Monday 13 April 2009

Review: Fast and Furious

Year: 2009
Director: Justin Lin
Screenplay: Chris Morgan
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Joanna Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez

My girlfriend is better at voicing her opinion about film than myself. While I will write a long and pompous blog piece that goes into far too much detail about a film like this. My girlfriend clocked it with one sentence: "Shiny cars, shiny men. I liked it for the cars scenes". I don't know about you but she's right. That's why people go to these movies, the guys look good, the girls look good and everything blows up nice for them.

Unfortunately, I watched the film and I'm pedantic, so quite simply you have a choice: Stop reading now or grin and bare the review. Have you left? Good.

Fast and Furious is a bad 80's (or early 90's) film gussied up as a new one. It's mutton dressed as lamb, it's the girl you go with at the end of the night when you've had too much to drink. Yes the cars roar and yes Joanna Brewster is gorgeous but this film (like her role) is so shallow that they couldn't even up the ante with the main reason people would watch this film: The action.

Another issue with the films forth chapter that sticks in my shoes: Paul Walker. The "actor" has stuck out from the start. Why? Too whitebread for his own good. Everyone who loves the wire will remember the scene in the first series where bubbles points out all the errors with the young cop whose going undercover. Well I'm applying the same issue here. Would anyone believe Paul Walker's character is a street racer? I believe he's a cop in the Benjamin Bratt bad acting kinda way but undercover criminal? No. It's because the films have done a great job with it's surrounding environment. if I'm to believe Paul Walker is a undercover agent DO NOT MAKE EVERY STREET RACER A GRIMY* ETHNIC MINORITY. I say this because Paul Walker sticks out like a sore fucking thumb. The original movie had the character constantly under suspicion and that aspect of the plot carried the character over. Also there was the fact that other characters were also white, although they were white trash over varsity boy.

I'm looking into this far too much, but it makes the Mexican cartel look extremely stupid allowing Paul Walker's character in so easy. But then, Fast and Furious is full of stupid moments. Another example of stupidity is the fact that the FBI has been spotting Vin Diesel's character constantly through the film (and do nothing to capture him) but near the end of the film when we once again escapes they merely assume that he's gone across the boarder and not go back home for any reason at all. Paul Walker's character head to Vin Diesel's house and finds him working on his car. I'm not sure about you but if this guy is wanted so badly by the police, I find it shocking that they don't even bother to search his house, or even talk to his sister. Hell you could have even got another chase out of that somehow.

The film's story is pretty much D.O.A, liberally nabbing ques and lines from older movies and pretending that this is the first time they've ever been placed on celluloid. Add that to the last house on the left dopiness** of most of the characters and you have a recipe of frustration.

But like most films Fast and Furious has good points; despite having some slightly distracting CGI and looking like it's been editing by a hyper active teenage boy on sugar, the film's action set pieces and stunts are nice enough. Fast and Furious works best when the film shows you stunt drivers getting down and dirty in muscle cars. I also have to say if everything was done as well as the awesome opening sequence I would have let more of the movie slide.

The film is also extremely wise on building the story more towards Vin Diesel's character as his presence is so much more engaging than anyone else on screen. After watching the god awful Babylon A.D it's good to see Diesel show he actually has some ability. The less said about Paul Walker the better, while the two female leads (Rodriguez and Brewster) are given as little to do as humanly possible.

But since when has a film like this been about women at all? It's about boys and their toys (read penis extensions). Testosterone flying everywhere, despite actually being quite homoerotic. Like many of the films of the 80's (early 90's) Fast and Furious is out to make a quick buck as quick as possible and scarper because there's nothing to it expect the shiny machinery, which no doubt have thousands of boy racers go a little bit mental after watching the film.

Fast and Furious is nothing more than a shallow money making franchise extender and while I should know that before I get into the cinema, at least it could do itself a favor and at least be fun to sit through.

*Grimy Ethnic Minority I use the term much like I'd use the phase the difference between n****rs and black people. Don't get what I'm talking about? Feel offended? Catch up on your Chris Rock

**Last house on the left featured two of the dumbest characters I've seen in a film