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2 Fast 2 Furious - Preview

Preview by: Jack Foley

HAVING surprised many by being one of the hits of 2001, The Fast and the Furious sequel will be looking to repeat the same trick in the summer of 2003, as 2 Fast 2 Furious screeches its way onto UK screens.

The omens don't bode well. For starters, two of the main reasons for the first film's success are missing - director, Rob Cohen, and, more importantly, one of its two stars, Vin Diesel (both opted to pursue the xXx franchise, rather than going down the same road as the fast and the furious).

That said, Paul Walker, who played rookie cop, Brian O'Conner, is back, while the sequel is being directed by John Singleton (who made Boyz N The Hood). It also co-stars the likes of Cole Hauser (who played alongside Vin Diesel in Pitch Black, as well as cropping up in Tigerland), Eva Mendes (of Training Day) and singer Tyrese Gibson.

Singleton, too, remains optimistic that the latest adventure for O'Conner won't be a mere retread of the first film, promising to provide plenty for the characters to get their teeth into, as well as a different direction for Parker.

Yet try as it might, the plot doesn't really sound that different. This time around, O'Conner's disgraced ex-cop teams up with Gibson's ex-con, Roman Pearce, to launder some money for a Miami smuggler, Carter Verone (played by Hauser). Unbeknown to the street-racing crime gang, however, is the fact that O'Conner is actually working with undercover agent, Monica Clemente (Mendes) in a bid to put the brakes on Verone.

Singleton is adamant, however, that audiences will be surprised by what they find, just as he was drawn to the project because 'it's not expected'. He maintains that there will be no 'throwaway performances', claiming that everyone in the film is 'tangible', and he insists that the film will retain its harder edge, despite being geared towards a PG-13 audience in the States (equivalent to a 12A here).

In an interview with the April edition of Total Film, he goes on to compare his main star, Walker, as 'a young Steve McQueen', promising that 'he's going to come up looking totally different in this picture to any other film he's ever done'.

"He's really gotten into the whole thing of being an action star but, at the same time, he's able to convey a whole lot of emotion without saying much," he adds.

Asked whether the challenge of making the sequel presented any pressure, Singleton said that he felt an onus to make 'the coolest movie possible' and claims that one of his goals is to make audiences forget that there even was a first film. He also dismissed any suggestion that the film would suffer without the presence of Diesel, stating that it's more about the 'culture' of street racing than 'just one actor'.

He believes that an integral part of the success of the first film was that it had managed to tap into a culture that hadn't really been exploited since the days of American Graffiti.

Keep clicking these pages to find out the US reaction to the film when it opens...

US reaction

Rather likes its equally braindead predecessor, 2 Fast 2 Furious emerged from the American media as more of a guilty pleasure than a film worth really slating.

There were those who did, however, but the majority seemed to take the view that Singleton's film summed up the dictionary definition of the brainless Summer blockbuster.

Leading the way, therefore, is Entertainment Weekly, which awarded it only a C+, but concluded that 'like its predecessor, 2 Fast 2 Furious has a good-natured and realistic sense of its own junky weightlessness'.

Likewise, the Philadelphia Inquirer, which found that 'the pic is closer to the PlayStation experience of Gran Turismo than to a movie. This is not to say that it isn't fun, only to say that it is more about sensation than sense'.

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that 'nothing says Summer film fun like explosions, guns and cartwheeling cars - and that's all here'.

And Slant Magazine wrote that 'this unabashedly meaningless affair wholeheartedly subscribes to the more-is-better recipe for cinematic second installments'.

More critical, however, were the likes of the New York Times, which wrote that '2 Fast 2 Furious is among the most lethargic action movies I have ever seen: when Mr. Walker and Tyrese are not driving, it might as well be called 2 Slow 2 Tedious'.

And the Washington Post referred to it as 'a kind of Miami Vice with many more carz and numberz where all the adjectives used 2 go'.

The Los Angeles Times was also pretty scathing, stating that 'instead of the multi-everything family that races, parties and thieves together, Singleton unleashes spasms of sadism and innumerable leering shots of girls gone wild, albeit - alas - not behind the wheel'.

While the New York Daily News felt that 'without Diesel, there's not much gas, at least not from the nonvehicular elements'.

And summing up the negative reaction, the Denver Free Press opined: "For the DVD special edition, they might consider removing everything but the races and chases, including its Smokey and the Bandit scramble; fast-forwarding may be just too much effort."

However, back to the positives, and the New York Post referred to it as 'a lark for anyone who's willing to check their brains at the concession stand for 100 minutes'.

Likewise, the Chicago Sun-Times, which wrote that 'it doesn't have a brain in its head, but it's made with skill and style and, boy, is it fast and furious'.

Premiere magazine felt that it was 'pretty enjoyable if you look at it as the B-movie it really ought to be, rather than the E-ticket major studio release it actually is'.

While the Los Angeles Daily News concludes this round-up by stating that 'the movie delivers what it should - cheap thrills - and serves them up with skill and economy'.

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