Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tonight's Movie: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS is the second film in the long-running Fast & Furious franchise. I reviewed the first film, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001), last July.

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS is a solo outing for Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner, with the only other cast member continuing from the first film being the likeable Thom Barry as Agent Bilkins.

When THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS left off, Brian had been working as an undercover cop. His feelings for Mia (Jordana Brewster) led him to let her brother Dom (Vin Diesel) escape arrest, despite criminal conduct.

Following that poor decision, Brian is now on the lam in Florida. He keeps food on the table by participating in the Miami street racing scene, where he's arrested after winning a race.

Agent Bilkins and federal customs agents offer Brian a deal: Help them bring down drug kingpin Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) and Brian's record will be wiped clean. The feds currently have an undercover agent (Eva Mendes) living with Verone, but they need a good driver as part of the setup to catch him.

Brian agrees, on the condition that his childhood friend Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), who's currently on parole, drive with him and receive the same deal.

I found 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS to be entertaining fun. The script is strictly a standard-issue crime film, with a funny line here and there, but Walker is an appealing actor, and the locations and the street racing culture give an otherwise ordinary story a unique spin.

The car chases make it particularly worthwhile; there's a beautifully staged scene where Brian and Roman shake those following them amidst a sea of colorful cars driven by their friends.

The movie requires quite a suspension of disbelief, such as a sequence involving an ejector seat or the climactic scene where a car lands on a boat; that said, according to my son, I ain't seen nothin' yet when it comes to the car craziness in these movies!

There's an enjoyable supporting cast, including Ludacris as a garage owner and Devon Aoki as Suki, an offbeat street racer. It was nice to see a woman behind the wheel of one of the cars; I learned that Aoki's father founded the Benihana restaurant chain.

The third film in the franchise, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (2006) is a standalone film with new characters. It would be half a dozen years after 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS before Walker reunited with Vin Diesel and the L.A. crowd for FAST & FURIOUS (2009), at which point the series revved into high gear and began releasing films every other year. The series is currently projected to continue until at least 2021!

The movie was directed by John Singleton and filmed by Matthew F. Leonetti.

Parental Advisory: 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS is rated PG-13 for language, violence, and more. I thought it was just a bit edgier than the original film, but not by much. The movie was filmed in Florida, with studio work in California.

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS is available on DVD and Blu-ray. It can be streamed on Amazon Instant Video.

The trailer is on YouTube.


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