Welcome to my film critic's blog! A lifetime of loving movies has enabled me to do this. Enjoy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

'Fast and Furious' - still a guilty pleasure

  What is it about the 'Fast and the Furious' franchise that draws us back time and again? I wish I knew - it could be all the pretty people, fast cars and furious vehicle action. But there's something else - the first film was this generation's 'Point Break'. Less Swayze's Zen master stuff and more Diesel's muscle-bound street racing. And it worked - it worked well.

  Then '2 Fast 2 Furious' came along sans Vin Diesel and it wasn't a pleasure any more - it felt like a cheap attempt at creating a franchise where one wasn't feasible. Redemption seemed highly unlikely until 'The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift' came along. With none of the original cast, it somehow managed to work with Lucas Black as the uncharismatic lead. The story and direction rekindled the franchise and it was ripe for a reunion. Enter this year's 'Fast & Furious' with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez all returning. Brian O'Conner (Walker), now working for the FBI in LA, teams up with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) to bring down a heroin importer by infiltrating his operation. And it finally feels like the sequel we deserved all along. Set in the timeline before 'Tokyo Drift', it acknowledges all the other films and it is still the wonderful guilty pleasure we have come to expect from the series.

  The story is pretty tight, the direction is sound and the must-have elements blend pretty well. It is true popcorn entertainment of the 2000s and the cast makes it work. Is it for everyone? No, a certain mindset is needed to enjoy it - if you enjoyed the first film you will enjoy this. Even if you're unfamiliar with the franchise, 'Fast & Furious' satisfies those popcorn impulses - big action, no-brainer plotline and an easy-on-the-eye cast. Yes, I'll have extra butter on mine!