2 Fast 2 Furious

Was anyone honestly looking forward to this sequel? Besides the 13 year old boys talking through the entire movie a couple rows in front of me that is. The surprising thing bro, is that this sequel isn't all that much worse without the charismatic presence of Vin Diesel stomping around in it.

Yeah Diesel is out, but Tyrese is in, paired up with Hollywood's most empty headed pretty boy, Paul Walker. Walker had nothing better to do, so they let him walk right over here from the first movie. I bet he got lost on his way across the parking lot. Actually, I'm not completely sure he ever did find his way on to the set. His character, who looks every bit as confused and emotionally dead as Walker himself, did however find his way from California to Miami. There, he's set himself up as a full-on street racer, having thrown away his undercover cop career in the previous "movie".

Of course the Feds nab him, but only after an overly neon car race. They throw down a standard two picture deal, expunging his record in exchange for his services as a driver... cause after getting his ass kicked by Vin Diesel in the last film, he is suddenly now the very best. The cops, they're after a smuggler, or a drug dealer, or some guy who has a lot of money and seems pretty cranky at the law. I'm not certain what he did. But he needs psychotic nut-jobs who can drive outrageously fast to pick up his loot. So that means the FBI needs Walker, with the help of their irresistibly hot undercover operative (Eva Mendes), to infiltrate his gang. He agrees, but only if he can bring along his childhood compadre, an obligatory black guy played by Tyrese.

Thank god for Tyrese. Seriously. THANK GOD FOR TYRESE! Without him, 2 Fast 2 Furious is a tedious 90 minutes of Paul Walker torture with a few badly cgi'd races thrown in. Instead, Tyrese makes it bearable... even enjoyable, at every moment he's on screen. I'm not sure if he has acting talent, but the guy has PRESENCE and charm; something that Paul Walker will never have, no matter how many times he works the word "bro" into his sentences.

I just wasn't expecting to love Tyrese's character as much as I did. I walked into 2 Fast expecting to be unhappy. I walked into the theater expecting at the very best an interesting chase or two. Shock! Tyrese provided a little something extra. He's so good he actually makes Paul Walker appear better. He makes the horribly cliche villain seem superficially smart. He makes the sexy ass temptress seem... well super-sexy whenever he's looking her over. There's genuine talent and charisma in Tyrese. Hopefully the future will give him opportunity to show us more.

Ultimately, the plot is unclear and superfluous (That means it doesn't matter kids). It's all just an excuse to work in some racing and blouse bobbling bits. The big difference this time out, is that Street Racing itself is less a part of the film. Where the first movie tried its best to get inside the culture and lifestyle of illegal racers, 2 Fast sets itself up as more of a redemptive cop drama, complete with a-hole boy scouts on the police force, who set our shady heroes up.

What director John Singleton has figured out is that fast cars and hot chicks sell tickets. He has stayed true to that formula through both of these Fast and Furious films, but never really takes it as far as it could ultimately go. Maybe if he pushed harder into the debauched worlds he glosses over, give this thing a heavy R rating, these films might have the ability to offer more dirt on a lusty T&A level. As it is, all we have here is a poorly acted hero engaging in some mildly amusing racing for uninspired motivations.

How's the racing? Good actually. Pretty good. In some ways I got more out of it this time out than before. There are some shoddy scenes involving a weird hyperspace effect whenever they hit the NOS, but there's also some nicely filmed hard drivin where Walker confuses himself for a Duke boy. Oh, maybe it isn't as inventive as the first one, but it feels like Singleton has a little clearer idea of just what he needs to do to get these racing scenes done.

Someone out there is probably going to have a lot of fun watching this film. Though the trailers may have you convinced that this movie is a cinematic antichrist, it's truly just harmless fun for the bread-dead teenage set. Personally, I loved seeing a little bit of American muscle kicking import tail for once, even in a movie with an actor that's so underdone. Paul Walker is probably the worst performer on the planet, but 2 Fast 2 Furious turns out to be mildly amusing entertainment.