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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 4/7/04

2 Fast 2 Furious
2003 - Universal

review by Adam Jahnke of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

2 Fast 2 Furious Film Rating: C-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A/C+

Specs and Features

108 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, keep case packaging, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered, audio commentary with director John Singleton, 4 featurettes (Inside 2 Fast 2 Furious, Tricking Out a Hot Import Car, Supercharged Stunts and Making Music with Ludacris), 3 actor spotlight featurettes, 3 character car featurettes, 3 Driving School featurettes, deleted scenes, outtakes, "animated anecdotes" viewing option, cast and filmmaker bios, The Fast and the Furious game trailer, DVD-ROM features, animated film-themed menu screens with sound, scene access (19 chapters), languages: English, French and Spanish (DD 5.1), subtitles: English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned

Since the 1950's, car movies have been a staple of junk cinema. However, most movie prognosticators felt that by 2001 the genre had taken its victory lap many, many years earlier. Turns out the analysts were dead wrong, as The Fast and the Furious became one of the surprise hits of the year. Even I kind of enjoyed it for what it was. The Fast and the Furious was big, noisy and dumb, kind of like its star, Vin Diesel. Sure, the movie succumbed to chronic stupidity anytime a character opened his or her mouth but as long as they were behind the wheel, it was undemanding fun. After the success of the original film, only the most naïve moviegoer didn't think a quickie sequel was waiting in the wings. Sure enough, two years later The Fast and the Furious begat 2 Fast 2 Furious.

Unlike most people, I did not think 2 Fast 2 Furious was a terrible title. I mean, come on. What exactly were critics hoping for? The Fast and The Furious Part II: The Return of Brian O'Connor? Anyway, 2 Fast 2 Furious wastes little time with things like story and character development. The plot is nothing more than an excuse to get ex-cop O'Connor (played by Surfer Ken doll Paul Walker) back on the right side of the law, working undercover again. This time, he's after a direct-to-video grade Tony Montana knock-off played by Cole Hauser. With Vin Diesel opting out of episode two, rap star Tyrese fills in as Brian's unlikely childhood pal, Roman. Wheels screech, cars flip, and rap music blares.

Unfortunately, even on its own meager terms, 2 Fast 2 Furious is a disappointment. Original F & F director Rob Cohen also took a powder this time around, so the directing chores were handed over to John Singleton. If you go into this expecting a film from the director of Boyz N The Hood, you'll be shocked and appalled. If you go into it expecting a movie from the creator of the Samuel L. Jackson Shaft update, you'll be less dismayed but only slightly. As was the case with the first movie, the only possible reason for 2 Fast 2 Furious to exist is to watch high-octane car action. Even on that level, the movie suffers from a case of been there, done that. You can pretty much set your watch by the regular appearance of chase scenes but only a couple of them approach the level of the first movie.

Personally, I think the makers of this franchise could learn a thing or two by studying one of the greatest movies in the history of cinema, The Cannonball Run. Moronic as that movie is, at least it doesn't even bother with the pretense of a story. All you need to know is that all these B-list stars are going to race across the country as fast as they possibly can. Case closed. Honestly, does anybody care if Brian O'Connor catches the bad guy, gets the girl, or even has a really good sandwich for lunch (for that matter, what kind of name is Brian O'Connor for an action hero anyway)? If you're willing to pay money to see a movie with the words "fast" or "furious" in the title, all you want is to see good-looking people drive like bats out of hell in amazingly expensive cars. Toward the end of the picture, 2 Fast 2 Furious whips out a car "scramble" with hundreds of cars swarming out of a warehouse, befuddling the various law agencies who are on our heroes' tail. Now that's more like it. The inevitable sequel to this movie (3 Fast 3 Furious?) should do nothing more than recycle the scramble on a bigger scale over and over again.

Universal's DVD is pretty much standard issue for a big summer blockbuster on disc. Technical aspects of the movie are right up there, although no DTS option is provided for the soundtrack and overall, the sound is not quite as jaw-droppingly cool as it was with the original movie. After you pop in the disc, you're asked to "choose your ride". Your choice takes you to one of three custom menus based on the three heroes, Brian, Roman, and token girl driver Suki. Most of the extras are accessible through any of the custom menus, though each one also features a trio of similarly themed exclusive featurettes.

Starting with the common group of extras, John Singleton provides a shockingly dull commentary track. He talks a bit about his influences on this movie (comics, anime, and video games) but devotes most of the track to deconstructing the film and telling us what we as audience members are supposed to be feeling. This adds tension, this always gets a big laugh, etc, etc. You can also watch the movie with an Animated Anecdotes trivia track, which isn't really animated and doesn't tell you much of anything you couldn't comfortably live the rest of your life without knowing. Inside 2 Fast 2 Furious is a bland overview of the making of the film. Supercharged Stunts concerns itself mainly with one stunt only, the big money shot at the end of the movie. Making Music with Ludacris is a look behind-the-scenes at the making of Ludacris' music video for the movie. Oddly enough, that video is not on the disc. Devotees also get to check out a few deleted scenes, introduced by the editors, and a couple minutes worth of unfunny outtakes.

Carried over to this disc from the "Tricked Out" DVD of The Fast and the Furious, Tricking Out a Hot Import Car goes over... well, the tricking out of a hot import car. It's a short segment and I wouldn't recommend going to work on your own vehicle if this is your only guide. Also recycled is the option to play the movie with an original prelude starring Paul Walker. I'm thrilled the prelude was on here because it answers the burning question that had mystified audiences coast to coast. How exactly did Brian O'Connor get from Los Angeles to Miami? (Spoiler Alert: He drove.)

Surprisingly, the best extras are those that are exclusive to the individual menus. Each one offers a Spotlight featurette on the actor who plays the character (Walker, Tyrese, and supermodel Devon Aoki) and an in-depth look at their car. The car stuff is genuinely interesting, at least if you're interested in such things at all. Finally, each menu has a Driving School featurette showing the training the actors went through before getting behind the wheel in front of the camera.

Hardcore fans of this sort of racing extravaganza may well be satisfied with Universal's presentation of 2 Fast 2 Furious. Movie buffs, on the other hand, likely won't be too impressed with either the movie or the surface-skimming extras. A movie like this needs to be a reference-quality disc in terms of both picture and sound quality. The original movie succeeded on that score. In comparison, 2 Fast 2 Furious is reheated leftovers. If you loved it the first time, you'll eat it again. But it doesn't taste nearly as good the second time around... and if you weren't sure you liked the first portion, you may well want to scrape it off your plate before you're through.

Adam Jahnke

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