Fast & FuriousFast & Furious is one of those films that, unconciously or consciously, you’ll drive home faster than you normally do.  Take those turns a little more recklessly.  Pause at the stop signs.  You know, just like you did when you left after the first one.

I actually like the Fast and the Furious franchise.  The first one was much better than anybody gives it credit for.  The second one wasn’t as good, but has its charms.  The third one was better than I expected it to be and had just as interesting a storyline, without any of the original cast or crew.  So, when Fast & Furious (they really need a new naming convention) was announced, I was pretty psyched.  It’s been a while since Vin Diesel or Paul Walker had decent hits, and I think both of them are pretty cool guys.  Paul Walker gets a bad rep for being a prettyboy, but if you’ve seen Running Scared, you know the dude can act.  Vin Diesel may not be the best actor in the world, but he’s convincing in every role he’s been in, and his charisma is pretty unmistakable.

So was Fast & Furious worth the wait?  Or is this the last gasp of a dying franchise?  Read my full review after the jump!

Fast & Furious takes place five years after the original and, even though the actors look a tad bit older, they have no problem jumping back into their roles.  Brian (Paul Walker) is now working for the FBI.  Dom (Vin Diesel) has gotten a new crew together, including Han from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez).  His sister…uh, well, she’s the same.  Living in the same house and dressing in nothing but sundresses.  Anyway, a mutual friend is murdered and Dom comes to back to California to find the man responsible.  Turns out, Brian’s investigation for the FBI leads to the same man, and the two see each other for the first time since Brian let Dom escape from the cops all those years ago.

fastandfurious2While not quite the holy sh*t f*ckload of awesome that Bad Boys 2 was to Bad Boys, Fast & Furiousreminded me of that.  It took everything you loved about the first one and created a movie full of those things.  Car races?  They’ve got a couple.  Awesome car crashes?  Oh, a ton.  Vin and Paul busting each other’s balls?  Check.  While there’s not much of a story in the film (they go undercover to infiltrate a drug cartel), that’s probably not much of a surprise.  The movie rests squarely on the performances of its two leads (the women of the franchise are bit players, really), and the talent of the director, just like Bad Boys II.  Justin Lin, who directed this one, also directed Tokyo Drift, and really, this couldn’t have been further from that film.  Gritty, lots of handheld camera work, none of the flash bang neon filled shots that were in Drift.  This really is more of a call back to the original, with more of the sensibilities of the modern action film – you know there’s always gotta be a parkour sequence with lots of shaky cam!

And, just like Bad Boys II, the good guys have to leave their jurisdiction and follow the bad guy to his home turf to kick the crap outta him.  Sure, it’s not 2 1/2 hours long like Bad Boys II was, but a lot of people felt that one was overly long.  If you don’t like the Fast and the Furious movies, probably not your cup of tea.  Still, I’m not sure how someone could not enjoy this film.  It’s big dumb fun, and not in the way that those Transporter movies are.  This one comes with good acting, halfway decent writing, and some genuine heart.  Recommended you see it on the big screen.

Here, check out a scene from the flick, courtesy of Yahoo Movies:

Paul's Awesomeness Score - 8Paul’s Awesomeness Score – 8 out of 10!