*WARNING – THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!*
Okay, so the other night I downloaded a nice bootleg version of Fast&Furious after underestimating the cinema going public of Kettering. I’ve been a F&F fan since the beginning – the original is the film that connects me and my oldest brother Olly, so the franchise has been important from the start. I’ve always loved the franchise because of what it stands for – awesome cars, stupid impossible stunts, hot girls and some fun music. In fact, the main pulling point to these films for me is the fact that they are stupid. They make no sense, the special effects are over the top and the acting is… well it lacks integrity. Yes, you heard me right, these are the good things I enjoy about The Fast and The Furious.
The problem with the fourth film in the franchise is that it attempted to let go of these things – the acting may still have been lacking but this wasn’t in the comic way, it was just dull. They also tried to add too much sophistication and realism into the situations of the narrative, it seems a little too real for my liking. Think back to 2Fast2Furious, remember the stupid plot? Remember how ridiculous it was? It was almost like watching a cartoon! That was one of the funniest and best parts of what the film had to offer, because you immediately said “okay, this isn’t a serious film, let’s just have fun!” and that was definitely the pleasure of the text, for me anyway. The other thing that brings down this film is how rushed it is. The story jumps from section to section of key importance and the writers seem to have just ignored how important it is for us to know the characters. Maybe they thought there was no need for that as we already know Dom and Brian well enough from the first and second films. But they should have remembered that five years have passed and nobody really makes any reference to the ways in which they have changed in this time, because that is inevitable. Mia is the only one who really shows any form of character depth but even that is limited. It may seem like a contradiction to say a film needs to be silly but then it needs character depth, but it remains important to me. The story in itself is so short and yet they still tried to stuff in as much jargon as possible, instead of having depth, understanding and pacing to the narrative they rushed it all and yet it still seemed ridiculously crowded and claustrophobic to watch. The love scene between Mia and Brian was abrupt and too short, it had no development and no real reason behind it, other than showing that loose connection between the original and the new one (and leading to the end of the film, which we’ll discuss later)
One last thing that made this film disappointing; what the hell happened to the races!? The entire point of the F&F franchise was to base everything on street racing, it all revolves around this key subject; The Fast and The Furious had at least 5 races, 2Fast had at least 4 and Tokyo Drift had about the same. Whereas Fast & Furious had just one clear street race, which was wicked and very intense but even that had its shortcomings – what was with all the CGI satnav bollocks? It ruined the scene completely. After that there was no clear racing, no passion in pushing the car to the limit for just the thrill of the the ride.
Okay so that’s the bad stuff out of the way, what were the good points? The stunts and special effects were amazing, but I wouldn’t expect any less from this series. The tunnel sequences were really cool, as well as the aforementioned street race which gives Dom and Brian their ticket into the Cartel. The cars, though a little limited, are wicked too. It was great to see Toretto’s muscle car back in action after the big crash of the the first movie. Also, the use of the old locations (such as Toretto’s original house and garage) was wicked because it gave us a real feel of returning to the original story, this added to continuity and familiarities, which I loved.
One more thing, the ending; simply ace. The entire last few minutes of the film I had a hanging jaw; it was shocking, it was compelling, it was amazing and it ended with excitement. When the credits began to roll through the CGI of moving engine parts (as it always goes with this series) I was buzzing. I had that feeing I always get from Fast & Furious, so I guess ending on a good note is something that can be appreciated, just a shame the rest of the film had a sour taste to it all the way through. However, the good news is that this ending left a nice open door for The Fast and The Furious 5! Which, you’ll be pleased to hear, has already been confirmed and is in production! I have found from two different interviews with Paul Walker regarding number 5, one says it’ll be based in Europe and one says it’ll be in Brazil. Either way it’s bound to be fun, though I’d prefer the Europe option, mainly because I’d like to see my favourite characters racing through London, but that’s unlikely. Anyway, that’s a few years off, so we need to focus on the present production we have in hand; number 4.
One thing that can’t be denied of this film is the action, it’s virtually non stop and the adrenaline still pumps like it used to, so it was still fun to watch. If you don’t mind a lack of storyline integrity and a rush of narrative key points then this film is a definite for action junkies, which is what us junkies are used to, but in my opinion it falls below even the low standard we expect. A second viewing makes the film stick together better and you can understand the timeline better than the first time around, but paying £7 to get into the cinema again shouldn’t be required from a good film, so I’d suggest waiting for the DVD or be a pirate like me and get a shit cinema filmed version.
Overall, this movie get a 7/10 for me (the original get a 9.5, 2Fast gets 8.5, Tokyo Drift gets 8.5) which shows my disapproval in the film in its attempt to revive the original story and cast etc. (not that this was a bad idea, it just wasn’t done very well). Still, a 7 isn’t bad and I’d recommend you give it a chance if you’re into fast cars, hot girls, action, adrenaline and a mint soundtrack. Speaking of which, here’s the song to the ending credits, enjoy!