It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"The Fast and the Furious" remembers summer movies from the days when they were produced by American-International and played in drive-ins on double features. It's slicker than films like "Grand Theft Auto," but it has the same kind of pirate spirit--it wants to raid its betters and carry off the loot. It doesn't have a brain in its head, but it has some great chase scenes, and includes the most incompetent cop who ever went undercover.
According to the In a World Guy, who narrates the trailer, the movie takes place "In a world . . . beyond the law." It stars Vin Diesel, the bald-headed, mug-faced action actor who looks like a muscular Otto Preminger. He plays Toretto, a star of the forbidden sport of street racing, and rockets his custom machine through Los Angeles at more than 100 mph before pushing a button on the dashboard and really accelerating, thanks to a nitrous oxide booster. He also runs a bar where his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) serves "tuna salad on white bread, no crusts" every day to Brian (Paul Walker), who looks a little like white bread, no crusts himself.
Brian hangs out there because he wants to break into street racing, and because he likes Mia. Toretto's gang is hostile to him, beats him up, disses him, and he comes back for more. He ends up winning Toretto's friendship by saving him from the cops. The races involve cars four abreast at speedway speeds down city streets. This would be difficult in Chicago, but is easy in Los Angeles because, as everybody knows, L.A. has no traffic and no cops.
Actually, Brian is a cop, assigned to investigate a string of multimillion-dollar truck hijackings. The hijackers surround an 18-wheeler with three Honda Civics, shoot out the window on the passenger side, fire a cable into the cab and climb into the truck at high speeds. This makes for thrilling action sequences when it works, and an even more thrilling action sequence when it doesn't, in a chase scene that approaches but does not surpass the climax of "The Road Warriors." During the chases, we observe that there is no other traffic on the highway--just the trucks and the Hondas. Anyone who has ever driven a Honda next to an 18-wheeler will know that a Humvee is the wiser choice, but never mind. And only a hopeless realist would observe that leaping through the windshield of a speeding truck is a dangerous and inefficient way of stealing VCRs. In Chicago, the crooks are more prudent, and steal from parked trucks, warehouses and other unmoving targets. Toretto should try it.
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