The Fast and the Furious franchise has had a rough ride since its start in 2001. Following the popularity of the first film, much of the cast and excitement was lost in the sequel, and the third would have been better if it had never been made. Hoping to recreate what was made eight years ago, the franchise got another chance with Fast & Furious. Unfortunately for us, the only things that remain the same besides the title are the four leads and fast cars.
The biggest problem is the uninspired story. The movie begins with Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) stealing fuel tanks from a moving semi in the Dominican Republic. Following this job Dom decides to leave her behind, fearing his notoriety is bringing unwanted risk. Big mistake on his part, because after an unnoted time change he gets a call from his sister informing him of Letty’s death, and the revenge story begins. Which leads us to Brian (Paul Walker), who is now working for the FBI on a case that will cause him to once again cross paths with Dom.
The problem is not the story set up, but rather how it is executed on the whole. While on his path to finding Letty’s killer, there are moments when Dom replays actions in his mind that he could not possibly know happened. First, it happens when he visits the site of her death, and then again later after he crosses the border back into the US from Mexico (more on that later). Now I understand that it could just be a representation of how he imagines it happened, but it came off more like a supernatural moment of telepathy. And then there is Brian. How on Earth does he still have a job? Not only that, but he has actually been promoted to an FBI agent. He has to have one of the worst track records, constantly placing his loyalties with different groups. It just seems unrealistic, as does the romance element. My main problem with this is the romance is very underdeveloped. Sure Brain and Mia (Jordana Brewster) have a history, but it is a shaky one at best. But before you know it she has forgiven him for all he has done and they are making out on the sink. Sure it was nice to give Brewster a little more screen time, but it would have been best to leave this out.
The story suffers because it takes a back seat to the stunts and action. Now I understand these people are supposed to be some of the best drivers in the world, but I cannot believe they are able to pull off most of what they do. Take the opening scene. Sure I could play along for the actual process of stealing the gas from a semi, but it lost me when the explosions start, eventually leading to the tanks tumbling down the hill and over Dom’s car, barely missing it. If it happened once I would have chalked it up to luck, but something like this happens over and over again, whether it be with these tanks, flipping cars, etc. On a similar note, Dom has to move across the border with a group of drivers, which includes Brian. However, because they are carrying drugs they cannot just cross the border at a checkpoint. In order to escape Border Patrol detection, they drive through a tunnel at the base of a mountain range, a feat that seems as if it should only be possible if they were traveling in mine cars. I might have let it slide, but it occurs again later in the film.
At best, Fast & Furious holds some faint comparisons to the movie that started the franchise, but unfortunately for this film, no amount of girl on girl action can detract from how noticeably bad this film is.
Final Grade: D+