John Singleton delivers the second film in The Fast and The Furious franchise, and not so long ago, I really didn’t care for any of these films. I’m not into car culture, it’s never appealed to me, and I don’t really care about all the alpha male posturing that seems inherent to the culture.
But I figured why not revisit them, and try to just enjoy them?
This film, which sees the series still trying to find its formula, fleshes out Paul Walker’s Brian a little more while using street racing and cars of various models to bring a criminal, played by Cole Hauser to justice. No longer a cop, Brian is hiding out in Miami, making money from racing, and just getting by.
When he’s picked up by Agent Bilkins (Thom Barry) and brought in with the promise of clearing his record if he helps out, Brian, and his childhood friend, Roman (Tyrese Gibson) find themselves going up against a dangerous crime lord, Carter Verone (Hauser).
They have help inside Verone’s camp in the form of undercover agent Fuentes (Eva Mendes), who immediately catches Brian’s eye.
While Roman and Brian try to sort out their past, and who’s cooler, the pair come up with a plan within a plan to keep the feds at arms length, keep Fuentes out of trouble, and stop Verone.
And of course all of this can be solved by driving fast cars, delivering some pretty cheesy dialogue, and looking good on camera. Which is one of the things the film series does well, no matter how bad some of the writing is, the visual candy, in all forms, displayed in the film is solid.
The series has quickly established a visual style, and language, and it carries on through this film, providing a visual through line, even though some of the things that made the first film work are notably absent, specifically Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez.
Still, giving Brian a bit of a stand alone tale, as we learn more about his character (kind of) was a good way to take the series, especially since it was still finding its feet.
And I’ll be honest, I actually got a kick out of it this time. I still think its fairly mindless, but I’m looking forward to getting into some of the later films. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve watched anything after Tokyo Drift, so I like the fact that I have a half dozen films after that to get through.
I still could care less about the cars, or the culture around it, but I can see the appeal of the series to those who are fans. I will say I am looking forward to re-watching Tokyo Drift because of the first three films, its probably my fave. We’ll see if that still plays when I dig into it in the near future.