ninth symphony films - movie reviews

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001)


DIRECTOR  -  rob cohen

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  action

LENGTH  -  106 minutes

RELEASED  -  22 june 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  universal pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  fast and furious

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $38,000,000
the fast and the furious - a shot from the film

BUY THE DVD:

buy the dvd from the fast and the furious at amazon.com

buy the dvd from the fast and the furious at amazon.com


SYNOPSIS:
a rookie cop goes undercover, posing as a racing team member, in order to investigate a jewelry heist. managing to ingratiate himself with to the team's leaders at first, he finds himself in jeopardy when the other members begin to suspect an imposter within their ranks, setting the stage for an exciting, climactic showdown.




MOVIE FACT:
working titles for the movie included "redline" and "race wars" before it was to be finally called "the fast and the furious."


MOVIE FOTOS:

picture from the fast and the furious

picture from the fast and the furious

picture from the fast and the furious



RATING:


two out of four possible stars

"An undercover cop in Los Angeles must infiltrate a gang of surfers suspected of robbing banks during the summer"

Sound familiar? Now try this: "an undercover cop in Los Angeles must infiltrate a gang of street racers suspected of high-jacking big rigs during high speed chases"

These plots sound pretty similar, don't they? Well, one movie starred Keanu Reeves and the other one stars Paul Walker. And dude, Walker even sounds like Reeves's surfer dude cop with his So-Cal accent. Perhaps that's because walker was born in Glendale, California. But I don't know where Keanu got that surfer accent that seems to pop up in all his films. He was born in Lebanon. In any case, although the basic plot structures from both films are almost the same, The Fast and the Furious holds its own as a great action flick, that has a bit more punch than the usual mindless summer blockbuster fare.

There's admittedly not a supreme amount of delving into the inner workings of the main characters' lives, but there really doesn't need to be a whole lot of that. Because this film takes off at a 100 miles an hour from the very beginning and it doesn't stop even for the credits. It's strange though, because the film strikes a decent balance between the action sequences and the down time. and neither part of the film is too long. The scenes where cars are running around the streets at a hundred miles an hour aren't too long and drawn out, but the scenes where there's no racing are not overly long either. It's hard for a film to acquire the right balance between the two, but this film takes care of that with no problem.

And most of the cast is pretty good too. You shouldn't go looking for performances worthy of a Tony award, but everyone in this film is worth rooting for. Namely, Vin Diesel's character of "Dominic Toretto." He plays the classic anti-hero (akin to Patrick Swayze's character of "Bohdi" in that other film). Vin does a more than decent job portraying a man who has his family and friends to support. He does so by fixing up Honda civics and Toyota Supras (among other cars) and racing them on the streets of Los Angeles. Joining him are his sister, "mia," played by Jordana Brewster and girlfriend "Letty," played by Michelle Rodriguez.

Both Mia and Letty race in the film and this has to be the aspect of the movie that drew me to the theater during its opening weekend. How often do you see the ladies get behind the wheel of an action thriller to kick some butt? (another pun, no less) Both Jordana and Michelle play their respective characters with a great deal of power and control. Of course, that doesn't stop the film from ending with a duel between the men. They all end that way, don't they? But hey, I really didn't mind. At least this film is a step in the right direction. Put a few shotguns into the hands of the women (think Linda Hamilton here).

Still another aspect of this film that was entertaining was the over-abundance of peripheral characters. Sometimes a large cast can bog down a film and make it complicated and hard to understand, but in this case, this film really benefited from a large variety of characters and personalities. From the comic relief friend to the Spanish and Asian racers, the film really encompasses the world of street racing and makes it realistic and engaging. The only reason why this film is not receiving a perfect grade is because the main character, the protagonist, was just a little bit weak. Paul Walker just can't headline the film. Vin Diesel is too strong a personality and overpowers Walker's character. And even the women are a little stronger than walker.

And Walker just has too much of that surfer thing goin on. He's supposed to be playing this wannabe FBI agent and he just doesn't always cut it. His "goofy boy" personality fits most of the situations, but his character isn't always consistent. Sometimes he's the funny sounding freshmen of street racing, and at other times he's completely in control of the situation. And this isn't a transformation either. He goes back and forth from goofy to manly all throughout the film. It's kind of annoying. But hey, every film can't be perfect. One other thing that was kind of funny was this phrase that was said and repeated a few times during the film.

Vin's character says "I live my life one quarter mile at a time." Ordinarily, this phrase would be kind of cool. It's concise, it describes the character's philosophy in life. It's a good phrase. But the fact that it's said more than once makes it corny. And you can't have corny in a film where most of the subject matter is serious. Even the first time Vin said the phrase, I could hear a few chuckles in the theater. But then, it's said again. And that just makes it plain corny. This is definitely a film you want to see on the big screen though. It has a tremendous amount of energy and momentum. And it's not too long either. You'll be in and out of the theater in less than two hours and you won't feel like anything's missing. Grab a date and a huge bucket of popcorn.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.


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