk about my favorite Looney Tunes movie; Looney Tunes: Back in Action, which is currently playing on Netflix. Looney Tunes: Back in Action follows the lineage of so many cartoon shows to make their way to the big screen alongside real life actors, such as Rocky and Bullwinkle, Space Jam (also featuring Looney Tunes: Back in Action characters) and the Muppets. And while these are all great movies, none of them are on Netflix this month.

Looney Tunes: Back in Action is a return to form for the characters of Looney Tunes: Back in Action. We see Bugs playing his sarcastic jokester type and Daffy (my favorite) being playfully mean and neurotic. We see Brendan Frasier being amazed and frustrated by everything that is going on, and Dharma from Dharma and Greg being rigid, but ultimately funny; reminding me of my third favorite actress, Rene Russo. The plot is that Bugs and Daffy and Dharma and Brendan Frasier are working together to save the world from being turned into monkeys. The evil villain in this movie is so funny and downright looney, that he should be a Looney Tune as well, but for the life of me, I cannot place where I have seen him before.

The movie is a laugh-a-minute with multiple jokes that are just for the adults in the audience. I first saw this movie about three years ago when it was on Netflix the first time, and I really enjoyed it. After a re-watch (and of course, because I am spending all my time studying film to help with Nick’s website), I found I got a lot of jokes that I may have missed the first time. So this is one film that I recommend watching twice on Netflix. One for the kid jokes, one for the adult jokes. Both viewings will leave you in stitches, and that’s a Cathy guarantee.

Ultimately, this film is a family friendly romp that has the lovable characters of many people’s childhood globetrotting the globe in a wickedly smart adventure tale with a great cast. Also, the film is (space) jam-packed with hilarious guest stars and cameos from famous people such as Jeff Gordon and Matthew Lillard, playing themselves. Keep your eyes peeled and enjoy this wonderful comedy.

Cathy Gives It: I give this movie 10/10 diamonds that turn people into monkeys.