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2 Fast 2 Furious (12A)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Inside 2 Fast 2 Furious; Actors Driving School; Supercharged Stunts, Supercharged Scenes; Making music with Ludacris; Outtakes; Deleted scenes; Tricking Out a Hot Import car; Actor spotlight; Car spotlights; Prelude to 2 Fast 2 Furious; Feature commentary; DVD-ROM features. Animated anecdotes.

IF the Summer is all about brainless movies which provide plenty of eye candy without much else, then 2 Fast 2 Furious fits the bill perfectly.

Loud, energetic and hopelessly stupid, this brash sequel to Rob Cohen's sleek original arrives in a cloud of tyre smoke and disappears just as quickly, leaving nothing substantial in between.

Set some time after the events of the Vin Diesel vehicle, the movie finds Paul Walker's disgraced former cop, Brian O'Connor, now making a living for himself on the street racing circuit in Florida.

His past catches up with him, however, when the Feds offer him the chance to clear his record if he helps to infiltrate the elusive world of Miami-based drug dealer, Carter Verone (Cole Hauser).

Though reluctant, at first, O'Connor then teams up with his childhood friend, and now ex-con, Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), in a bid to bring Verone down, hooking up with a beautiful undercover agent (Eva Mendes' Monica Fuentes), who may have switched sides.

Given that The Fast and the Furious was, in itself, a pale imitation of Point Break, and that 2 Fast 2 Furious is, stripped bare, a pale imitation of a pale imitation, you have to ask yourself what is the point...

But then John Singleton's movie was made with only one thing in mind - raising the stakes in the action levels, and it is during the driving sequences that the film really comes alive.

Opening with a ridiculously OTT street race, the movie then takes the format of a computer game (such as Driver or Grand Theft Auto) by setting its protagonists a number of high-speed tasks to be completed before either the cops close in, or Verone runs out of patience.

And for the most part, such sequences are largely fun, even if they do ultimately descend into the type of stunts that The Dukes of Hazard would be proud of.

The problems really begin when the engines stop and the talking starts, which is where Michael Brandt and Derek Haas' script is really exposed for what it is - utter drivel.

Singleton's direction, too, is so obsessed with playing up the eye candy that he seems to forget about providing any characters worth caring about - hence, the likes of Walker, Gibson and Mendes (especially) look good, without really doing anything.

Walker, in particular, is sold short, turning in a hopelessly bland hero whose vocabulary largely consists of the word, 'bro', while Gibson seems content to act rebellious, without any of the mean streak that Vin Diesel brought to the original.

In fact, as cliched as this next line might sound, without Diesel, 2 Fast 2 Furious seems curiously short on gas when it comes to anything other than the driving.

But then that is probably what the audiences are paying to see, and Singleton's action sequences are as slick as any of the gear changes he frequently focuses on.

A chase halfway through, in which a group of thugs are asked to race towards a package, is particularly thrilling, as is the finale involving hundreds of vehicles, while the hip-hop laden soundtrack provides a suitably rousing score.

Go in with your brain in neutral, and you're likely to have some fun with it, but anyone expecting something a little bit more for their money should steer well clear.

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