Monday, January 13, 2014

The Fast and the Furious (2001) Review:

Upon first reading the title, viewers would get the first impression that this film involves just racing cars. In a sense, it does but in a different way than your standard track race of 99 laps. It involves much more than that and to demonstrate this, a cast of actors were chosen for this franchise that have taken the genre of driving cars to the next level. This is the movie that brought several no name actors to the spotlight. The most obvious is Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. And what almost seemed like would be a strange mashup of racing and detective work, turned out to be a fairly solid film.

Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker)
Paul Walker plays Brian O'Conner, an undercover cop who is trying to help the FBI capture a group of road bandits who end up plundering innocent truck drivers traveling down highways. To do this, he digs deep into the underworld of street racing where racers of different backgrounds and revved up cars come together for a common cause. The thrill of the ride and all the benefits that come with it; sex, drugs, respect and money. As he slowly assimilates with his surroundings, he befriends a man named Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family members. There he begins to investigate who is behind the truck jackings.

This is actually not a bad plot at all. The writing does have its weak points, which will be touched upon but let's start with the positive. I enjoyed  how O'Conner has to come to grips with himself and who he's going to support. This shows that he's a human being and has a conscious. The same goes for Dominic Toretto, in a different way though. Toretto must come to grips with himself knowing he wasn't the person he once was. Both characters are from very different worlds yet they share a struggle that resembles each other. That struggle is being human and knowing who you are as a person. Sure it's not believable in every aspect but at least it lets the audience know that these characters do have a mind of their own.

The weak part to the film is the final scene. All there is to say is that it is too abrupt. It completely detours from what the plot was centered on, along with leaving a few subplots open for interpretation. But was it needed - no. It would be nice to see some closure on more than one subplot. Surely if this franchise didn't earn a sequel then where would the conclusion to this story be? Hard to say. But if there's one thing that helps make up for that are the racing sequences to this movie. Even if you're not a racing fan, the action scenes should entertain. I mean, who doesn't want to (or enjoys already) driving over the speed limit for fun? Driving at high speeds gets the adrenaline pumping and makes every action much more intense. So if you don't enjoy that kind of thing, this movie isn't for you.

Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel)
The editing by Peter Honess who also did The Shadow (1994), L.A. Confidential (1997) and Highlander (1986) did a good job here as well. The shots are well connected and will keep the attention of the audience quite easily. The score produced by BT isn't anything to praise over though. Some action scenes didn't even contain music, which was odd because you'd think one would want to make that scene more intense by adding music. And although he doesn't create a theme for the franchise, his music does match the tone and attitude of the film. And for this kind of film, as long as it maintains that, that's all that matters. Because there is also contemporary music inserted in various scenes, BT's music transitions well into the contemporary music. It's good.

It lacks logic in a few areas and has a loose ending but the car scenes and actors help them overcome that. Plus it has some unexpected character development that helps give the main characters a good amount of charm.

Points Earned --> 7:10

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