Our resident old-school British film enthusiast was set a task – could he find anything redeemable about 2 Fast 2 Furious? Here's Andrew Roberts' view
At first sight, this was a strange - almost surreal – assignment from staff writer Mr. Calum Brown. For those fortunate/unfortunate/traumatised (delete where necessary) few who are familiar with my writing, it will be fairly obvious that I have little nostalgia for early 20th century and indeed believe that the retirement of the last black Wolseley 6/110 from the London Metropolitan Police was a watershed in the decline of civilisation.
Even my PhD thesis was on British cinema and stopped in 1965, yet all the above means that I am possibly the ideal chap to review 2 Fast 2 Furious as this will bring a sense of perspective to the drama.
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The first question the film poses is – surely that is not a genuine 1969 Camaro Yenko S/C? Looking at the picture, it would seem to be one genuine article plus several doctored stunt cars. Especially if it is going to take part in such stunts as these:
The second is that even in the Florida underworld of the early 2000s, there had to be a more efficient way of the drugs lord Carter Verone recruiting a driver than having applicants retrieve an item that has been left in his car:
'My red Ferrari was confiscated yesterday, and it sits in an impound lot in Little Haiti. It's about 20 miles from here. The car isn't important. What is important is the package I left in the glove box. The first team back here with the package will have an opportunity to work for me.'
Leaving aside the fact that Carter should go about with the word 'Villain' emblazoned on the side of his cars (and on his hat), such is his understated and subtle air of menace, it is clear that the assembled macho square-jawed types could refuse such a tempting offer of employment.
Alas, a Saleen S281 is destroyed en route in an encounter with an International and a Peterbilt - clearly the hapless driver had never watched Spielberg’s Duel – while a Chevrolet Corvette C5 and a BMW 323iS Coupé meet with an equally unfortunate end.
As for Brian O’Conner and Roman Pearce, their antics attract the attention of every law enforcement agency in the area; this may be a minor point, but an essential aspect of a drug runner’s duties is the ability to maintain a reasonably low profile.
Are there any redeeming features?
But then 2 Fast 2 Furious is never too concerned with plausibility. This is a boys’ own adventure combined with car chases that are reminiscent of The Dukes of Hazzard or the original Smokey and the Bandit, on crack cocaine.
The late Paul Walker is a very agreeable leading man and if the script does not require him to do an awful lot more that pull macho faces from behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer “Evo VII” the entire cast evidently know that they are playing cartoon figures.
This is the sort of film where our hero barks such lines as ‘check it out - there is no way we gonna beat these guys that Hemi putting out 425. The Yenko will snap a speed about 5 second flat!’.
Perhaps the great critic Roger Ebert encapsulated the appeal of 2 Fast 2 Furious when he wrote that it was:
'A video game crossed with a buddy movie, a bad cop-good cop movie, a Miami drug lord movie, a chase movie and a comedy. It doesn't have a brain in its head, but it's made with skill and style and, boy, is it fast and furious.'
And it is the sort of film that would be almost impossible to envisage being made in the UK – a British version would probably have recruiters to a zero-hours contract non-job devising an application process involving an M25 “street chase” between a ’95 Mondeo and a ’94 Rover 600…
You can buy 2 Fast 2 Furious (if you really feel the need to...) through online retailer Amazon.