get these disclaimers out upfront: I know nothing about cars
except a smattering about the Batmobile and the Arrowcar,
and I did not see The Fast and the Furious. The good
news about 2Fast 2Furious is that these are not hindrances
to enjoyment of the film. But don't let that mislead you into
thinking that it's particularly enjoyable.
sequel can get away with doing something different than the
first film, by either exploring or building another corner
of the world previously established. If that fails, a creative
team can always just offer something fresh. Instead, 2Fast
2Furious offers apologies for not having Vin Diesel as
Dominic Toretto, by wedging in a new character with even deeper
ties to returning lead Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker).
apology can be accepted, as singer/actor/model Tyrese has
as much charisma as Diesel. Or maybe that's just in comparison
to the blank slate pretty boy that is Walker. In either case,
Tyrese offers some fun when the script doesn't, stealing the
film from everyone else with greater ease than the misbegotten
heist that forms the centerpiece of it.
with a candy rave of a street race in Miami, the film shows
some early promise. Short a racer, street impresario Tej (Ludacris)
calls in O'Conner, disgraced from the LAPD for his actions
in the previous film. But that background is almost completely
unimportant. What's clear now is that O'Conner has become
a legendary and feared racer that nobody wants to take on,
except perhaps the super-pouty Suki (Devon Aoki).
fallen director John Singleton stages the four-way race with
a good sense of excitement. Though no driver has a communications
device, Singleton crosscuts among them all "chatting" to each
other. All you need is one "stay on target…" and this would
be the assault on the Death Star instead of public standards
of road behavior.
it drips with goofy fun. Perhaps the Miami street racing scene
is as outrageous and over the top as its club scene always
seems to be in movies. Alas, 2Fast 2Furious never tells
us. Though the racers occasionally reappear to remind us of
the general setting, after that initial race, O'Conner is
busted and brought before U.S. Customs, who need his mad driving
skills to go undercover and help take down a notorious drug
they already have a woman on the inside of the drug lord's
operation: Monica Clemente (Eva Mendes). The coincidence comes
from her having already been checking out O'Conner at the
race, because her job is …to recruit drivers for the drug
more improbably, Customs needs O'Conner to have a partner.
As the one agent they have groomed apparently knows less about
cars than I do, O'Conner demands they bring in his
old buddy Dominic Toretto - wait, no, Diesel opted out - make
that Roman Pearce.
shifts into neutral as they go about bringing in Pearce. It
seems the two old buddies had a falling out, the whys of which
get resolved long past the point that we care. Several scenes
just repeat the same pattern: the two argue monosyllabically,
with their old grudge played as the barest of subtexts.
they actually go undercover, however, the script allows Pearce
to have some personality beyond bitter ex-con. His past informs
his character but does not control it, and Tyrese really shines.
movie never really gains that same control over itself. It
trolls through a turgid and hoary plot that belongs on a Saturday
afternoon Cinemax time-filler, with occasional crowbarred
excuses for street racing sequences. It's like car pornography,
with the nitrous injection as the money shot.
of the actors seem to know it, too, playing everything pretty
much one-note. Aside from Tyrese, only Ludacris and Cole Hauser
as the drug lord, Carter Verone, bring any sort of real personality
to their efforts.
Hauser is worthy of note for trying not to stoop to the easy
stereotypes. For the most part, the actor underplays the role,
making it a little more believably menacing. A couple of early
scenes have him in the worst latino make-up since George Chakiris
in West Side Story, but that fades over time. As well,
Hauser foregoes using an offensive accent, showing restraint
in his voice as well as his general demeanor. It seems, however,
that that choice came in looping, because there's a brief
gag involving Tyrese making fun of the way Verone talks.
postproduction accidents are simply signs of sloppy filmmaking.
You can almost forgive a tired plot if everybody involved
acted like they care. When the behind-the-scenes people don't,
well, why should we?
point, Tyrese turns to Walker and says, "You're going to try
that Dukes of Hazzard s***, aren't you?" That was the moment
that I realized that I'd rather see Bo and Luke ride again
than this pair, even though we're clearly set up for a Faster
people, don't let that happen. Just wait for Cinemax.
It Worth? $3