Monday, May 6, 2013



The Fast And The Furious
Director: Rob Cohen
Starring:  Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Rick Yune, Matt Schulze, Ted Levine
Rated PG-13

Ask any racer, any real racer. It doesn't matter if you win by an inch or a mile; winning's winning.
                        ~Dominic Toretto

Fast & Furious Drinking Game:  Take a sip of your beverage every time you see or hear the word “NOS”

So, Iron Man 3 AND Star Trek Into Darkness come out this month and I’m choosing The Fast And The Furious franchise to cover with my newest retrospective?  I decided it’d be fun to go into one of these where I’m not the longstanding fan of a series.  Also one I am pretty much a complete novice too.  I saw the first film back in the theater in 2001 and again on DVD when it arrived later that year.  I haven’t watched it since.  And as the sequels kept coming out, I kept thinking they looked pretty dumb.  Well, I’m 12 years older, a more mature person and more astute in my film criticism.  I’d like to give this series a fair shake.  I’m gonna give it a go.  Will I become a fan by the end?  Will I hate this series even more for going through all this?  Well, that’s the fun we’re about to have.

The first film is just about the same as I remember it.  It’s a very “bro-tastic” film.  This isn’t really the type of film made for me.  The primary story of the film is pretty mediocre and is accompanied by lame directing and poor performances.  It really is Point Break with cars.  Paul Walker even channels his inner Keanu for his performance.  It’s quite uncanny.  Vin Diesel is pretty funny as he takes his voice insanely over the top at any hint of conflict.  My sister and I joked that they intentionally hired Ja Rule to rap on the soundtrack because he sounded like Vin Diesel yelling.

This isn’t a really deep film and we’ve covered the narrative pretty much in the Point Break piece.  So, the film showcases street racing and a little bit of highway action.  The street racing in particular isn’t all too amusing.  It’s just cars driving in a straight line going fast and pushing NOS buttons.  I should at least be able to recommend these scenes and they’re just not very fun to watch.  The semi “battle” near the film’s end is notable and pretty well done, but that’s it.  The film still continues after.  I shouldn’t have expected any better, as this film comes from one of Hollywood’s most dull and uninspired directors, Rob Cohen. 

Like I said, this is a very “bro-tastic” form of escapism.  Guys are all shallow hardened badasses and the girls are “hot pieces of ass” trophies to be won.  However, I’m surprised that the 2 women playing actual roles in the film ARE allowed to be human and treated with some respect.  Michelle Rodriguez is fun to watch and is very strong and assertive.  She’s able to fight for what she wants and apply herself and take lead when necessary.  The film never goes out of its way to tell us “for a girl” with either of the characters and their skills, but I could see a few scenes maybe being taken that way.

The film’s villain aside from Toretto, I must mention is Ricky Yune.  We previously were graced with his craptastic thespianism in the James Bond retrospective with Die Another Day.  Don’t worry, he’s still horrible here.  I’m hoping we don’t run into him again (hopefully Olympus Has Fallen doesn’t become a franchise!)

The Fast And The Furious sits on the bottom side of mediocrity.  It’s not insanely terrible, but its one time watchable.  Its action sequences are lacking and its story kinda snoozes.  It really offers no special reason to exist.  But it somehow barely slips by in the turn your brain off sort of way.  I had a hard time writing about it.  It wasn’t good enough to analyze or bad enough to rip on.  People who are big time movie buffs likely hate this movie and I can’t really argue with them there.

Next Up: 2 Fast 2 Furious

Its got a dumb title, Paul Walker came back and nobody else, Tyrese, Eva Mendes, and Cole Hauser as a LATINO?  This sounds promising…

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