The Fast and Furious Retrospective: Part 2
Ok, things didn’t get off to a great start with the first movie. But given the staying power of the franchise I can assume that it took just a little while to find its feet, right?
2 FAST 2 FURIOUS
Director: John Singleton
Cast: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Ludacris, Devon Aoki
Plot: O’Conner, now a fugitive for having let Toretto go, is recruited by the Miami police to infiltrate a drug lord’s organisation. O’Conner teams up with a parolee and former friend Roman to do the job.
Review: Nothing sends up a red flag like the bulk of main characters failing to turn up for the sequel. Not that this couldn’t be done with just O’Conner (Walker) if you have other interesting characters for him to work off. Charisma notwithstanding, he’s just not talented enough to carry the franchise on his own.
We start with O’Conner participating in street races in Miami. At least, that’s what they tell us because it looks more like an episode of Whacky Races. It’s all good to give the bit parts some personality but it’s all so garish and over the top that, coupled with the shoddy CGI race cars, it looks like a cartoon. It should be an improvement that the races have more to them than going straight down a road but this looks so bad it’s just silly.
The script does some serious gymnastics to get the story back on track. They have to explain why the police are recruiting a cop who infiltrated an criminal organisation only to join them to infiltrate a criminal organisation…which rates as the dumbest idea ever. Then they have to explain why his old friend is working with him even though he hates cops. No-one should trust O’Conner. He ditched his childhood friends to become a cop and then betrayed the police to be a criminal.
Here’s an idea – make it a game of cat and mouse where O’Conner has to evade the police he betrayed, which leads him deeper into the underworld. Simple.
As with the first one this adventure drags in endless pointless characters and subplots to pad out the running time. The most prominent of these is Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes), an automated mannequin who is apparently a customs agent working undercover as the bad guys girlfriend who is also a romantic interest for O’Conner. Her acting is painful to watch, and the sub-plot about what side she’s really playing come only through exposition. It’s dull and pointless.
But nothing compares the scintillating dialogue.
“Man, that guy’s a dick.”
Amazing. This could be ignored if it wasn’t for the fact it takes up most of the movie. 90% if this film is O’Conner and Roman (Gibson) standing in front of sunny ocean locations talking about the plot.
The weirdest addition to the plot are these high-tech claws that the police shoot into cars to short out all the electricity. I have no idea if these are a thing, but for some reason they only pull them out twice in the whole film. You’d think such a perfect deterrent to racing would get a bit more use. Or maybe they realised that sending cars moving at 100+ miles an hour completely out of control was a dumb idea to begin with.
At the end of the movie we get treated to cheap versions of classic Bond stunts amid a lazy chase scene that ends abruptly, then O’Conner and Roman walk off into the sunset together. Amazingly this one was worse than the first one. Worse CGI, blander characters and an even more tiresome plot.
Rating: TWO out of TEN