Sunday, 30 August 2009

Fast & Furious

Fast & Furious (also known as The Fast and The Furious 4, not that this makes any goddamn difference) is, as its name implies, the fourth installment in The Fast and The Furious franchise, starring Vin Diesel as the lead Dominic Toretto, Paul Walker, and Michelle Rodriguez. Obviously, with three precedessors managing to gross a substantial amount of money (but not much critical acclaim), we were bound to see a fourth title at one point. And it didn't take that damn long for the producers to milk the (faltering) cashcow yet again.

I like to start at the beginning, as in how Vin Diesel is an extremely limited actor. Don't get me wrong, I like the guy. He was great in the first The Fast and the Furious movie, and he was bloody awesome in xXx. Put him in an action-packed movie, and that's where he shines. Get him to portray emotionally-ridden characters, and that's where he spectacularly fails.

At the start of Fast & Furious 4, Letty (played by Michelle Rodriguez), Dom's girlfriend, is murdered, and Dom returns to town to track down the murderer. This is also where we are supposed to sympathise with him for the loss of his girlfriend, but Diesel's portrayal of someone whose girlfriend has just been murdered is extremely unconvincing, and from that point forward, it is hard to relate with the character. The good thing about this is that this made me think back to the good old days of Steven Seagal, the master of one-dimensional characters.

Fast & Furious 4 is marginally better than Tokyo Drift (which is the timeline sequel to this fourth movie), but that's not saying much. The overall acting is sub-par, but considering this is essentially a B-movie, there's no point nitpicking. I'm not saying B-movies should equal poor acting, but this seems to be the Hollywood trend nowadays. However, since I am me, I will instead criticize something else.

As far as plot goes, there's not much in there other than the typical "guy wants revenge for his murdered girlfriend" story. There are however glaring flaws, the biggest one revolving around the bad buy Bragga (the usually excellent John Ortiz). The screenwriter actually tried to put in a plot twist revolving Bragga, where we find out that he has been hiding his identity. This could have worked, except for the fact that the FBI already had a file on him, but apparently nobody bothered to search for him in the database. I'm guessing the movie would have been at least five minutes shorter had they been logical, so they just had to piss all over the story with this kind of retarded detail. Back in my days, law enforcement was better portrayed in popular media.

The action is actually pretty good, but it's mainly about cars....and cars. I am having a hard time believing that all the car stuff that happens in the movie is actually possible, but the chases are pretty well-done and the cars being the movie's highlight, Fast & Furious pulls this off nicely. However, Fast & Furious 4 basically lacks charisma, substance, and whatever it is that makes people want to keep watching a movie. I felt thoroughly indifferent to what was going on, and there's nothing much to look at other than the cars. This is probably because the basic premise in The Fast and The Furious movies is one that gets old fairly quickly, and the novelty of the first title has already worn off. As a treat, here's a picture of Vin Diesel in 10 years:

Steven Seagal