- John Singleton
- Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Chris Bridges, James Remar
- 100 min.
- Release Date
Mediocrity shouldn’t be taken lightly. A mediocre product to you may be another person’s incomparable treasure. This is why reviewing 2 Fast 2 Furious was such a challenge. Because while the film deserves to be written off as trash and dumped in the wastebasket along with its second-rate predecessor, there’s an audience for this kind of movie. Gearheads will eat it up. They’ll lose themselves in the Honda S2000s and the Mitsubishi GTOs, which I could never differentiate, but oil jockeys will drool over. Thinking about it from their perspective, well, the movie doesn’t fare much better…
For this sequel to The Fast and the Furious, Paul Walker, unfortunately, returns with his surfer dude elocution and his shocking knack to make nothing he does believable. His ex-undercover cop character Brian O’Connor now lives in Miami, hiding out in disgrace because, if you recall, at the end of the first movie he let his mark go free. Vin Diesel was smart enough to jump ship on this broken-down-jalopy-of-a-franchise, leaving Walker all by his lonesome and under extreme scrutiny—something that should never be allowed, because he’s terrible. Just terrible.
Observe any scene with Walker and you’ll find dead eyes desperately trying to evoke basic emotions, but all we see is confused expressions of anger and happiness. It’s like watching an alien in a people suit trying to act human, except the alien isn’t quite sure how we behave, so its recital is awkward and unintentionally frightening. Some day the alien inside Paul Walker will reveal itself, and his string of unbelievably bad performances will make sense.
Once again O’Connor must go undercover and exhibit his racing skills, this time to catch vicious crimelord and Scarface wannabe Verone (Cole Hauser). Verone wants parcels driven real fast-like from Point A to Point B, and who better for the job than O’Connor? Along with his bestest pal from childhood Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson, in an admittedly funny wiseass performance), O’Conner infiltrates Verone’s sleazy Miami crib with the help of fellow undercover cop Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes), who doubles as Verone’s always-there-but-doing-nothing bimbo.
Credit must be given to the filmmakers for making a plot that offers some danger, since the first movie was completely void of a believable villain, and therefore left the viewer uninvolved. Here, in one scene, Verone tortures a detective by placing a rat on the man’s stomach, covering it with a metal bucket, and then heating up the bucket; as the bucket gets hotter, the rat wants to escape, and only the detective’s belly is soft enough for the rat to eat through. Yuck.
So there are fast cars and furious characters, as you might have gathered from the title. Illegal street races come with a “Don’t try this at home, kids” warning. Somehow members of this secret society of car aficionados keep hidden from the cops, as they’re able to order flashy auto parts without being traced, and they never seem to have trouble finding an empty highway on which to conduct their latest head-to-head race. Undercover cops try to expose this underground world that borders on auto-erotica, its members all but sexually aroused by the abundance of souped-up automobiles. And of course scantily clad tarts are draped on the muscled and moneyed men, just waiting to be labeled tramps.
John Singleton of Boyz N the Hood and Four Brothers fame helmed this actioner, leaving on the wayside his proven ability to tell an affecting and tension-building story. Instead, all his faculties are squandered on silly car racing movie clichés and the pathetic lack of acting talents purveyed onscreen. If car fanatics can dismiss that it’s basically a glorified episode of Miami Vice, good for them. The rest of us will find more ingenuity and entertainment value by revisiting the adventures of Crockett and Tubbs than we will suffering through this languid excuse for an action movie.