You recognize that 2 Fast 2 Furious is a sequel to The Fast and the Furious because of all of the twos in the title. If you don’t know going in, you’d be surprised to learn that Vin Diesel, the star of the first film and the one who really carried it, has not returned this time around. We’re left with Paul Walker, reprising his role as former LAPD Officer Brian O’Conner. That’s a shame, in large part because Walker’s character was one of the least interesting things about the first Fast and the Furious, and also because Paul Walker just isn’t very good.
At least he’s given a fun sidekick in the name of Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson). Roman, currently on house arrest — although what does that mean when your house is a trailer? — is told that his record will be wiped clean if he helps Brian to bring down our villain, Carter (Cole Hauser), a drug lord who cannot be brought down by the local cops because … who cares? Along with Evan Mendes, who is working undercover and has been for almost a year, the pair has to gain his trust and then make a delivery for him which will allow the cops to place him and illegally obtained money together.
Does that sound too complicated? How about when that delivery involves a fifteen minute window granted by a corrupt cop threatened with a rat, which ends up in a police chase instantly anyway, and what’s probably the most crowded intentional traffic jam in film history. It doesn’t make a lick of sense when all’s said and done, but at least I could see that a plot was attempted. At least it wasn’t like the first film where a plot was ignored so we could stare at shiny cars.
Don’t get me wrong, I kind of enjoyed looking at all of the cars, but if you wanted some substance in your film, the first Fast and the Furious wasn’t for you. I’m not sure if this one is, either, but there’s more of an attempt at having some, which I appreciated. As a whole film, I think 2 Fast 2 Furious is worse, largely because of the car races and chases, but at least this one element has been improved just a tad.
As for the car sequences, they’re not anywhere near as enjoyable this time around. I don’t know if this was the case, but it seemed like there was a lot more noticeable CGI this time around, and the chases seemed fake as a result. You’d see these actors doing their best “I’m a race car driver” impression from inside the car, and then when we went outside, it felt as if their face was edited into the car. It didn’t feel to me as if these people were inside these fast-moving vehicles, which is the most basic type of immersion necessary for a film like this.
I wasn’t often thrilled, as I didn’t feel as if these people were in any danger. The method used in order to show us that these people are in these steel death traps took me out of the film, and really hampered my enjoyment. Not having Vin Diesel doesn’t help, as Paul Walker can’t carry the film and Tyrese Gibson only helps a smidgen, but my general lack of enjoyment came primarily from the lack of immersion from all of the scenes involving cars moving at very fast speeds.
There probably wouldn’t be much of a problem if, say, these types of scenes weren’t focused on so heavily, but like Fast and the Furious before it, cars are front and center in almost every scene. Once again, if you’re a car fanatic you’ll probably get more out of this than someone like me who is happy with anything that moves and is fairly fuel efficient. But these cars move really fast and look very nice — I promised myself not to call them “pretty,” although that’s still the word I’d like to use — so some audience members will be pleased at the eye-candy.
The soundtrack began to irritate me this time around. I don’t like the kind of music that was in 2 Fast 2 Furious, and I started to become tired of it. During these chase scenes, I felt like I should just plug my ears and just watch the visuals. It’s the same type of rap and hip-hop songs that were in The Fast and the Furious, and I guess I just grew tired of it. If you like that kind of music, you’ll be happy with the film’s soundtrack, but if you’re not, you might want to get ready for some pain.
I was surprised by how much of the supporting cast got time to — not develop — exist. There are some fairly recognizable names in the supporting cast, and it would have been nice to see more of some of them. For instance, Devon Aoki plays Brian’s girlfriend, Ludacris plays an ex-racer, and James Remar is a customs agent. They’re all given no development, even if they’re on-screen more often than you might expect.
2 Fast 2 Furious at least has a bit of a plot. That’s more you can say about the last installment, all since the part with the most potential — the car races — is far less exciting, the film suffers quite a lot and doesn’t wind up being as enjoyable as its predecessor. The soundtrack bugged me, the races were boring and didn’t immerse, and the actors were boring and uninspired. Nobody gets any time to develop, and if you’re not either a big fan of the first flick or a major car fanatic, you can probably go without seeing 2 Fast 2 Furious.