The Fast and the Furious (2001) starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Ja Rule directed Rob Cohen Movie Review

The Fast and the Furious (2001)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious

Diesel Powered

"The Fast and the Furious", or as it should have been known 'Boy Racer's Go Wild', is in all honesty, little more than an excuse for pimped up cars and plenty of action. Not that it is a terrible movie; in fact "The Fast and the Furious" is an enjoyable bit of escapism. But with a plot about an undercover cop which has been used more times than I care to remember, and other than Vin Diesel and the cavalcade of pimped up cars, there is really little else to "The Fast and the Furious" and certainly no depth.

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in The Fast and the Furious

Los Angeles Cop Brian (Paul Walker - She's All That) goes under cover in the night time world of street racing to try and crack a hijacking ring. Except he becomes attached to the gang of street racers lead by the charismatic Dominic (Vin Diesel - Boiler Room) and his loyalties are tested when they become the prime suspects.

Probably "The Fast and the Furious" biggest problem is the lack of a decent and original storyline. As soon as you know you are watching an undercover cop, things become very predictable and for those who watch other movies such as "Point Break" will not only be able to predict the outcome but will be able to foretell what the next scene is, it is really that formulaic.

And it doesn't help that the whole relationship scenario between Brian, Dominic and his sister Mia although entertaining and at times a little engrossing seems completely contrived and packed with cliché dialogue as well as play it by number scenes. But in all fairness, the storyline to "The Fast and the Furious" was never going to be that great and would ultimately always play second fiddle to the cars and the action.

Sadly the plot is not the only bad thing about this movie, and other than Vin Diesel as Dominic, the remaining cast appear to struggle. Whether this is down too their inability to act or, as I suspect, a poor script, the delivery does come over as wooden and stiff. Not that I have anything against him, but Paul Walker as Brian Spilner an undercover cop, masquerading as a street racer, must be one of the worst casting decisions ever, as he is unrealistic at being either. It's a shame as Mr. Walker is indeed a reasonable actor, but for me, personally, this was not the movie for him.

The saving grace to "The Fast and the Furious" is Vin Diesel as Dominic, the muscle bound mechanic and hotshot driver who heads his crew of street racers and robbers. Not that he displays any great amount of acting skill, but his casting was absolute perfection and I doubt that "The Fast and the Furious" would have been anywhere near as successful with out him. Other than Michelle Rodriguez putting in a reasonable performance as Dominic's fiery girlfriend Letty, there is not another performance worthy of a mention.

For all its failings, "The Fast and the Furious" is still an enjoyable movie, and a lot of credit should be bestowed upon director Rob Cohen for managing to make the most of what is basically a poor script. Knowing that with a predictable plot and poor dialogue he would struggle to hold an audiences attention, he has switched the focus of the movie to the action and in particular the cars. In some ways, it was a huge gamble, but he has done it so effectively that those fans of action movies will enjoy the spectacular car chases and the pimped up cars will undoubtedly appeal to a generation of petrol heads. Some of the action scenes involving the cars are some of the best choreographed car sequences I have seen for many years and still amaze me every time I watch it.

What this all boils down to that even with all its faults and failings, it is very surprising how enjoyable "The Fast and the Furious" really is. Its appeal will only really find three sets of fans, those who like action, those who like pimped up cars and anyone who like Vin Diesel. It is a shame that the plot and dialogue could not match the stunning special effects and car chases, but sadly it doesn't and stops this from becoming a very spectacular movie.