Universal // 2003 // 108 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Daniel Kelly (Retired) // April 3rd, 2009
2 Bold. 2 Sexy. 2 Cool.
A direct sequel to 2001's The Fast and the Furious, the skillfully titled 2 Fast 2 Furious is everything that one would expect from a continuation of that story, namely fast cars, scantily clad women, and lots of obnoxious and unmemorable characters. Directed by the once promising eyes of John Singleton, the film isn't a total travesty, but its script is generic, its leading man is weak, and ultimately it's as dumb as nuts. Due to the release of the fourth picture in theaters, Universal has seen fit to give this movie the special edition treatment; whilst there is a handful of new content, as is the case with most double dips virtually none of it is worth a damn.
Ex-LAPD man Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker, The Skulls) is a wanted man. After illegally allowing street racer Dominic Torreto to escape at the end of the first film, Brian has gone rogue and begun to dabble in the underground world of racing with mostly profitable results. However, after a race is shut down by the cops, Brian is taken into custody and given a powerful ultimatum: either face up to jail time or help the local law enforcement out of a jam. They need him to go undercover and help bring justice to local crime lord Carter Verone (Cole Hauser, The Family That Preys) a man guilty of multiple shady dealings, but on whom no concrete evidence exists. So with the help of agent Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes, The Women) and reluctant childhood friend Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson, Baby Boy), Brian agrees to do a job for Verone, so the police can get sufficient evidence to bring him down once and for all.
It has to be said that for a certain demographic, 2 Fast 2 Furious could represent near pitch-perfect cinema. To this group of people, film is all about the tricked out motors, the busty babes, and the tough guy quips, three things that 2 Fast 2 Furious has in hearty supply. Problem is that this clique of cineastes (or 12-year-old boys, as they are more commonly known) are a group notorious for their forgiving nature concerning screenplay, acting, or originality, meaning their recommendation is one you can probably afford to skip. Certainly as far as this film is concerned anyways.
It's not that 2 Fast 2 Furious is abhorrent or totally unwatchable, just that it offers no real cinematic sustenance and does so little to separate itself from its other uninspired genre counterparts. Small snippets of it were enjoyable but the dosages of this "fun" were too small and irregular, meaning that the audience has to slog through a lot of tedium to reach anything remotely worthwhile.
In the lead role, Paul Walker is as uncharismatic and wooden as ever. The sooner that Hollywood realizes he is not a worthwhile or adequate headliner, the better. Walker is meant to convey a sense of bad boy charm and anti-establishment cool, but all I saw was blank facial expressions and stilted dialogue delivery. The role hardly requires an actor of high caliber, but someone who doesn't look like he's reading his lines from a teleprompter is a necessity. Matters aren't helped by the fact Singleton has surrounded him with a plethora of equally inefficient thesps. Tyrese Gibson is massively irritating and overacts at every available juncture while Eva Mendes was clearly signed up solely because she looks nice in a bikini and tight clothing. Granted neither party is given much to work with thanks to the insipid screenplay, but the lack of skill and control emitting from both performers is shocking. As the villain of the piece, Cole Hauser actively attempts to go for the most unoriginal portrayal he can, and as a result he's more laugh worthy than fear inducing.
Anyone with any experience in the action or thriller genres will be fully capable of seeing the conclusion of 2 Fast 2 Furious 40 minutes in. The film follows well-worn genre templates from start to finish and features a rash of inexcusably labored and unnatural dialogue. I can pardon these faults readily when the picture has something genuinely rewarding to offer before the climax, but this one doesn't. It's predictable and by turn uninteresting; the plot on show here would make weak episodes of Miami Vice look fresh and intriguing.
The MTV sensibility of the production is obvious in the jittery, rap-laden soundtrack, slang infested dialogue, and glossy visuals deployed throughout. The combo is hard to stomach and really just comes off as incredibly obnoxious and annoying. There was a time when John Singleton looked like a director of intelligence and substance, but on the evidence of several creative choices on show here, those days are dead and gone. The man seems to have gone out of his way to assemble the most pap ridden and unintelligent effort he could muster, a sad verdict to slam upon the director of Boyz N the Hood.
As far as Double Dips go this one is pretty mediocre. The picture and sound are both fine (the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix featured is pretty fierce) but the special features are almost certainly not worth a reinvestment. The commentary track with John Singleton is revealing in that he tells us he drew influences from the world of videogames (it really shows, for the wrong reasons), but on the whole he's an affable enough and modestly informative host. The weakness is in the insubstantial featurettes, which rarely exceed 10 minutes, most focusing on the cars themselves and nearly all available on the movie's previous DVD release. The new stuff includes mini-docs entitled "Fast Females" and "Hollywood Impact." At least one is self-explanatory, and neither is worth your time. A rash of correctly deleted scenes and a digital copy round out a below-par special edition.
Okay, you really can't review a movie called 2 Fast 2 Furious without giving the cars and action scenes a mention. All of the fast moving engines featured look pretty cool and should satisfy aficionados of motoring no end, and the middle section set-pieces work quite well. One sequence in particular -- in which our heroes have to retrieve a parcel from an impound lot -- is particularly well staged and executed for maximum excitement. However apart from that it's generic filmmaking all the way, with a finale that is particularly rushed and unmemorable.
The odd thrill and Eva Mendes in a bikini aside, 2 Fast 2 Furious is a typically unintelligent and unmemorable slice of Hollywood spectacle. Twelve-year-old boys should love it, but everyone else is pretty much guaranteed to feel irritated and cheated out of 108 minutes of their lives.
2 Obvious. 2 Tedious. 2 Guilty.
Review content copyright © 2009 Daniel Kelly; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 108 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Trivia Track
* Deleted Scenes
* Digital Copy
* Wikipedia: 2 Fast 2 Furious