Director: Rob Cohen
Key Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster.
Five Point Summary:
1. Cars! Ooh, pretty.
2. Michelle Rodriguez scowling.
3. NOS-related shenanigans (also known in wider circles as cheating).
4. Obligatory bit with cops arguing.
5. Vin Diesel’s bald pate.
Despite watching a ridiculous amount of films each year, with the exception of Tokyo Drift (more on that in a forthcoming review), I’ve never seen any of the Fast and Furious movies. My initial reasons for that were mostly due to my general disregard for car culture and my lack of interest in driving in general. Whilst I still don’t have any real affinity for all of that, I can appreciate the films for what they are. As action thrillers go, this was neither particularly action-led nor much of a thriller. The stars here are the vehicles (sorry, Vin), and as a result the story and most of the cast don’t get much of a look in. The only characters who are anything approaching three dimensional are Vin Diesel’s Toretto and Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor, and I think that’s only because the majority of the movie hinges on those two characters. Everyone else, even supposed love interest Jordana Brewster, has very little to do.
It might look like I’ve given this film a low score, but given the “out of 5” rating system I use (thanks for that, Flixster), to rate it any higher would put it alongside films like Jack The Giant Slayer (yep, it’s better than this) or Oz The Great and Powerful. It’s more in line with something like Bullet To The Head or A Good Day To Die Hard – serviceable but nothing special. With that said, it looks nice, the cars look and sound great, and the plot does enough to justify sitting through the entire film. Direction is crisp, but the soundtrack suffers from classic early noughties action movie fatigue, with half the soundtrack taken up by generic “modern” rock/metal tracks. They work relatively well, all things considered, but it’s a bit of a cliche of the genre with 10 years of hindsight. I rather liked the race sequences and that bit where the car blows up in a NOS-related kaboom. With a few tweaks to the script (or maybe even the performances?) I might have cared a bit more about what was going on, but in my eyes at least it’s mostly forgettable. That’s the problem when you watch a film about cars and don’t really have an opinion on them…
It’s not a film I’ll be in any rush to own, and many others have done this story before and in a much better way, but it’s a typically brainless kind-of action film and it’s worth seeing at least once. More so if you’re a fan of the ol’ brum-brums.
Favourite scene: The final truck chase/assault. It didn’t overstay its welcome and was nicely edited.
Quote: “I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters: not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullshit. For those ten seconds or less, I’m free.”
Silly Moment: Chinese chaps fire a ridiculous amount of bullets at Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Chad Lindberg. They only manage to hit the latter (seemingly with one bullet), with the rest of their bullets impotently hitting the grass, shrubs and the car that Chad Lindberg was supposed to give them at the end of an earlier race. Also… did Chad Lindberg’s character die? I don’t think that was established. Meh.