Monday, April 20, 2009

Film review: Fast And Furious

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster
Director: Justin Lin
Country: USA

"Tell me it wasn't a mistake reinstating you" – FBI Boss

If you are even remotely taking seriously the fourth outing of a franchise that is essentially a petrol-fuelled bromance vehicle for himbo Paul Walker and his gimpy mate Vin Diesel then Fast & Furious is not the film you’re looking for. If you have delusions that the first movie was anything more than a b-movie bonanza walk away now. But if you’re happy watching these two lugs spouting joyously bad dialogue amidst a flurry of beautiful babes and colourful cars then be prepared to strap in and disengage your brain.

It’s been eight years since the whole gang originally starred together in surprise hit The Fast And The Furious. The interim saw a horrible follow-up starring Walker while Diesel priced himself out of the film went off to try his luck with xXx, Chronicles Of Riddick and, er, The Pacifier before returning to the series for a cameo for threequel Tokyo Drift.

Walker didn’t exactly fair much better with a blink-and-you’d-miss-it part in Flags Of Our Fathers followed by a starring role in Disney dog drama Eight Below. And we shouldn’t forget also-rans Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez, not that screenwriter Chris Morgan has paid them much more than lip service here.

Directed by Justin Lin, who gets another shot after shooting the Tokyo-leg, there’s a certain meathead charm about F&F. This one is a revenge story incorporating drug running across the US-Mexico border through a labyrinthine tunnel network to be negotiated at breakneck speeds in fast cars driven by faster drivers – namely Diesel’s Dom Toretto, Walker’s FBI agent Brian O’Connor and some Clubber Lang meets Once Were Warriors-type bad guy called Phoenix. Oh, and there’s an obligatory street racing scene for good measure.

The movie promises much in the way of action credentials from the opening gas tanker heist as featured in the trailer that is inventive if somewhat nonsensical (much like the tunnel that exists firmly outside of reason). Later chases lose their edge thanks to the heavy incorporation of CGI flying in the face of the kind of realism brought to the screen by Death Proof’s much more impressive musclecar thrill ride. What F&F lacks in the way of grit it more than makes up for with sheer narcissism and earnestness without a trace of irony in sight.

But what were you expecting? F&F does everything you’d expect from a film that effortlessly spews lines like “Maybe you’re the bad guy pretending to be the good guy,” and “I thought we signed on to do the right thing.” Big, dumb and bold as brass: much like old Vin himself.

Whether or not this will be the shot in the arm the leads’ careers could use remains to be seen, though it’s hard to imagine it’ll be anything other than a case of rinse and repeat.

Scott Henderson

Fast & Furious is in cinemas now
This review also appears in 3D World


Unknown said...

Oi! Don't dis Eight Below - that was a real tear jerker!

Good to hear F&F represents as a shameless b-grade bonanza.