Fast & Furious (2009) – Justin Lin

The fourth film in The Fast and The Furious franchise brings back members of the core cast of the original film, tying it in with the larger world introduced in the third film (which happens some time after this) and puts Justin Lin in the driver’s seat again.

His sense of energy and enthusiasm worked so well for the third, that it was probably a no-brainer to sign him for multiple sequels, and this time around, that energy is on full display.

Dom (Vin Diesel) Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and a few of their friends, including Tokyo Drift’s Han (Sung Kang) – who blatantly tells us that Tokyo Drift hasn’t happened yet – are eking out an existence in the Dominican Republic. But there last haul was too big, and a bit of a mess, and it’s drawn the attention of the wrong people, so Dom runs (again).

Letty returns to Los Angeles, where Brian (Paul Walker) has been reinstated in the Bureau, and ends up murdered awfully damned quick, which draws Dom back to the country, and soon the two ex-friends, still on opposite sides of the law, find themselves going after the same man, with Dom’s sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster) in the middle. A drug dealer who is using street racers to run his drugs into the country from Mexico (through an underground tunnel – not the least believable thing in the film).

The film features Gal Gadot’s big screen debut, and features some great stunt and effects work that have become the staple of the series. And much like Tokyo Drift, Lin is determined to infuse it with as solid a story, and emotions as the franchise can bear (which isn’t a lot, I never actually completely buy that Dom is upset over Letty’s death – he’s too interested in walking around all tough; a simple character beat to show him upset (not angry but sad) with some tears may have gone a long way). I do like that he decides to face the consequences of his actions at the end of the film.

Happily, almost everything in this film, like the previous films can be resolved with car chases, some violence and a little gunplay. Unfortunately, Han isn’t in it enough, but I hear he’s back in the next film, as is Gadot. I do like how the cast is expanding, how the world is building, and that the action sequences are just getting more over the top.

I’ve changed my mind on the series. It’s good mindless fun; popcorn movies. They aren’t going to change the world, but they are definitely going to entertain you for a couple of hours, and honestly, I think Lin is a great director, and I love what he brings to his films.

Next up Fast Five!

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