Main cast: Vin Diesel (Dominic Toretto), Paul Walker (Brian O’Conner), Michelle Rodríguez (Leticia “Letty” Ortiz), Jordana Brewster (Mia Toretto), David Park (Ron Yuan), Laz Alonso (Fenix Calderon), Gal Gadot (Gisele Yashar), Sung Kang (Han), and John Ortiz (Arturo Braga)
Director: Justin Lin
Fast & Furious makes an excellent apology for that… thing… called The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. This movie takes place before that aberration, so I guess even the film people want to forget that it ever existed.
This one opens with an excellent seat-edger heist involving Dominic Toretto, his girlfriend Letty, some dude named Han Seoul-oh (the coolest dude from that last movie) and their friends. This is a great way to remind me that the magic is back. Bring on the fast cars and crap, people! If you watch this, I hope you aren’t doing so solely for Michelle Rodriguez, though. Her character dies off screen shortly into the movie. No, that’s not a spoiler, that’s a public service announcement from yours truly!
At any rate, after the opening scene in which Dom and his friends are doing their thing – hijacking and stealing fuel tankers in the Dominican Republic, they soon discover that the cops are on to them. Dom is their target. They all go their separate ways, and Dom leaves Letty in the middle of the night. For her own good, of course, because that’s what they all say. We then cut to three months later, when Dom learns from his sister Mia that Letty was murdered. Oops. Letty was back in the USA, reconnecting with Mia, when she died, so Dom heads back to look into the matter and get some justice for Letty. It’s not long before he is reunited with Brian, who has been recruited into the FBI and is now looking to nab a drug lord, Arturo Braga. It’s not long before the two learn that they are looking for the same guy. Unfortunately, they don’t trust one another due to leftover issues from The Fast and the Furious, so they compete with one another for the most part. Can they ever put aside their differences and be bros again?
You know, as fun as the previous outing Brian had on his own, it feels so right when he and Dom are reunited again. I didn’t know how much I enjoyed their dorky earnest white kid/streetwise no-nonsense street brawler dynamics until now. On his own, Dom’s apparent invulnerability and omniscience can be insufferable, even laughable at times (such as when he visits the place where Letty died and could “see” the whole thing in his head), but Brian’s goofy enthusiasm and earnestness balance Dom out very nicely. Of course, Dom, Brian, and Mia have issues with one another, so this movie also sees Paul Walker and Vin Diesel trying to emote and failing most entertainingly. That’s okay – I don’t expect anything less, and besides, there is so much fun to be had in this campy over the top movie and the whole “real men can’t emote” thing fits in the movie just perfectly.
And yes, Brian and Dom act so much like ex-boyfriends who hate the fact that they can’t stop bumping into one another, and Brian still wants Dom’s approval so bad that I have to laugh. They even wear matching clothes in a number of scenes. They are so adorable.
And the ending! Normally I would grit my teeth at such a cliffhanger ending, but in this case, YES BABY. BRING IT ON.
Fast & Furious does everything it can to replicate its formula, and it is so adorable that the bromance is alive and well here. The cars are hot, the action scenes are crazy, and the over the top levels of machismo and testosterone are hype. Simply put, I have a great time watching this baby, and the pacing doesn’t let up. There’s not much story here, but when the plot is all about just sitting back and enjoy the show, what’s not to like? Hot cars, hot people, hot fun – we’re back, baby, and about time too!