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The Fast and the Furious

Starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune
Screenplay by Gary Scott Thompson and Erik Bergqist and David Ayer; story by Thompson
Directed by Rob Cohen
website: www.thefastandthefurious.com

IN SHORT: As in "In the Old Days, we'd ride the film makers out of town on a rail, Fast and Furious, like. [Rated PG-13 for Sensuality, Some Language. 100 minutes]

There isn't really a lot we expect in a movie. A story that makes any kind of logical sense, even remotely logical, is usually good. A good guy who we feel like cheering for is good, though a tepid round of applause is OK if it's a film where the bad guy is supposed to be more heroic. Else, a bad guy who is so vicious that he gets a suitably gruesome ending involving bullets or explosions or flying body parts or any combination of the three.

Oh, we're talking action movies here, which The Fast and the Furious definitely is. It doesn't have any of the things listed in the above paragraph but it does have a leading lady who is an absolute ten on a scale of "Angie Harmon is really cute but she's old enough to be my mom." That apply to those about age eleven, when boys are (or perhaps used to be) bananas over cars, to the exclusion of almost everything else. That includes girls, unless they know something about cars. Add about ten years to that age bracket and you've got the cast of The Fast and the Furious, all of whom will one day look back on this movie as paying work.

As opposed to "prestigious" indie work, which rarely pays anybody. No, they'll all look back on The Fast and the Furious and try to come up the words to describe what it was about. Or what the script was allegedly about before the film's director cut almost everything resembling a logical plot out of it. What The Fast and the Furious refers to is cars. It isn't a well-told tale of any kind, about cars or anything else.

In the lesser parts of the lovely City of Angels, Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) has a thing for Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster), who serves up crappy tuna salad sandwiches every working day. Mia works the counter at a diner so sleazy that only big burly working class guys like her car mechanic brother Dominic (Vin Diesel) and his crew Vince (Matt Schulze), Leon (Johnny Strong), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and the dyslexic Jesse (Chad Lindberg) eat there. Dom doesn't like the attention Mia is getting, not because he has anything against Brian, but because he buys auto parts under the counter from Brian's boss. Said parts are used to illegally modify cars for street racing, which is how Dom makes his real money along with the bets he wins when he races, and he doesn't want any nosy police guy to make any association. We're filling in the blanks for you people, the script never goes in this direction. Instead, it starts with a violent truck hijacking and then wanders around for about an hour until it spills why Brian, potential street racer and wannabee for Dom's racing crew, has any interest in that hijacking. Listen closely, the link is mention in only one line of dialog. By that time it happens, you'll be so tired of less than one dimensional characters that you won't care. Unless you fit the requirements of a couple of paragraphs up. And once you find out the connection, you'll realize that you have seen absolutely nothing to indicate in any way any connection between the hijacking and the suspect. If you haven't thrown in the towel by then, that's the point it will happen. The Fast and the Furious is one of those films that is so awful that critics all around us were making the mad dash for the exits long before the thing was half over. We watched with all four of our eyes to the bitter end.

The Fast and the Furious is a title that could well apply solely to the metal and rap soundtrack that blasts furiously out at the audience, drowning even the heaviest rev of the car engines. Or the machine gun fire of the Chinese gang led by Johnny Tran (Rick Yune). Or the wail of the sirens of the cop cars that never seem to show until the street racing is done. That racing, which is about all director Rob Cohen has concentrated on is pretty action filled. That doesn't say a helluva lot when the good guy is bland, the bad guy isn't rotten, the violence is either completely predictable or totally out of place, the love story never generates any kind of heat -- this is a film that at one point virtually screams for a shower scene, a no-no for the rating it got -- and the ending, as seen, only shows which star has more power. Big stars haven't been the bad guys in a long time and if the definition of "bad" is what Vin Diesel's character is, sorry, our expectations haven't fallen that low.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Fast and the Furious, he would have paid . . .

$0.00

Unbelievably, there's even less real story here than there was in Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. We can't even say that the races are consistently thrilling enough to spend the cash on any kind of ticket for the big screen viewing experience.

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