2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) / Action-Crime
MPAA Rated: R for street racing, violence, language and some sensuality
Running Time: 100 min.
Cast: Paul Walker, Tyrese, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Chrise "Ludacris" Bridges, Devon Aoki
Director: John Singleton
Screenplay: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas
Review published December 21, 2003
What was already a formula action picture in The Fast and the Furious, becomes a rehash of the same formula in the newest entry in the street racing saga, 2 Fast 2 Furious. Here's the formula in a nutshell, and I won't use spoilers to do it:
1. About every 20 minutes, have a scene of street racing. Before the race, men who are too cool to take off their shades at night give the main protagonist lots of head nods, high hives, and handshakes of respect. Have half-naked women looking in lust, because they clearly would do anything for a man who likes to drive really fast. The protagonist wins, establishing he can indeed drive really fast. Men with shades now emphatically nod their heads and give handshakes. Women feel the need to touch this man that drives so fast.
2. In between racing scenes, fill up the film with two different kinds of scenes in succeeding order:
2a) The mission scenes: in these scenes the protagonists get briefed about their mission, told why they are the only men for the job, and how dangerous it will be. Protagonists must be disrespectful to the authorities, because they are such badasses that it would be uncool to do good just because it's the right thing to do, followed by scenes of them getting chewed out and told they have no other option.
2b) The crime scenes: badass protagonists pretend to be badass criminal protagonists. When arriving at the lair of the main antagonist, they will be treated to endless scenes of fast cars or faster women. They will make faces and howl at either of them in the same fashion. Antagonist will do something unscrupulously evil near the end of each scene, reasserting he is not a nice guy.
2 Fast 2 Furious is exactly what you're expecting it to be, a no-brain popcorn film, mixing street racing with "Miami Vice" style underlying crime scenes. It is never good, but you can't say it isn't efficient at delivering the paltry goods that fans of these kinds of movies expect. While this one lacks Vin Diesel, it isn't really lesser in quality as the first film, as it is practically the same thing in every department. One could knock it for just being a retread, but really, the first film was just a rip-off of 100 films before it, so this seems disingenuous.
If you loved the first film for any other reason than Vin Diesel stars in it, you'll probably be just as entertained by this newer version. More silly hot-dog racing, more bikini babes, more mundane drama, and slick music video production. For those who didn't like the first film, stay away at all costs. While it may give you what you expect, this cuts both ways, as it gives you the same idiotic plot elements, wafer-thin characterizations, and low-brow angst that made the first film so painfully trite to begin with. If you enjoy watching someone else play a video game for two hours, you already have a sufficiently low threshold for entertainment to sit through a live-action version.
©2003 Vince Leo