Back in early 2000, when Vin Diesel had a burgeoning career, he found himself in the enviable position of signing on to three separate and equally promising franchises.
Namely, “The Chronicles of Riddick” (intended to become a trilogy), “xXx,” and “The Fast and the Furious.” Diesel wisely decided he couldn’t commit to all three and one had to go. Unfortunately, he not so sagely dumped the only one with legs. Or shall we say . . . wheels?
“Riddick,” part one tanked, hence no two and three. The less said about the two trashy 007-wannabe “xXx” movies, the better. Diesel skipped the second movie but is now rumored to revisit his character in a third. Whatever.
Then Vin tried to emulate Arnold Schwarzenegger (“Jingle All the Way”) and made a kiddie movie (“The Pacifier”). With his career in a diaper, it’s no wonder that when Universal Pictures came calling again, with the idea of kick-starting the “Fast and Furious” franchise, Vin replied, “Where are the keys?”
The latest and fourth of the “Fast and Furious” movies is indeed a re-boot of the lucrative series. In place are the same stars from the first movie. Note the official tagline “New model. Original parts.” Cute. And somewhat true.
Diesel (plus his on-screen girlfriend and partner in crime, Michelle Rodriguez) is reunited with Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster in this high-octane, testosterone-fuelled exercise in high-speed car fetishism. It’s a simple story of cops versus drug runners with a bit of romance thrown into the mix. Brewster plays Vin’s sister (apparently some hoop earrings and funky shoes are enough to posit her in East LA) whose history of heartbreak with Walker’s character isn’t enough to dissuade her from melting into his arms all over again. C’mon, sister! Grow a spine!
The action is hot and heavy, the cars are cool, and the chase sequences are mind-blowing and fantastic fun. Yeah, the dialogue’s corny, but I think that’s compulsory with this kind of no-brainer action flick, where the scenario is as warm and familiar as a comfy pair of pajamas. Just don’t compare this plot with another movie of Vin’s – namely, “A Man Apart” – or you’ll be crying in your beer that Hollywood is soooo lame and derivative. So what else is new? Just go for the ride and be glad that the charismatic Vin is back behind the wheel. I know I am.
Studio/Official Site: http://www.fastandfuriousmovie.net/
[Pauline Adamek is a Hollywood-based film, theater, and food critic who files for “FilmInk Australia,” “LA Daily News,” “Sun Community Newspapers” as well as various websites under the “nom du net” Max Million.]