April 3, 2009 Fast And Furious
Studio: Universal Pictures Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual content, language and drug references.
The ad campaign for "Fast and Furious" boasts it is a new model with the original parts. That's because although this is the fourth movie in the series, it's the first sequel to reunite stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster.
The plot actually ignores the second and third installments. As we rejoin the story, Dominic (Diesel) and Letty (Rodriguez) are doing a Bonnie and Clyde impersonation south of the border. They've teamed up with other hot rodders to steal several tankers full of gasoline. After a harrowing chase in which they barely escape death, the bandits make off with their prize.
But nothing lasts forever and the authorities start to close in. Dom leaves Letty to take the heat off of her and heads off on his own.
However, a shocking murder forces Dom to journey back to the U.S., where he learns a Mexican drug cartel is responsible for the death.
But in a pretty convenient coincidence, FBI Agent Brian O'Connor (Walker) is pursuing the same bad guy. That puts the two former friends on a collision course. They end up in a street race competing for a spot to smuggle heroin across the border, hoping it puts them closer to the mysterious drug lord, with whom one is seeking vengeance while the other works for justice.
Superior to the other sequels in this series, "Fast and Furious" stands up to the original as a piece of harmless popcorn entertainment. Reuniting the cast provides an all-important spark missing in the other chapters.
Diesel and Walker have an easy chemistry as two former friends shaken by mistrust but joined by a common goal. And it was good to see Rodriguez and Brewster again, even though they are given very little to do.
When you go to see this movie you expect to see hardcore racing action and you get some. There are thrilling scenes set on the streets and in the desert. I'm not going to say this is great cinema because it's not. At times the writing is painful and Diesel spends way too much time looking serious and stony with a perpetually furrowed brow.
But, if you enjoyed any of the previous installments you'll like this one as much or even more. It delivers high speed thrills, beautiful women, hot cars and vivid colors. Who needs a great script or Oscar-level acting?
On my rating scale, "Fast and Furious" earns a TRIPLE.
COPS Tonight at 8:00 PM Stupid Behavior No. 5
After a man crashes into a sign and takes off on foot, he collapses complaining of heart trouble; officers find meth and possible stolen items in a suspect's pocket; a couple argues over a damaged wall