Starting From Zero Got Nothing to Lose
With Fast & Furious, at least you get what you signed up for: Inordinate amounts of ass served on plates, fast cars, meaningless car chases, loud hip-hop music, mean-looking scowls, and a plot as dumb as a box full of county-fair moustache rides. It's shitballs retarded, which should've been apparent when they subtracted eight characters from the original's title and gave us an ampersand. Indeed, it's dumber even than the first movie. But it sure is easy to watch. And I kind of appreciate that screenwriter Chris Morgan doesn't deign to insult anyone's intelligence with lame plot twists and interweaving storylines; he rightfully assumes that the vast majority of the target audience has no intelligence to begin with. Hell, you know just how bad a guy is by the color of his skin -- the darker the complexion, the more evil he is. Plus, you never for a second have to think about what you're watching --just sit back, and when the credits roll, you only have to think hard enough to sponge off the drool that's collected in your lap and stumble back out to your car. Just try to remember you're not in the movie theater anymore before you decide to fishtail that mini-van out of the parking lot.
The gap between the original The Fast and the Furious and Fast & Furious is quickly disposed of after the first action sequence (the one with the 18-wheeler, which is almost entirely on YouTube): Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) have been doing their car-chase theft on foreign soil, but the cops are closing in. So, Dom decides to cut loose, send his Asian buddy to Tokyo (where he hears things are going down, *wink wink*), and ditch Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). Letty, still suffering from her "Lost" curse, moves back to the States and is soon murdered by one of Victor Braga's henchman. Dom returns to avenge her death, while Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker) -- recently reinstated onto the force (no explanation provided) -- is also tracking down Braga for the LAPD. Hesitantly working together, Dom and Brian infiltrate Brago's organization via car race and set about tracking down Brago. Meanwhile Jordana Brewser reprises her role, too, as Dom's sister and Brian's jilted love interest. She gets about seven lines, all told, including this gem, delivered to Brian: "Are you a good guy pretending to be a bad guy, or a bad guy pretending to be a good guy? Think about that." Burn.
The plot unravels predictably.
But the car-chase sequences -- overseen by director Justin Lin (who helmed Tokyo Drift) -- are serviceable. You can't tell what the hell is going on most of the time, but there are enough quick cuts and blurs to suggest that it's fast and dangerous. The acting is atrocious, although the cars do a pretty decent job of playing cars. Diesel and Walker, however, have a difficult time playing human beings. They're just vacant slabs of meat thrown behind the wheel of a car. There are also a lot of engine revs, which provide a nice break from the obnoxious hip-hop music. And indeed, it might have been a much better movie if no one ever actually spoke -- if it just moved fluidly from action sequence to action sequence (although I might note that Lin never tops his opening sequence). It couldn't have been any dumber, although I suspect the minuscule percentage of women dragged along to see it would miss the Diesel's low-pitched growl. I also appreciated that the two leads displayed their testosteroney bravado by drinking Coronas. Hey! I drink Coronas: I guess that makes the three of us bad ass men, although I've got to work on my clenched jaw and stilted delivery. I may need to soup up the Prius, too. Maybe I'll get some of them flame decals and Yosemite Sam mudflaps. That'll put a stop to anyone questioning my sexuality. It worked for Vin Diesel. Right?
Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He really is straight. You can email him or leave a comment questioning his sexuality below.