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Tuesday
Mar312009

Fast & Furious

What does it take to create a new movie in Hollywood these days? Evidently, you just drop the article. The Fast and The Furious is now simply Fast and Furious. In the film, Paul Walker plays a cop who goes undercover and races cars to take down a bad guy and Vin Diesel plays a hot headed criminal who kicks ass and takes names. If that sounds familiar, it's because it is. This fourth entry in the franchise bares so many similarities to the original that it will be hard to create a distinction between the two upon reflection.

With that said, this new installment is the best yet. I'll admit straight up, I'm not a car person. I never have been and I never will be. You can trick your ride out as much as you want. To me, it's still just a car. Perhaps this contributed to my general distaste for this series. I saw the first two, disliked them both and never bothered with the third one. But Fast and Furious is a fun popcorn flick that surprised me on many levels and yes, I am recommending it.

And here's why. The movie is loaded to the brim with stellar stunt sequences. The car chases and crashes are simply phenomenal. They were exhilarating to watch and I was very impressed at the level of preparation that went into them. The story is preposterous, but there's no denying how fun the film is. Sure, there's a secret garage door disguised as the side of a mountain with a path winding through that allows people to cross the Mexican-American border, but why argue semantics when the racing and stunts are this entertaining to watch?

If I have one crack against those scenes, it would have to be that they relied a bit too much on CGI. It's a car movie with racing, action and crashes, so give it to me in all its glory. Don't try to spice it up with CGI. The computer graphics were too prominent in the film and detracted a lot from the otherwise thrilling car chases.

I also wasn't a fan of the "baditude" the characters were trying to show off. The film was loaded with shots of characters standing around with their arms crossed gazing just off camera giving the death stare to a nearby enemy. The film's attempt to act "hardcore" was way too prevalent. The problem is that the film isn't nearly as hardcore as it thinks it is.

Fast and Furious didn't fare much better when focusing on its car-centric humor. Too many jokes were of the "your car sucks and mine is better" variety. In real life, these types of jokes are told by narrow-minded individuals who use them to mask their insecurities. After all, it's only a car. In the film, it was supposed to be cool, playing in to this chauvinistic mindset and it didn't work. It was merely a reminder of how pretentious those people are.

Even with those problems, I've got to hand it to the film for giving me just enough excitement to push my opinion in its favor. Being a non-fan of the franchise, and considering that this new entry is practically a replica of the previous films, I was teetering in the middle for the longest time. But in the end, Fast and Furious wins out thanks to some good performances and breathtaking stunt work that had me glued to the screen throughout.

Fast and Furious receives 3/5

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