Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fast & Furious (***)

Fast & Furious.  PG-13.  99 mins.  Directed by Justin Lin.  Written by Chris Morgan.  Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez.

Having reunited the original cast and shucked all reference to "the" in its title, Fast & Furious proves to be a welcome summer blockbuster in the middle of spring.  Like its predecessors, this fourth film in the never-ending franchise provides more of the same: nifty car chases (especially the one that opens the film and is seen in all of the trailers - sort of a Duel-lite sequence), lunkhead acting (courtesy of the limited range of Diesel and Walker), and a story that drags whenever its character aren't behind the wheel.  The point being: If you liked the other Fast and the Furious flicks, you'll enjoy this one just fine.  Director Justin Lin helmed the previous installment, Tokyo Drift, and though he's still trying to match the potential he showed in his first film (the little-seen, under-appreciated Better Luck Tomorrow), he knows how to stage an action sequence and give the audience what they want (i.e., fast cars, rockin' soundtrack, and two hot girls making out in the corner of the screen in every scene).  The story is lame - something to do with an underground drug smuggling operation, but that's true for all of these movies.  If you're going to see Fast & Furious for the plot, I'd suggest you just flush your money down the toilet.  It was a great idea to bring back all of the original cast members.  Funny what 8 years can do for a person's career - neither Diesel nor Walker has done anything significant since the original Fast and the Furious, and here they are again - back to the well, which, given the boffo opening weekend box office numbers, seems to have been a very smart move indeed.  It's rare when a fourth film reinvigorates a franchise, but that's just what Fast & Furious has done.  The ending sets up a fifth movie perfectly (though it misses out on a prime opportunity for a Tyrese cameo), and I can guarantee there will be a fifth.  My guess for the title: Fast/Furious.



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