2 Fast 2 Furious
review by Cynthia
Fuchs, 6 June 2003
knew? Tyrese has got jokes. As parolee Rome Pierce, seeming sidekick
to Paul Walker's bland blondie hero in 2 Fast 2 Furious, he's
easily the most entertaining object in sight. That is, aside from
the superduperstudlyspectacular cars, all shiny, noisy, and wicked
Singleton's $100 million sequel knows what it is and, no small
thing, appreciates its revved-up viewers: it's comprised of a series
of elegant, SF-looking, beautifully stun-driven and edited races,
one after another; all are more ingenious than the CGI-ed
tumbling-crashfest in The Matrix Reloaded. Each includes a
special little twist, a trick that makes it extra-clever and woo-ha:
at the end of one, the racers speed up to fly off a daringly lifted
bridge; in another, one car careens between a couple of stubborn
18-wheelers; and in another, well, Tyrese makes his first appearance
in a "Speedway" contest, smashing all contenders with his
tank of a car, painted so it has barracuda teeth grinning on its
grill. Too funky.
this self-awareness gives 2 Fast an admirable -- and
admittedly surprising -- edge over Rob Cohen's original, which, if
you recall, took itself too soapy-seriously. Brian's mooning over
Derek Jeter's one-time girl was so soulful and all those betrayals
were such drama. Equally unmissed here is Vin Diesel, then Mr.
Breakout, now Mr. Priced Out of Part Two. Brian this time is looking
leaner, and his minimalist backstory is that he was fired for
letting Dominic/Vin walk away at the end of the first film (come
again: the LAPD kicked his ass out for a moral breach, only one of 2
Fast's insidey japes).
as the new film opens, Bri's living on a houseboat and street racing
in Miami for food money, hooked up by local gearhead Tej (Ludacris,
who gets bonus points just for making Bill O'Reilly's hate-list).
This first magnificent race introduces a few other racers who must,
of course, eat Brian's dust, including Suki (model Devon Aoki), with
brilliant pink car and hotpantsed pit crew, whose major function
appears to be looking cute in chaps. Post-race, the kiddies all
scatter in order to get Brian in position with a slew of feds,
headed by uptight Agent Markham (James Remar). They need drivers to
infiltrate the inner circle of Big Bad Dealer Verone (Cole Hauser
with too much tanning makeup). (Just why Big Bad Dealer needs
drivers who go really fast and cause mayhem is not exactly clear,
but it's not exactly important either.)
he's got pages of charges arrayed against him (enough to send him to
prison for real time), Brian agrees to the plan, but insists on
bringing in his homeboy for the requisite tag-teaming. Hooray for
ridiculousness and for Singleton's obvious affection for Tyrese
(with whom he worked to terrific effect on Baby Boy): Brian
goes to find Rome at the aforementioned Speedway Jamboree, whereupon
they display their history via a brief spate of macho posing and
tussling, providing entertainment for Brian's infinitely patient
watcher, brought back from Round One, Agent Bilkins (Thom Barry),
and setting up their ostensible friction: Rome's a smalltime
offender currently compromised by a lo-jack, and Brian's a cop...
even if he isn't anymore.
brings appropriate rage, outstanding musculature, and welcome comedy
to the proceedings, calling out bulky thugs as "Fonzie"
and "Fabio," stuffing fast food in his mouth because, as
he notes, he might be headed back to prison where the food sucks,
and besides, doctor told him he's "got a high metabolism."
All this delivered with first-rate timing and endearing humility,
along with a sense of irony -- all more interesting than anything
his wifty-boy partner offers. On being hired by Big Bad Dealer,
Rome's first move is to ask for some food, 'cause "We
twofer driving routines entail the expected bonding rituals:
reciprocal rescues, joint booty ogles, simultaneous whooping behind
their wheels. As their first wrastling in the dirt scene suggests,
these boys love each other lots; yes, Brian's the white boy wonder
around whom all the drivers of color gather to beat the systems --
Verone's overtly corrupt one as well as the law-and-order one -- but
who knows. Maybe next time out, Brian's gone and Rome and Tej have
it going on.
main reason this seems possible is that Brian is less attentive to
the boy-boy-action that powers buddy films (especially interracial
buddy films) than he might be. Sure the guys are straight, but they
also appreciate one another's skills and beauty. They say they grew
up and "played in the dirt" together, but they're from
different planets, which makes their friendship all the more
charming (if implausible). When Rome strips off his shirt during one
action scene, Brian calls it his "blouse," so
delightfully. They have a rhythm. So it's that much more
disappointing when Brian loses his head. As Rome points out, Brian
-- his bro -- is repeatedly distracted by the nearest dark-haired
this case, it's Monica (Eva Mendes), a vivacious fed undercover with
Verone's operation. She and Brian have history (not exactly clear
how), and he frets that she's "sleeping with the enemy,"
which she is. The nastiest moment evolving from their dancing around
each other comes at the behest of a jealous Verone, who forces the
boys to watch while h has Monica participate in the ingeniously
harsh torture of a scuzzy local detective they're plying for
cooperation. As Brian and Rome wince and grimace, girlfriend applies
herself, and this, more than anything else, makes Rome wonder if
maybe his boy has his priorities skewed. You know he does. Rome's
where the action is.
Gary Scott Thompson
PG-13 - Parents
Some material may
for children under 13.