Fast And The Furious In Perspective

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The Fast and the Furious in Perspective Call me naive, but until I saw director Rob Cohen's The Fast and the Furious, I did not know there was such a thing as underground car racing gangs in the United States. Not being a mechanic or car enthusiast, I also had no idea how cars could so quickly speed up to 140 m.p.h. While the jury's still out on how realistic The Fast and the Furious is concerning its details on automobiles and racing, I, nonetheless, learned quite a bit from the film--more so than from any usual movie-going experience.

I also learned that no matter how many slam-bang action scenes are put into a movie, the entire effort cannot work without a feasible screenplay. The action scenes clearly outweighed any dialogue that was placed. The movie, based in the streets of Los Angeles, was not an effective choice for a plot.

Along with the Los Angeles Times and Roger Ebert, I would rate the movie a three-out-of-four stars simply for its outstanding merit in the field of special effects. (Armstrong) Set in the speedy world of street racing teams, Brian (Paul Walker) is an undercover cop who has managed to get in with one such group, led by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). While his mission is to prove that they not only illegally race, but also hijack trucks on the side, Brian finds himself apprehensive of doing so when he not only becomes good friends with Dominic, but also falls for his sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster).

The plot of The Fast and the Furious is full of clichés and dullness that is predictable from beginning to end. It also does not even find its premise until at least a half-hour in. Until then, we are treated to literally one scene after the next of people racing hot--no, make that very hot--cars. When the story finally shifts into high gear and we find that Brian is, indeed, a cop, the stakes are expectantly heightened. Unfortunately, this means that the pacing must slow down and the characters actually have to speak. The characters were underdeveloped throughout the film. That it took three separate people to pen such a thin script is quite humorous, and just a little overwhelming.

The action sequences, by the way, are so thrilling that they almost single-handedly save the film from its countless flaws. The tight-and-precise editing aids in making each car-racing sequence a high-throttle joy to behold. Along with the intensity, a climactic scene involving a botched truck-hijack is downright nail biting, leaving your fingers in pain when it concludes. The intense crash scenes including shrapnel produced when a semi t-bones a Honda Civic at 140 m.p.h. were absolutely hair-raising. The flames following were equally robust.

There is nothing else comparable to the arcade-style driving they demonstrated, along with the special effects, which were digitally enhanced quite nicely. It's very easy to forget about such frivolous things as character involvement and story developments when your body is being overtaken by such rapid-fire images of excitement and danger. But once each scene has taken its toll, you are grounded back to the reasons why the movie, as a whole, is simply not finding the footing it should.

The cast is professional and attractive, but little else. Vin Diesel, that of the muscular build, shaved head, and baritone voice, turns in an effective highly modulated performance as the loyal Dominic. Despite several slow patches and an ending that manages to leave characters and relationships hanging without closure, The Fast and the Furious offers mindless summer movie fun for 105 minutes. If anything, the action leaves a superficial adrenaline rush.

Works Cited Armstrong, Rod "Critics Roundup" Reel Reviews 2001 The Fast and the Furious. Dir. Robert Cohen. Perf. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster. Universal Studios, 2001