Action Movie Saturday: 2 Fast 2 Furious

It is time for Action Movie Saturday (Friday), where I treat an action movie like an action movie and not like a drama and stuff. All movie reviews are subjective and while I may like something, you might think it’s shit, and vice versa!

Title: 2 Fast 2 Furious
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release: 2003
Genre: Action, Heist
Starring: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Thom Barry and Devon Aoki
Director: John Singleton
Writer: Gary Scott Thompson, Micheal Brandt & Derek Hass
Distributor: Universal
Budget: $76 Million
Box Office: $236 Million

(well from this trailer, I have no idea what this movie is about and way to promise stuff that never delivers. Oh it’s all there in the movie, just, not like that.)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 36%

Gingersnaps Rating: two and three quarters cookies!

Right now, I really wish I could guarantee a review every Friday. The unfortunate news is that I can’t. Life happens. So, I’m going to try and stick to doing it as soon as I can if Friday isn’t an option. So drum roll please, as we continue in the franchise that made Vin Diesel and Paul Walker famous, 2 Fast & 2 Furious.

Summary:

Former undercover cop and now fugitive, Brian O’Conner has hid himself away in the underbelly of the racing world of Miami. He’s made friends with Tej (Ludacris) who owns a garage and his girl Suki (Devon Aoki) and is now going by the nickname of Bullet. One night after a race, he’s drawn back into the world of undercover work when he’s caught by cops and given a deal from his old boss (Thom Barry). He can either pull this job and bring in cartel money man Carter Verone (Hauser) or he can go to jail for letting Dom Toretto go. Brian, feeling he owes an old friend a debt, demands he be able to choose the driver and chooses an old friend Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson). Carter proves to be a canny and tough foe who keeps changing plans and showing how ruthless he is. And when the plan turns into killing Brian and Roman, they have to turn to Tej and Suki to help get their asses out of the fire and come out ahead.

Review:

At this point in the franchise, Vin Diesel didn’t want to do sequels. And with Toretto in Mexico and this moving establishing that Brian fled to Florida. A sequel with the two of them ganging up wasn’t feasible. It’s also a truth that sequels are worse than the original. This one didn’t flop but it had twice the budget of the first movie and didn’t make twice the money. So, the numbers were going in a downward direction. Unfortunately, the money spent on neon, prettier cars and better special effects didn’t take into account that Paul Walker and Tyrese weren’t really big enough names to draw people in on their own. Tack on a story that doesn’t deliver what the trailer promised and no wonder the audiences didn’t show up.

All right, to keep this review relatively short for once, though it’s not my fault. I can’t review what isn’t here. I’ve got to take off three cookies. One gingersnap is eaten for the fights that aren’t there. While Brian and Roman have a dust up in the beginning of the movie, it is the typical, I have to punch you before I like you again, male bonding type of fighting and that’s it. Otherwise, people scrabble for guns and pound heads into dashboards, but no real fights. Another gingersnap is eaten because the girls don’t do anything. I was really hopeful when we saw Suki that we were going to have a female driver who was important. Suki acts bad ass and then they don’t do anything with her character other than cuddle up to Tej. Disappointing. Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes) is worse. She gets to be the damsel in distress! There is also hinted at a romance plot or at least a lust plot with Brian, that because Monica is undercover as Verone’s girl, can’t go anywhere. Annoying. Lastly, a cookie gets eaten because there were no explosions in this movie gratuitous or otherwise. I’ve got crushed cars and flying cars but no cars blowing up. This totally eats into my popcorn factor. Boo!

So, we’re down to two cookies.

While in the Fast and the Furious, we knew Dom and his family were the ones behind the heists. The real struggle was for O’Connor to prove it and not get caught while doing so. Granted, he ended up breaking his cover anyways because of the girl. In this movie, we have to accept that Brian is a bad, but not so bad, guy (he’s all right, to borrow a Firefly saying) and that he’s going to manage to get through this deal with the Feds, hoodwink Verone and get out alive. That’s a pretty tall order, oh, and there will be plenty of fast cars going on. Really, after the plot of the first one, this is a pretty straight by the numbers or by the check list plot. Is it entertaining? Yes. Could it be better, especially given the twists and turns the first movie put us through to get to the ending? Definitely.

Cole Hauser makes a mesmerizing villain. I must say. He makes the movie bearable. And it is nice to see Mark Boone Junior in one of his earlier roles (currently most well known as Billy Elvis in Sons of Anarchy.)

We also have to accept this after the first movie proves to us that Brian is a rookie racer whose more used to jacking cars than racing a quarter mile. So, to go from green racer in the first movie who keeps killing cars to expert racer in the second movie is a bit of a stretch. That’s huge dissonance. Now there is a prelude that shows how Brian went from the west coast to the east coast and financed it by racing. However, six minutes and 2500 miles does not progressive improvement make or at least being shown to us. Especially, when he supposedly keeps winning those races in between. So, I’m going to take a bite out of a cookie right there.

Roman’s and Brian’s interaction are entertaining. However, the in jokes get stale after a while and should have been dropped halfway through the movie.

As usual, cars are shown going fast and the force that is necessary to control them is shown. In the second movie, unlike the first, they do remain consistent with it. And the jump to get onto the yacht is alluded to early on in the movie from a race that they jump from one section of a raised boat bridge to another. The American Muscle cars were a nice touch, a nod to the previous movie.

This neon spangled and nos fueled sequel is heavy on the racing, but light on plot, fights, explosions and anything that could be remotely original. It’s sad when the villain actor has more chops than the stars. After the first movie, it was a big let down. Two and three quarters gingersnaps.

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