2 Fast 2 Furious

(2003) ** 1/2 Pg-13
105 min. Universal Pictures. Director: John Singleton. Cast: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Chris 'Ludacris'.

Disingenuously billed as "A John Singleton Film," 2 Fast 2 Furious dutifully recreates the look of its predecessor The Fast and the Furious: colorful, shapely, and super-charged. With its ballsy, bar-raising disregard of sense, this solid sequel mildly improves upon the original. Despite its many failings, 2 Fast 2 Furious insinuates itself as summer movie camp 2 gleefully preposterous 2 be dismissed.

Singleton--an Oscar-nominated director, lest we forget--almost wholly sublimates his style to this toss-off thrill ride, which seems a wise move, given the brain-dead material. With its change of scenery to South Florida, 2 Fast 2 Furious feels almost as much like the James Bond movie License to Kill as The Fast and the Furious. The stunts are as winkingly ludicrous and the femme fatale babes equally sultry.

The sequel protracts the first film's plot (and jettisons all but Paul Walker from the cast) by transplanting former LAPD officer Brian O'Connor to the illicit racing scene of the East Coast. There, Kevin Costner-lite practices his laughable street jive and hustles drag races for racing pimp Tej (the engaging Ludacris) until the local authorities pick Brian up and rope him into another deep-cover operation. This time, the nonsense has something to do with a sociopathic drug dealer (Cole Hauser with a dye-job) who needs a large sum of cash discreetly couriered by the fastest, most reckless drivers in town. Undercover vixen Monica Clemente (Eva Mendes) is already shacking up with the dealer, so can she be trusted? It's up to O'Connor and lifelong pal Roman Pearce (Tyrese) to work their tricked-out magic and save the day.

As you may remember from the first film, watching Paul Walker attempt to act is something akin to a geology lesson, so Tyrese (late of Singleton's Baby Boy) proves invaluable as the lively, puffed-up Roman. The relationship between Brian and Roman--besides fueling a record-breaking exchange of the terms of endearment "Bro" and "Bra"--provides a brief bout of dramatic tension: Roman blames his three-year prison stint on his erstwhile buddy. The rest is composed strictly of by-the-numbers undercover-cop-movie clichés.

But who am I kidding? It's all about the cars, and here, 2 Fast 2 Furious don't skimp, bra! The eye-popping stunt driving makes 2 Fast 2 Furious an irresistible guilty pleasure. At least four major set pieces put the pedal to the metal on abandoned stretches of road, on freeways, with big-rigs, with 'copters, and with almost enough cop cars for a Blue Brothers sequel. As Roman so eloquently puts it, "Guns, murder, and crooked cops? I was made for this, bra!"

Share/bookmark: del.icio.us Digg Facebook Fark Furl Google Bookmarks Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Yahoo! My Web Permalink Permalink

Aspect ratios: 2.35:1

Number of discs: 2

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Street date: 4/3/2009

Distributor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Part of Universal's new The Fast and the Furious Trilogy Blu-ray package, 2 Fast 2 Furious has a spectacular look in a fine hi-def transfer, particularly in its eye-popping use of color; though those colors push limits, the transfer never bleeds out, but always remains clean and detailed. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is similarly unimpeachable. It's a reference-quality A/V package to show off your system. This fully-loaded collector's edition also offers a great set of features.

Several new bonus features grace the Blu-ray edition, including a Digital Copy on a second disc. Aside from My Scenes bookmarking and a BD-Live hookup, you''ll find three U-Control features and two featurettes. In U-Control, there's an Animated Anecdotes trivia track, a Tech Specs option for stats on the hot rods and a tally of insurance damages (!) as the film proceeds, and a Picture-in-Picture track compiling more interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.

"Fast Females" (7:54, HD) interviews Jordana Brewster; professional race car driver Verena Mai; Michelle Rodriguez; directors Rob Cohen, John Singleton, and Justin Lin; Eva Mendes; Devon Aoki; and Nathalie Kelley, as the female characters of the four films get profiled.

In "Hollywood Impact" (13:22, HD), film critic Leonard Maltin and Time Magazine columnist Joel Stein put the franchise in the context of earlier hot-rod movies and our cultural need for speed. Also on hand with comments are Cohen, stunt coordinator/2nd unit director Terry J. Leonard, Petersen Automotive Museum information and marketing manager Chris Brown. Part of the picture are Universal properties American Graffiti, Back to the Future, Smokey and the Bandit, Knight Rider, Magnum P.I., Miami Vice, The Blues Brothers, Animal House, and the Bourne films.

The Blu-ray also compiles most of the bonus features from previous DVD issue, including a feature commentary with director John Singleton. The "Prelude to 2 Fast 2 Furious" (6:12, SD) is an "electrifying short film" bridging the original film to its sequel. Editor Bruce Cannon and Singleton introduce the "Deleted Scenes" (6:06, SD). Also included is a reel of "Outtakes" (2:43, SD).

"Shifting Gears: The Making of 2 Fast 2 Furious" (10:02, SD) is a standard-issue EPK-style featurette with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Devon Aoki, and Ludacris. "Actor Driving School" (6:38 with "Play All," SD) presents footage of Walker, Gibson, and Aoki getting trained behind the wheel, along with interviews with the talent and their instructors.

"For entertainment puposes only," "Tricking Out a Hot Import Car" (3:21, SD) has host 2002 Plaboy Playmate of the Year Dalene Kurtis get a how-to lesson from The Fast and the Furious technical advisor Craig Lieberman. It's an abbreviated version of a twenty-minute featurette on the Fast and the Furious disc.

"Supercharged Stunts" (5:28, SD) finds Singleton, special effects supervisor Al Desario, and visual effects supervisor Michael Wassel discussing the stunts and trick shots in the film. "Making Music with Ludacris" (4:59, SD) goes behind the scenes of Ludacris' video "Act the Fool" with Ludacris, Singleton, Walker, Aoki and Mendes.

"Actor Spotlights" (6:58 with "Play All" option, SD) profile Gibson, Walker, and Aoki. "Car Spotlights" (9:15 with "Play All" option, SD) take closer looks at The Spyder, The Evo VII and The $2000 with Lieberman. "Furious Afterburners" (3:23 with "Play All option, SD) are two more deleted scenes.

Review gear:
Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer

Share this review:
Share/bookmark: del.icio.us Digg Facebook Fark Furl Google Bookmarks Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Yahoo! My Web Permalink Permalink
Sponsored Links