Director Justin Lin has a distinctive thrilling visual style. The opening sequence of his “Fast & Furious” is an amazing adrenaline rush. Dom (Vin Diesel) and his girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) highjack a cargo truck careening down a ravine in the Dominican Republic. Dom, unflinchingly guts out a crazy maneuver that saves himself and Letty from fiery death. This establishes the tone for “Fast & Furious”: extreme and full throttle. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker reunite in this satisfying re-energizing of the franchise. Justin Lin generates spectacular eye candy: strong heroes, slick cars, gorgeous women, intense action, and some to the wildest high speed sequences. The soundtrack is pretty hot, too.
What is interesting: this time around Chris Morgan’s story is about vengeance. What works is the dynamic chemistry of Diesel and Walker. Diesel is not breaking new territory. He plays to his strength as the powerful dark hero, who follows a code of honor. Paul Walker is a pleasant surprise. He infuses a force and charisma in Brian O’Connor. Walker has become a stronger actor since “The Fast and the Furious”. This time around he and Diesel are true screen partners. Theirs is a partnership of friction, brotherhood, and ultimately of respect which grounds “Fast and Furious”. In one scene former girlfriend and Dom’s younger sister Mia (beautiful and strong Jordana Brewster) asks why Brian (Walker) let Dom (Diesel) go 8 years ago. Brian tells Mia it’s because Dom taught him: “Nothing matters unless you have a code.” Brian also confesses that he is still trying to find his own code.
After Dom’s stunt in the Dominican Republic, the authorities are closing in on him. To protect the love of his life, Letty (Rodriguez), he leaves her the money and disappears. However, while in exile Mia breaks the news to Dom that Letty has been murdered back home in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, FBI Agent O’Connor is hunting down the mysterious drug cartel kingpin Baraga, who is able to move large shipments of narcotics across the border with his elite drivers. Brian is also tracking down Dom, who he knows will come back to Los Angeles because of the personal tragedy.
Dom returns home just flying under the FBI radar. He has Mia show him where Letty was killed in a car crash. Dom discerns that Letty was brutally murdered, and that the murderer left a distinguishing signature. Mia pleads with Dom to let this go: this will not bring Letty back. Dom sullenly declared, “It’s already too late.” He intends to kill Letty’s murderer and find the man ultimately responsible. All paths lead to the mysterious Baraga. So Dom and Brian’s destinies collide as they compete as drivers for Baraga’s right hand Campos (slick John Ortiz). That race too, is another spectacular mind blowing ride through the trafficked streets of Los Angeles.
Okay much of “Fast and Furious” is predictable and formulae; however, Justin Lin does so with amazing style and verve. He keeps the action crisp and vibrant. Diesel and Walker are solid heroes to cheer for. Bad guys Campos (Ortiz) and Fenix (ruthless Laz Alonzo) are completely despicable. Jordana Brewster is the right blend of tough and smart as Mia. Surprisingly good is beautiful and enigmatic Gal Gadot as Gisele, who has a soft spot for Dom. “Fast and Furious” is a high speed vengeance tale with charismatic heroes Diesel and Walker. Director Lin keeps our attention with hot cars, hot women, and spectacular stunts. “Fast and Furious” is not going win any awards, but it is thoroughly entertaining.