Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Gal Gadot
Rated: PG-13 for for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual content, language and drug references.
Parental Notes: The trailers give a good sense of the film. The violence isn’t particularly bloody or graphic, the sexual content is largely restricted to kissing, groping, and dancing, and the drug references are mild.
When it comes to the “Fast and Furious” franchise of films, the only thing you really need to know is whether the film in question fits in with the previous ones in terms of style. “Fast & Furious” definitely does. It’s a brainless car action film, with plenty of scantily-clad women, muscle-bound men, cheesy dialog, and long, thrilling car races and chases. If you’re in the mood for more “Fast and Furious” action, this should hit the spot.
The plot is largely irrelevant, a mere device to provide an excuse for the action. The story takes place between the events of “2 Fast 2 Furious” and “The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift,” but that piece of information is largely irrelevant. Once-disgraced cop Brian O’Connor is now an FBI Agent (not sure how that happened), on the trail of master criminal Braga. Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is doing what he does best, crazy heists using fast cars. When a mutual friend of theirs is murdered and the trail leads toward Braga, Dom and Brian team up to take him down.
This, of course, involves lots of car chases, some gunfighting and hand-to-hand combat, and a surprising amount of standing around and talking meaningfully about what’s been going on. The latter is frequently mockable, though, which makes the wait for the next bout of action more endurable. None of the actors have particularly difficult roles, but they all turn in solid performances. Walker and Diesel are appropriately smoldering and macho, the various girls are properly attracted to them, and the villains chew scenery enough to be entertaining.
The real stars of the picture are the cars, though — flying through the air, whipping around corners, crashing into one another. I’m no car expert, of course, but the lines about technical details are delivered with enough conviction that I don’t care if they’re accurate or not. Real gearheads’ mileage may vary. The chases and races are thrilling and fairly easy to follow, however, which is the important part for a film of this sort. This is about action, not realism.
Whether you will enjoy “Fast & Furious” depends heavily on what you’re looking for. If you want an hour and a half of brainless fun, it should be right up your alley. If you’re looking for character development, complex storylines, or realism, go elsewhere.