Two years ago, Rob Cohen's The Fast and the Furious tapped into a subculture of gearheads and speed freaks as it transformed Vin Diesel and Paul Walker into overnight sensations. Its $145 million domestic gross guaranteed a sequel, even after Vin hit the brakes on his involvement.
Not surprisingly, Diesel's presence is missed in John Singleton's lame 2 Fast 2 Furious. Seriously, did anyone leave the first Furious wondering what happened to Walker's cardboard cutout cop character? If anything, the sequel should've tracked down Diesel's gruff-and-tumble Dominic Toretto, who sidestepped the long arm of the law after proving his loyalty to Walker's undercover officer, Brian O'Conner.
But instead of Toretto, 2 Fast catches up with the unleaded O'Conner, who has been kicked to the curb by the LAPD and now earns spending cash blowing the doors off of Miami street racers. Arrested one evening after a high-speed pavement dance, O'Conner receives the proverbial "one last chance." His criminal record will be wiped clean if he helps take down a powerful drug trafficker (Cole Hauser). O'Conner's game, but he'll only ride with one man: his childhood friend and all-around stellar driver, Roman Pearce (Tyrese).
Excruciatingly predictable, 2 Fast does occasionally scratch our adrenaline itch. Miami's skyline shimmers, the souped-up vehicles tremble, and the scantily-clad females jiggle in all the right places. No plot? No worries! This is mindless cinema for the attention-impaired. The cinematography stays bright and shiny, which helps 2 Fast resemble a spinning top. And like a top, it comes to a halt every few minutes, topples over, and needs to be spun again.
The problem is that for the sake of the "plot," several scenes must occur outside of the muscle cars, and its here that 2 Fast loses its audience. Not that Singleton's reinventing the wheel when it comes to car chases (he's not), but the minute Walker and Tyrese leave the driver's seat, a combination of silly dialogue and wooden performances usher this production into the impound lot.
Buoyant and uncompromising, Tyrese is a welcome addition, even if he musters only half the screen presence Diesel provided. Walker's the real disappointment. Somehow, he has actually devolved as an actor from the first Furious to now. His polished image screams "underwear model," not "street-tough cop." He brings no enthusiasm, and actually drains energy from select scenes.
Then there's the title. I understand the link to the original, and the use of the number two. Still, I'd have gone with 2 Loud 2 Obnoxious, or 2 Ridiculous 2 Unnecessary. Either would describe this low-octane mess to a tee. Allow me to throw one more "two" onto the fire, when I award 2 Fast a well-deserved two-star rating.
DVD extras include deleted scenes, outtakes, a commentary from Singleton, various featurettes, and 30% more hair on Mendes. There's also a slightly silly "prelude" to the film, which explains a bit about what happened between Fast and 2 Fast... in about 4 minutes.