The Story: Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) of the first Fast and the Furious returns back home to avenge the death of a loved one. Forced back together with FBI agent Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), the two must use their driving skills to infiltrate and take down an evil drug kingpin.
Pros: As a die-hard fan of the first Fast and the Furious I was so excited to see this movie, mainly because it reunited the main cast. Fans of the franchise will find a ton to love about this movie, mainly the epic car chases and crashes. The opening car chase involving Torretto’s team and the big rig scam from the first film was amazing. I thought most of it was ruined in the trailers (the tanker truck going over the car) but the whole scene is breathtaking setting up the movie to be filled with explosions and hot cars. The story isn’t the deepest but at a little over an hour and a half you get enough of what you expect from the franchise as a whole.
Cons: I really wanted to enjoy this movie as a fan of the original but Fast & Furious is terrible, so far one of the worst movies I’ve seen this year. Unfortunately this movie exemplifies that a cast does not make a good movie. Director Justin Lin, whose resume includes the last Furious film Tokyo Drift, has no clue what’s he doing now that he’s got big stars. The entire hour and a 40 minutes is comprised of a car chases and partying. While the car chases are amazing they’re ruined with constant party scenes involving bright colors, loud rap music, and chicks making out. I don’t remember the first movie having 20 scenes of girls in hot pants kissing other girls, do you? It almost seems like Lin lets the camera record while he joins the scene. Don’t get me wrong, the original doesn’t have the best plot, but this movie has no plot. Aside from the very weak “get the drug dealer” the whole movie doesn’t ramp into the plotline until over an hour in, then we return to the drug dealer. Lin also seems to be confused on what story he’s telling, whether it’s about drugs or Torretto returning home while evading the law. After an hour of the drugs being the center the film abruptly switches to Brian and Dominic and Brian’s lone hookup with Torretto’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster). Speaking of which, Fast & Furious’ tagline is “New Model, Original Parts” but the “originals” are wasted. Brewster is in the first for about 15 minutes and Michelle Rodriguez is in for less than half that. The movie just seems to be a buddy film about Torretto and O’Connor. What made the original so good was that it did focus on family and how Torretto had a blurry line between right and wrong. Having the cop and the bad guy was what made the film work, having them on the same side just leaves room for bad dialogue about “things changing” and “dating my sister.”
Acting: The actors seem to know they’re in a bad movie (but don’t worry there’s a really bad setup for a sequel at the end) so they don’t really strive to project a good image. Diesel just growls and looks Hulk-like throughout the entire thing, never projecting any charisma. Paul Walker proves he’s nothing more than a pretty face, essentially rehashing his role from Into the Blue. Brewster and Rodriguez seem constantly have a deer in the headlights look but since they’re barely in the film it doesn’t matter. Our bad guy, played by John Ortiz, is so over the top and annoying he’s not even worth naming (I can’t remember his character’s name to save my life).
Overall: Fast & Furious ruins all the goodwill from fans of the original and expects you to return for the sequel. A weak plot, nonexistent directing with actors who know they’re making crap. I’d be hard pressed to find a movie that’s worse than this, maybe because I had such high hopes (original director Rob Cohen, please come back!). I give Fast & Furious a miserable 1.5/5.