Fast & Furious review – silly, improbable, but as good as you could expect
When you consider titles for sequels, a lot of thought needs to be put in to it. Most movies just continue putting Roman numerals after the main title so that we can easily identify which film we are going to see.
This simple rule of thumb seems to have escaped Justin Lin though as he feels that to distinguish between the first and forth film of “The Fast and The Furious” series, he only needed to remove the definite articles (the) and replace the grammatical conjunction (and) with an ampersand! So instead of having: The Fast and The Furious IV, we are left with the forth film being called: “Fast & Furious”.
This will likely lead to a great deal of confusion when thousands of teenagers ask for Fast & Furious DVDs this Christmas, only to get the original instead of the forth film. My biggest concern is for the name of the inevitable fifth film. If they carry on with this kind of logic, the fifth “Fast and Furious” film is likely to be called “Fast/Furious” and the sixth film “F&F”. When does this silliness end; or more importantly, when will I ever get to the review?
As he is released from prison, Brian O’Conner teams up with Dominic Toretto work with the feds to bring down a heroin importer by infiltrating his operation.
Let’s start off with the essentials. I thought the first Fast and Furious film was entertaining but silly. I thought the second film (2 Fast 2 Furious) was good (but sillier). I thought the third film (Tokyo Drift) was predictable tosh but had expectations for a fourth film due to the final scene in Tokyo Drift when Vin Diesel appeared.
Thankfully Justin Lin (who originally directed Tokyo Drift) decided to reunite the original cast and despite most of them actually not straying too far from the Furious franchise, it is welcome return. The only exception to the rule is that of Michelle Rodriguez who seems to have been very busy since the first film. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker have both had limited success but it has somehow gone stale over the past few years. You get the feeling that 75% of the main characters returned for some kind of “do-over” for their career!
As the film opens, you are somewhat thrown into the action with cars customised to such a degree that they manage to go faster in reverse than forwards (the engineering involved in doing this would blatantly point out the perpetrators). Yes, Vin / Dom is up to his old tricks again and instead of trying to rob something stationary, he insists on attacking a moving object. I say “Dom”, but what I really mean is that he drives a bit and expects his willing girlfriend to go and do some lorry acrobatics! Surely that must be considered a type of abuse!
I simply do not understand the purpose of bringing back pointless and emotionless characters though. Whilst Rodriguez and Diesel come across as acting, Walker and Jordana Brewster (playing Dom’s sister) seem somehow vacant. Walker redeems himself on a few occasions but it is not long before you want to slap the man silly for pretending to be an actor instead of actually acting! Brewster’s scenes though are short and unnecessary. In fact you feel as if those scenes slow the pace of the film somewhat. Usually this would be a good thing but since the title has the word “fast” in it, you’d expect the pace to be…er…fast!
As the film progresses, you realise that they are setting you up for a sequel or seven. The story seems to be told in half measures which leaves so many options open for more films. This should be good news but I can only hope that the Fast and Furious crew don’t insist on releasing a movie every year and diluting the story until it is a pointless, tasteless water (like the Saw series). One thing to note though is the catalyst of the film. It is a little smarter than what you would expect. Within 20 minutes I was mentally congratulating the writer (Chris Morgan) for his sheer audacity (you’ll have to watch it to appreciate what I am talking about).
Despite the script being more impressive than expected, I cannot forgive the unnecessary use of the female characters. I say unnecessary because every single female character is aching to jump the bones of their nearest nutty driver! If a suitable driver is not around then they are more than happy to start fondling and kissing each other. It was as if I were watching a film made by a 14 year old boy in throws of puberty. I am aware that the target demographic for these movies is indeed a 14 year old boy, but surely some female characters in the film could have some better dialogue….or wear bras!
You wanted another Fast and Furious with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker? You got it! You want lots of silly racing, shiny cars and gruff voices? You got it! You want to hear if Vin Diesel’s voice has lowered two octaves? You got it! You want to take the formula of “silly” and multiply it by Pi? You got it! You want females wearing very little and touching everything with a pulse? You got it! You want Tyrese Gibson from 2 Fast 2 Furious? I’m sorry. That is too much to ask!
Fast & Furious is exactly what it says on the tin. You are likely to already know if you are going to see it! It is unlikely to win new fans (unless you are a teenage boy who has never heard of the franchise) but it is a formula that works. I just wish that someone would put a bullet in Paul Walker’s character! I am getting sick of Brian O’Conner!
In fact the only negative thing I have for this review is my opinion. Fast & Furious films (for me) belong on a home cinema setup with surround sound, accompanied by a load of your mates and unlimited beer and pizza. The only cinema I would be happy seeing them in, would be the IMAX! Imagine that: Fast and Furious on the IMAX! Even I’d be impressed!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5