Friday, March 30, 2012

Fast & Furious


  Justin Lin's second go round as director behind the wheel of a Fast & Furious movie, can definately be looked upon as the turning point for the series from neon hyped, juvenille, street racing, into respectable and quite servicable action movies. Even though to date its only succeeded by one other installment, the awesome Fast Five, we definately have a strong idea as to where the franchise is headed, and it looks like we're in for lots of excitement on the road ahead.

  The very first F&F movie is not that great when you look back on it. I seem to bring this up every time I review one of these movies, but its an unavoidable point of fact. But it is a great jumping off point for characters that we've come to like and enjoy seeing in action on screen.  By this point, regardless of how subpar the first one was, its great to see Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in a movie that shows they do have chemistry.  In this one, its fun to see them work together. Its a bumpy ride at first since their last meeting ended less than stellar obviously, but this is a great set-up for Fast Five.  Vin Diesel himself describes O'Connor and Toretto's dynamic by the time of Fast Five as being akin to "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid".  I couldn't agree more. This movie, shows you how it got there. And its certainly quite the ride.

  After a nearly-botched heist in the Dominican Republic draws police attention to Dom and his crew, they split up and go their separate ways. But some time later, he's drawn out of hiding to avenge the death of a loved one at the hands of a drug lord's henchman. On the flip side, FBI agent Brian O'Connor is tasked with capturing the same drug lord. Its a foregone conclusion these two are going to be reluctantly paired up to fight the badguys. And the movie even makes the whole car aspect fit. The drug lord needs good drivers to haul drug shipments, how better to recruit than holding a fancy street race? The rest should be pretty obvious by now. From a semi-simplistic story, I gave away nothing significant. The back of the DVD case probably spoils more.

  Not too surprisingly, this one handles character development (when theres even time for it) alot better than the other movies do.  Short of Fast Five of course. Which for me is the hands-down best F&F movie out of all of them. But if I had to choose a second place winner, its no big thing to say this one is right up there.
All the big stunts are impressive and a few are quite impressive and outright "WOAH" inducing, but somewhere along the line it gets a little muddy, and as a whole feels less impressive. I can't put my finger on it. However, its a fun movie with lots of stylish cars, plenty of sex appeal, and wall to wall action only exceeded by that of its successor: Fast Five
Not a bad way to spend a couple hours on a lazy friday night.

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