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Published: 2005-04-29 - 21:16:00
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The Fast and The Furious Review

By Joe Lozito

All That Gas

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Directed by "Miami Vice" alum Rob Cohen, "The Fast and the Furious" understands its genre and its audience and keeps the cars, chases and beautiful people parading by with reckless aplomb. This is a film that promises to be nothing more than a movie with lots of cars, and it delivers that much. However, when it gets too tied up in its own "undercover cop with mixed loyalties" plot, it runs out of gas.

The film not only shares the plot of "Point Break", but the sound of it. "Furious" star Paul Walker's voice is a dead ringer for Keanu Reeves, who starred in "Point Break". Mr. Walker has the same blank, surfer boy stare as Mr. Reeves. Be sure to get extra salt on your popcorn - a grain of which should be reserved to swallow the concept of Mr. Walker as an undercover cop.

But of course, the police work (which apparently wasn't researched in the slightest) plays about eighth fiddle to the street work, which is top notch. After the duds "Gone in 60 Seconds" and "Driven", it's actually refreshing to see a film that understand that "fast car movies" should feature...well, fast cars. Mr. Cohen keeps the souped-up cars parading by at breakneck speed. And he puts characters behind the wheel that are not interchangeable as much as familiar.

Aside from Mr. Walker's cop, who is conflicted over his duties and his love for Mia (the sprightly Jordana Brewster), there is Mia's brother Dominic (the jacked-up Vin Diesel, who growls his way through another role with his charismatic intensity) who has a sensitive side due to his father's death and may or may not run a ludicrous truck highjacking ring on the side.

It's best not to get into the truck highjacking scenes during which the film suddenly becomes "The Road Warrior". These scenes beg the question: when accosted by a group of fast cars, would a truck driver keep driving, or pull over? I weep for the state of truck delivery in this nation. It's also best not to wonder where the police are during the startling number of hyper-fast car chases.

By putting actual stunt drivers behind the wheel rather than using computers to enhance the driving, Mr. Cohen recalls a simpler time of "The Dukes of Hazzard" and even the original "Gone in 60 seconds". "The Fast and the Furious" can take its parking space among them.

What did you think?

Movie title The Fast and The Furious
Release year 2001
MPAA Rating PG-13
Our rating
Summary Only a rehashed subplot taken directly from "Point Break" slows down this high-octane car show, which delivers on its promise of fast car chases and beautiful people.
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