2 Fast 2 Furious
It seems only appropriate that a series possessed of such impenetrable chronological order should be seen out-of-sequence. I had previously watched 1, 4 and 5. The third film, Tokyo Drift, takes place (at present, with the fifth sequel due out this summer) sixth. I know, in a series about fast cars, and tight asses. How did this ever come to be?
There’s little help in understanding from this, the first sequel. Towering, taciturn, shiny-domed Vin Diesel is absent from the proceedings, with little inkling at this point what a monster the series would become. The poor, deluded fool still had high hopes for Riddick (oh, wait, he still does!) So he leaves it to the blandly dependable Paul Walker to return as (now ex-) cop Brian O’Connor (the name reeks of excitement, doesn’t it?) The most interesting thing about Walker (apart from making one great movie where he has leading man duties, Running Scared) is that he has Albanian heritage. Just don’t tell Liam Neeson.
Walker’s joined for a bit of homoerotic auto-lust by Tyrese Gibson (as Roman Pearce) for a bit more undercover work. Tyrese would return for Fast Five (and the upcoming 6). Walker’s event organiser and go-to-guy is Ludacris, who has now also ratcheted up three films. As I count it, Walker and Vin come out on top with five movies each (although one of Vin’s is little more than a cameo).
So how does 2 Fast justify its existence? It doesn’t, really. At the behest of the police, Bryan and Roman must work undercover to arrest drug dealer Carter Verone (Cole Hauser, with boot polish in his hair). There’s also another narc, Eva Mendes, who has gone deep, deep cover. Cue lots of car chases and crashing shit. And shit.
John Singleton directs like a man ashamed that he was once nominated for an Oscar. His work is serviceable, but utterly anonymous. There’s no point analysing this for plot logic or character development; that would be crazy. Suffice to say, Hauser is the best thing in the film and they could do worse than stage a return spot for him in Fast 7. There is an inventive torture scene involving a rat and a rubbish bin, also an OTT stunt at the climax that is rightly compared to Dukes of Hazzard. But, that and James Remar’s dickish customs agent aside, this is persuasively unmemorable.