2 Fast 2 Furious

A funny thing happened in The Fast and the Furious. The wrong person became the superstar. It was supposed to be the breakout role for Paul Walker. Instead, Vin Diesel stole the show. When the script for the second came along, Diesel and original director Rob Cohen decided it wasn't good enough, so they bolted, leaving Walker (Joy Ride, The Fast and the Furious) another opportunity to break through. This could happen if not for the fact that with each additional movie, it is becoming apparent that Walker cannot act. Well, technically he can, but not very well (for that matter, Diesel is running into the same situation, not because of his acting but because he cannot seem to pick a good script). Every attempt to make him look cool here fails miserably. He sounds idiotic saying things like "bro," and again, his co-star outshines him. This time it's Tyrese (Baby Boy, Love Song), a boiling cauldron of arrogance, rashness, and anger. Tyrese's Roman Pierce oozes charisma, while Walker's Brian O'Conner again elicits yawns or unintentional snickers.

The 'story' picks up a little after events in the first movie, with O'Conner now in Miami. Calling Michael Brandt and Derek Haas' (Invincible) is an undeserved compliment. Like the original, the story is nearly nonexistent, and serves to bridge the gaps between the car races. O'Conner still races, and soon finds himself caught up in another investigation. He needs to go undercover to help US Customs capture Carter Verone (Cole Hauser, Tears of the Sun, White Oleander), a South American drug dealer. Their agent, Monica Clemente (Eva Mendes, All About the Benjamins, Training Day) is deep under cover, and nobody is sure if she is still on the side of the good guys. O'Conner agrees to the job if his record comes clean, and if he can get Pierce to work with them. Pierce and O'Conner were childhood friends who had a bad falling out. Ooh, conflict. Not.

Verone needs drivers, and Clemente arranges for O'Conner and Pierce to take the jobs. That's about it. But people aren't going to see this movie for the story, and director John Singleton (Baby Boy, Shaft) knows this and at least is able to provide plenty of eye candy in the form of tricked up and souped out cars, extended chase sequences, and scantily clad women. The women are merely objects of lust, because they prance around wearing tight clothes. Mendes contributes nothing to the story and has no chemistry with Walker, and the only other female (model Devon Aoki) does even less (Incidentally, Aoki is the daughter of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki. How bad is Aoki's acting? Come see for yourself!). The cars look sweet, and one should note that in terms of the race and chase sequences, these are real cars with stunt drivers instead of fake CGI cars.

It's hard to say whether or not the sequel is better than the first. Because of the utter lack of story, the two can stand separate, and one does not need to see the first to understand the second. The acting and plot are worse, but Singleton gets away with this by choreographing an elaborate chase scene that takes up the bulk of the last act of the 2 Fast 2 Furious. It involves what looks like hundreds of cars, trucks, a boat, and three helicopters. During every car scene, Singleton manages to keep the audience's attention rapt on the screen, switching cameras quickly to make the scenes more exciting, but everything in between ruins the momentum. The filmmakers could probably put in any story, and as long as they have the cars and attractive people of all races, their coveted young demographic will come and pay lots of money to watch.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 40 minutes, Rated PG-13 for street racing, violence, language, and some sensuality.

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