ninth symphony films - movie reviews

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (2003)

DIRECTOR  -  john singleton

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  action

LENGTH  -  107 minutes

RELEASED  -  6 june 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  universal pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  2 fast 2 furious

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $76,000,000
2 fast 2 furious - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from 2 fast 2 furious at

buy the dvd from 2 fast 2 furious at

officer o'conner, stripped of his badge, is recruited to infiltrate the miami street racing circuit.

universal studios had two different scripts commissioned. the first script featured vin diesel's character while the second script did not in case he decided not to return.


picture from 2 fast 2 furious

picture from 2 fast 2 furious

picture from 2 fast 2 furious


two out of four possible stars

The originality of any film is decreased somewhat in a sequel, and it's usually an unreasonable request to ask that filmmakers attempt to improve upon or make a product equal to the strength of the original. And whereas the first film in the Fast and Furious duology had the strength of originality on its side, the sequel has retained only about seventy percent of what the original had to offer. But because these two films are not so unlike one another that comparisons between the two would seem unfair (as with a remake, perhaps), this film was made with the first one in mind.

What is successful about the picture is the speed at which it hurtles out of the gate. What is disappointing is the speed at which it concludes. After several awe-inspiring car chases, the film ends with a stunt which isn't nearly as exciting as it should be. The "bad guy" gets his due, but the "good guys" don't really get to clash sufficiently for a satisfying conclusion. Part of what makes an action film an entertaining experience is seeing good triumph over evil. Viewers need to come away from the theater having experienced a palpable, visceral reaction to the story on the screen, and the ending of 2 Fast 2 Furious just doesn't pack a hard enough punch.

And there is the nagging question as to whether Paul Walker has any real acting ability. Perhaps he's just not honed his craft sufficiently, but it's a good thing Tyrese Gibson, who made an impressive debut in Baby Boy, was there on the screen with Walker for much of the film. While it's doubtful Tyrese himself could anchor a film on his own, he adds enough weight to the duo to make the audience forget that Vin Diesel isn't on the screen. And while Diesel himself has questionable acting ability, it's more the presence of that actor that made the first film so electric.

It's no surprise that actors are chosen for roles based on their looks, rather than their ability (witness 2003's most horrific dramatic turn by brainless beauty Jaime King in Bulletproof Monk), and with 2 Fast 2 Furious, what the casting director saw in each of these actors was doubtless more important than what he or she heard. But disparaging the performances of Walker and Gibson really go beyond what kind of criticism this movie can handle. After all, it's simply a classic type shoot-em-up bonanza, just with cars instead of guns (though just about everybody is packing).

Perhaps the aspect of this film which should be focused upon is the technical wizardry of the cinematographer and editor. Working in tandem to create some of the highest-flying racing sequences to hit the screen this year, it's easy to get caught up in the action when there are a dozen vehicles slamming down the road at 130 miles per hour. And while the film does stop a few times for "heart to heart" talks between Walker and Gibson's characters (they play best friends who last parted as enemies), the adrenaline in the picture is quite high for most of the film's respectable 100 minute running time. Interestingly enough, if the film had extended much beyond where it ended up, the filmmakers would have really dropped the ball as the speed just slowed down too much by the closing credits.

By ending the film when they did, one of two things occurred. Either they ran out of money to create a truly satisfying and exciting climax sequence or they just ran out of ideas. Either way, it's a good thing the film isn't longer, or there would have had to have been some major "tuning up" of events. As it is, director John Singleton should be thankful for his talented special effects team and the editor that brought the whole piece together. I don't know how much involvement Singleton had in the editing of the film, but during the action sequences, the editing is what makes the film ride so smoothly. While certain films benefit from longer cuts and a focus on what's going on inside the frame, half of what makes 2 Fast exciting is the number of edit cuts in each sequence.

With entertaining supporting cast, which includes Eva Mendes as an undercover cop, Cole Hauser as the bad guy (sporting an accent that weaves in and out of its ability to be convincing), and a very at ease and entertaining Ludacris, as a local Miami street-racer, the production has enough comedy and action to fill most of the screen time. Fans of the first film should be impressed with most of the racing sequences, and those audience members not familiar with the first film will not suffer for having not seen the original as this film lays everything on the table as simply as it can. Counting on the success of the original and using the same formula, 2 Fast is a film which can only be described as "expected." It won't knock your socks off, but it's not a complete waste of time. Just make sure you're a fan of the genre if you buy a ticket.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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