|The Fast and the Furious
dir Rob Cohen
scr Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, David Ayer
with Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Rick Yune, Matt Schulze, Ted Levine, Reggie Lee, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Vyto Ruginis, Thom Barry
release US 22.Jun.01; UK 14.Sep.01
See also: 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (2002) | THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (2006)...
In a nutshell, this is everything Gone in 60 Seconds should have been: loud, mindless, entertaining rubbish. Rob Cohen has all the directoral subtlety of a freight train (see also The Skulls and, erm, Daylight), and everything about the story is a Boy's Own fantasy.
Brian (Walker) is a wannabe street racer in Los Angeles, trying to get in with reigning king Dom (Diesel) and his gang ... and his lovely sister Mia (Brewster). But Dom's right-hand man Vince (Schulze) is also after Mia, so he hates Brian with a bulging, purple passion. Even after a plot-redefining twist 30 minutes in, it's still basically all screeching tyres and vrooming engines to prove who's the real man here.
Within 30 seconds we wish we'd worn earplugs to this film. Not only are the cars deafeningly noisy, but the characters all grunt their dialog manfully, while every scene is accompanied by the loudest music the filmmakers could find. Basically the film is populated with young men with massive chips on their shoulders, too much testosterone, oiled muscles, extremely souped-up cars with big engines and even bigger stereo systems, and trampy women everywhere.
The acting is equally masculine; Diesel is especially good at all this strutting and scowling, and he reveals a surprisingly sensitive side as well. Sort of. Walker basically plays Brian as Keanu, which is a bit odd but somehow grows on us. Brewster and Rodriguez (as Dom's squeeze) are feisty and unconventionally sexy. But the film has nothing more on its mind than flashy car chases. And when you get to the bottom of the apparently complex plot, it's actually so simple a child could have written it. Dumb and noisy ... and totally watchable.
"I was looking forward to this film and after watching it with a few mates at cinema we were disappointed on the lack of actual high-speed racing and chases. It was more like a made for television film, and I would advise anyone to wait for it to be released on vhs & dvd so not to waste the cinema prices. Film was very bland and actors were a bit wooden." --Gothic, Leeds 25.Sep.01