Picks and Pans Review: 2 Fast 2 Furious
With its souped-up cars, pea-brain script and hard-bodied young multiethnic cast, this sequel to 2001's The Fast and the Furious is a popcorn movie drenched with motor oil. It's loud, fast, saturated with a fluorescent Florida palette and matters not a whit. Hey, it must be summer.
Missing in action is Vin Diesel, who lent the original Fast both gravitas and bulk. (He wanted too much dough for a sequel, so the producers said bye-bye.) Returning in 2 Fast 2 Furious—how will America's youth ever learn to spell correctly if even movie titles embrace instant-message speak?—is Walker as Brian O'Conner. A cop in L.A. in the first film, he's now off the force and has relocated to Miami, where he's a motorhead earning his keep via illegal street racing. O'Conner, though, is soon recruited by federal agents to go undercover as a driver for a drug lord (Cole Hauser). He talks the feds into hiring as his partner a childhood buddy, Roman Pearce (Tyrese), an ex-con with a chip on his well-muscled shoulder.
The story that follows is familiar from every cheesy TV cop show since Miami Vice—with the possible exception of a nasty, what's-this-doing-here bit in which the drug kingpin sadistically threatens a cop with a chew-happy rat. There is also scintillating talk of the weather such as this pronouncement from Pearce: "It's so hot and humid I can't even wear drawers."
Director John Singleton (Shaft) assumes the wheel on 2 Fast, aggressively going for flash and speed and lavishing more attention on the cars than his cast. He has made a shiny muscle car of a movie, an extended music video with breaks for dopey dialogue. Bland Walker relies far too heavily on his I'm-a-cute-guy grin, which gets tired fast. Sexy Tyrese (Baby Boy) steals the show; he may be better at attitude than acting as yet, but the man has major presence. (PG-13)
BOTTOM LINE: Serious moviegoers can steer clear