2 Fast 2 Furious
When the stars of a movie are neon-enhanced Matchbox cars and girls in bikinis, it comes as no surprise that any semblance of a plot exists as a mere excuse for a far more indulgent enterprise. And when this time-tested formula fails to entertain in a project like 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), one can only marvel at the decline that director John Singleton (Boyz N The Hood) has taken since his initial brush with Oscar glory. Paul Walker returns (sans Vin Diesel) from 2001's surprise hit The Fast and the Furious to star in this 2003 sequel, only now his character Brian O'Connor is on the other side of the law, making a living as the top driver in the underground racing scene. Tej (Ludacris) runs the show by both building their cars and officiating races, and when he needs a ringer for a big-money showdown, he calls on O'Connor the finest display of racing in the film is the result. (Note that most of the shots during the races are close-ups, both of the drivers' faces while they seemingly have inter-car conversations while hauling 150 mph, and of the various hip accessories that adorn their custom rides.) When undercover agent Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes) alerts Miami police that local crime lord Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) is recruiting drivers, they tap O'Connor to go undercover in exchange for a clean record. He accepts, but demands that he be allowed to use old friend Roman Pearce (Tyrese) as his partner. But before Pearce will join up with O'Connor, they settle an old grudge by engaging in some sort of male bonding, which consists of a quick tussle in the dirt. Pearce then takes his place as O'Connor's sidekick. In 2 Fast 2 Furious, Tyrese gets the lion's share of dialogue in an effort to replace Diesel's screen presence but, aside from shaving his head, there's no comparison. As the story leads from one poor excuse for a car chase to the next (admittedly the reason this project ever got a budget), O'Connor and Pearce must decide which side they are on. The cops don't trust them, the bad guys don't trust them, and a poorly played subplot in which love-interest Fuentes may be turning on the cops fails to achieve any real sense of tension. A ridiculous scene involving an entire SWAT team allowing 50 cars to drive through their blockade, and the ultimate absurd moment in the film O'Connor and Pearce driving their car off a cliff and into Verone's yacht, cap off Singleton's awful display of "commercial" filmmaking. Universal presents 2 Fast 2 Furious separate anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and pan-and-scan editions, both with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (but no DTS, as found on the original). Extras consist of a commentary from director Singleton, a "making-of" featurette, deleted scenes, and outtakes. Also included are the shorts "Tricking Out a Hot Import Car," so you too can break the law in a ridiculous-looking ride that's sure to give you some street cred. "Supercharged Stunts" provides some insight to the racing scenes, and Ludacris chips in with a "Making Music" short. Keep-case.