Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez
Director: Rob Cohen
Running Time: 106 mins
The Fast And The Furious is an American film about an undercover policeman who ventures into the world of illegal street racing with the task of discovering the people behind a series of incidents where large trucks have been hijacked by groups of high-performance cars.
Although it’s not a masterpiece of action cinema, nor is it the most enthralling film ever put to screen, The Fast And The Furious is a moderately entertaining movie throughout. Its impressive action sequences mixed with a collection of likable performances make up for a slightly predictable story and some ugly visuals at points, all making for a film that you can enjoy, but won’t inspire too many thrills at any point.
Let’s start on the bright side, and the main reason that you’ll want to watch this movie: the cars. As much as it tries to bring some focus onto characters and crime, the main point of a movie like The Fast And The Furious is to parade a plethora of souped-up cars in front of you for its duration.
But as dumb as that sounds, it actually works rather well here. With its centrepiece being a pretty electrifying drag race sequence full of colours and adrenaline – by far the film’s best moment – and a collection of other excellent car chases and stunts, what this film really does best is work as a showcase for all things petrolhead, which I had great fun with.
What’s even more surprising about this film is that it actually has some characters. I expected this to be a big, hulking blockbuster with no interest in telling a real story, and although it does start off a little like that, the film manages to get into a good stride with an interesting central relationship between Vin Diesel and Paul Walker’s characters.
Now, I’m not going to say that this film had any real emotional hold on me, and the car chases and action sequences are far superior to some of the drearier and quieter character-focused scenes, particularly those that don’t centre on Diesel and Walker’s characters, but I have to say that their dynamic, with the background of Walker playing an undercover cop, was actually a surprisingly interesting part of this film that had me far more engaged than I expected at the beginning.
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of issues with this film that just prevent it from being the exciting action-crime thriller it could have been, one of which is definitely the story. As I just said, the plot that focuses on the two main characters is pretty interesting, but everything around it really isn’t. I didn’t care much for the stakes of Walker’s undercover mission, and nor did I care about any of the romantic relationships and tensions within the main group that make this feel a little too much like a soap opera.
What’s more is that the whole story feels way too similar to Point Break. Right down to Paul Walker’s Keanu Reeves-esque performance, I regularly felt like I was watching the same movie just in a different setting with a different sport, and that’s never a particularly good point to have on your side.
Finally, I have a few issues with the visuals here. With the exception of some genuinely exciting and visually entertaining action sequences, the majority of this movie seems to draped in some sort of weird sepia tone. Already frustrating enough to watch thanks to its dated late 90s MTV vibe, the sepia visuals take a lot of the fun and energy out of the movie, and make the quietest scenes even duller to watch.
Overall, I thought The Fast And The Furious was a decent film. It’s got some great action, performances and two interesting central characters, but its predictable story and generally dull visuals don’t help to make it any more fun than a simple crime movie, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.1.