Release: June 6, 2003
by Kevin Lang
2001's "The Fast and the Furious" was an unexpected hit that has deservedly spawned a sequel. Universal's "2 Fast 2 Furious," directed by John Singleton ("Boyz in the Hood," "Higher Learning"), again hit the pavement for high stakes street racing.
The main character from the original, Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker), returned as an ex-undercover cop. Shortly into the film, Brian was busted for street racing. While in custody, he was recruited by the FBI to catch a notorious Miami criminal named Carter Verone (Cole Hauser), who was attempting to escape the country with a large stash of money. Carter needed drivers to help him execute his plan, and this was where Brian came in. Brian was to take a partner undercover and become part of Carter's crew. Brian needed a knowledgeable partner to work with, and he requested his old friend Roman Pearce (Tyrese), who had just been recently released from jail. The only problem was that Roman had blamed Brian for his imprisonment.
The interaction between the film's stars, Paul Walker and model/singer/actor Tyrese, was enjoyable to watch, and it provided for much of the film's humor, an aspect that wasn't as prevalent in the original. This isn't to say that "2 Fast 2 Furious" was a better movie. It just unfolded with a less serious tone than the original, like comparing Lethal Weapon I and II to Lethal Weapon III and IV.
The opening forty minutes of the film, which included two street races, one with a drawbridge jump and the other with an unforgettable accident, was the most entertaining portion of the film, other than Carter Verone's creative method of torture involving a rat, a bucket, a lighter, and the stomach of an acquaintance. If you're confused, let me ruin your next meal. Carter placed the bucket over the rat, which was on the man's stomach. He then used a lighter to light the welding torch to heat the metal bucket. The rat had nowhere to go except to begin to eat his way through the man's... Okay, I'm sure you get it by now.
The latter half of the film had the same humor as the first half, but it lacked the eye-opening driving sequences that the film started with. The best sequences ended early with a Mustang getting run over by the back wheels of a semi. Shortly after this point, the film began to lose its hold on me. Certain parts were still entertaining, but there wasn't enough at risk for me to feel very involved in what was unfolding. It was like a magician who starts his act by getting sawed in half and closes it by pulling a rabbit out of a hat. The biggest fireworks went off too early.
In the end, "2 Fast 2 Furious" was a film whose level of excitement eventually leveled off. It took us for a ride, but it never dropped the hammer to let the intensity burn on all cylinders. Instead, I felt stuck in cruise control wishing that I could go faster. Regardless, I still left the theater with that itch to get behind the wheel.
"2 Fast 2 Furious" Review written June 5, 2003, CTF.
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