Posted on Friday, April 03, 2009 at 06:00 PM
Fast and Furious
By: S. Tran
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster
Directed By: Justin Lin
Running Time: 107 minutes
Running on Fumes
Diesel and Walker are back to collect some fat paychecks in this fourth installment of the urban racing franchise. The trouble is that there are only so many variations of the story you can make before you start repeating yourself. What was fresh and fun in the first couple of movies starts to feel a little tired and repetitive by the time number four comes in.
The film takes place sometime during the events of the previous Fast and Furious which was set in Tokyo. This time Diesel is drawn back to investigate the death of his former girlfriend. Walker has somehow been reinstated as an FBI agent and is trying to bring in a drug dealer who, of course, has some connection with the death of Diesel's woman. None of it really makes a whole lot of sense but for a movie like this you can easily give it a pass as long as it delivers with the cars and the babes.
Unfortunately, the cars are no longer the stars of the show which means the story and the acting have to carry the day, which they can't. While there are a couple of good race sequences in the film (including a fast ride through some underground tunnels which was very well done) it seemed the cars are more of an afterthought. We get a few shots of the usual revving and electronics but there isn't the enthusiasm for the vehicles that we felt in the first few movies.
It was the car culture of the films and the tongue in cheek sense of fun that made the first movie a hit with young audiences. Even if you didn't like number 2 and 3 as much they still retained that goofy sensibility that made them fun popcorn flicks. This movie moves away from those strengths to try and focus on Diesel and Walker. While I understand they may have wanted to do this because fans have been looking forward to the two reuniting the final product doesn't quite work.
Diesel spends much of his time sitting silently on the screen looking pensive or angry or contemplative, sometimes its hard to tell the difference. Walker still has that awkward acting style that makes it seem he is trying to remember his lines whenever you see him on screen. The two have flashes of the same chemistry that worked so well in the first film, but there are not enough of those lighthearted moments to save the movie. The dialogue is also cheesy which would have been fine if the film could have laughed at itself a little. Without the laughs you end up with a movie that's kind of a boring copy of the original.
2 and a half stars out of 5.