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September 2002                                        SITE MAP   SEARCH
The Fast And The Furious
cast: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, and Rick Yune

director: Rob Cohen

102 minutes (15) 2001
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Universal DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Jeff Young
Set in the mostly nocturnal world of Californian illegal street racing, this is the sort of action movie that tabloid critics like to describe as a 'high octane thriller', but apart from one or two moderately exciting car chases, there's not much going on here at all. You get snappy exposition and some visual glamour - but cartoons for characters, and no genuine exploration of today's hotrod subculture.
   Paul Walker plays undercover cop Brian, who suspects local race star Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) of leading a gang wanted for hijacking trucks. Brian bets and loses his '10-second car' to win a place on Toretto's close-knit team, then he falls in love with Toretto's sister Mia (Jordana Brewster). An armed and violent rival gang of Asian racers on motorcycles led by Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) provide the flimsy plot's red herring, which is a pointless distraction when it's pretty obvious right from the start that Toretto's crew are responsible for the robberies, but this does provide a brief glimpse of the variety of people involved in the quarter-mile racing scene, along with background dramas staged to give the supporting cast something else to do besides hanging out with top driver Toretto.
   The Fast And The Furious is simply a glossy B-movie, lacking real passion for its subject matter, or anything like a meticulous exploration of the alternative criminal lifestyle it attempts to reveal. It's not saying much, but even the remake of Gone In 60 Seconds was better than this.
   The DVD has an excellent anamorphic widescreen transfer, with Dolby digital 5.1 sound and English subtitles. Disc extras: making-of featurette (18 minutes), multi-camera stunt sequence, editing violence for MPAA PG-13, text of the Racer X article that inspired this movie, plus director's commentary.