They say that familiarity breeds contempt. Well judging by the fourth installment of the déjà vu street racing franchise, “Fast & Furious” the filmmakers take their contempt out on the audience.
After eight years and two failed sequels (who remembers the disastrously bad, “Tokyo Drift?”), the original gang is back for one more high-speed adventure. The festivities get off to a rousing start with a jaw-dropping high-energy heist sequence with Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew jacking a moving gas truck on a long winding road. Other than the museum shootout in “The International,” the sequence is one of the best of the year.
Unfortunately, the high-profile heist puts Toretto back on the radar of the authorities and he breaks up the crew. But just as he thought he was out, tragedy drags him back in as he loses someone very close to him and seeks vengeance. Meanwhile, now Detective Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) is building a case against a Mexican drug kingpin, Braga (John Ortiz) who may have a role in the tragedy that Toretto suffered. The two former adversaries once again reunite to take down a common enemy.
For people who saw the first film, “The Fast and the Furious,” this latest film doesn’t veer far from the original’s formula. Dom and Letty (Michelle Rodriquez) are back together again as is O’Conner and the lovely Mia (Jordana Brewster). There are loads of exotic fast cars at incredibly high speeds and plenty of eye candy for the fellas.
Even the villains are remotely familiar. Instead of an Asian group of criminals in episode one, this time the kingpin is Mexican with a sadistic henchmen, Fenix (Laz Alonso). Directed by Justin Lin, he gives the fans exactly what they expect when they buy a ticket – plenty of thrills and spills.
For an action star with a several profitable franchises, Diesel spends far too much time scowling to enjoy the action. As is custom with many sexy action stars, women throw themselves at them only to be rebuffed.
While the years have been kind to him, teaming him up once again with Walker is a mismatch on multiple levels. In one hilarious fight scene, Diesel’s character pounds Walker’s and you could almost feel him begging for the director to yell CUT to get the burly Diesel up off of him!
But at it’s core, “Fast and Furious” is the pretty good popcorn film that will not disappoint those looking for a good time. If you like the original, chances are this latest version will work for you. Far from a great film, “Fast & Furious” is the cinematic equivalent of eating huge bowl of ice cream. Sure it looks and taste good initially, but too much of it will make you sick . . . and give you an awful stomach ache!