In 2001, a little film nobody had heard of blasted into multiplexes and made car-enthusiasts cheer. The film popped the hood on the whole underground world of street-racing and rocketed bouncer-turned-actor Vin Diesel into the stratosphere. The film was The Fast & the Furious and a lot of the movie's success had to do with the keen direction of director Rob Cohen and the charisma of the muscle-bound Diesel. When the sequel to the film was green-lit, the key ingredients fell off the well-oiled machine and left co-star Paul Walker to steer the sequel.
Now in 2003, the sequel minus Diesel and Cohen scurries into theatres. Paul Walker returns as his cop-with-a-conscience Brian O'Connor, who this time teams with his childhood friend Roman Pierce (Tyrese) to clear their cluttered pasts and take down a vicious druglord, Carter Verone (Cole Hauser).
2 Fast 2 Furious had a brilliant beginning and a fresh start in which to build something new and insane at the same time. It could have been a great action film if they would have remembered some of the things that made the original work. Basically, all the screenwriters would have had to do was find a new angle in which to explore the world of "street racing". Instead the screenwriters seem to have watched endless re-runs of Miami Vice and Knight Rider.
The film's opening does bring the audience back to original film and you once more feel the adrenaline rush as O'Connor squares off on the line. But when the opening sequence ends, it is almost like that's where the whole franchise stops. There is very little street-racing in this film and that is one of the major problems. That is what the audience was sold on in the first film.
The second mistake is the film collides into a sort of "cop-buddy" formula that is formed between Tyrese and Walker. Are we making a 48 Hours or Lethal Weapon sequel here, or a The Fast & the Furious one? One of the great things about the original film was the tension and dynamic between Diesel and Walker. Sure they respected each other, but they were never really close until probably the end.
Don't get me wrong, there are some things to like in this film. Tyrese is hilarious and great to watch in this film. I really liked the chemistry between Tyrese and Walker but felt a huge kick of déjà vu. I also liked Paul Walker in the leading man role; it is just too bad that the film doesn't support his ability. Walker has great potential to be a great action star but he needs to find a project that will jettison him into the Hollywood stratosphere.
I was also boggled by how much Cole Hauser reminded me so much of his father, actor Wings Hauser. His look and voice brought forth so many memories. I remember his father from so many of the B-movies I watched when I was in college. Like his son in this film, Wings was a great villain in those films.
I can't say I was bowled over or overly thrilled with 2 Fast 2 Furious, but I was entertained for most of the film. The thing that made me most shake my head at the film was the film's conclusion. What an utter-lack-luster finish! I so felt the audience deserved something more action-filled. I do have one question; did anyone die in this action movie?
Keeping those two points in mind, you do have to wonder if we were watching the pilot to a proposed TV series of a hit film, or a sequel to one of the most original action films in recent years. (2.5 out of 5) So Says The Soothsayer.