Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Gal Gadot
Director: Justin Lin
Running Time: 107 mins
Fast & Furious is an American film and the fourth in the Fast & Furious series. After having returned to the FBI, Brian O’Conner joins forces with Dominic Toretto to bring down a drug smuggler on the Mexican border by infiltrating the operation.
After the seemingly random break to the Far East in Tokyo Drift, we’re back with Brian and Dom in the main series. Unfortunately, that’s not much of a cause for celebration, as Fast & Furious fails to mark an exciting or compelling return for either of the characters, nor does it manage to find a balance between an increasingly action-oriented vibe and a good story, making for an incredibly loud, yet very dull watch.
If there’s one thing that I was happy to see from this film though, it was the return of the two main characters. As Brian and Dom’s first on screen pairing since the very first film, Fast & Furious manages to get you excited early on about another tense and intriguing dynamic between the two leads.
Although that doesn’t actually materialise quite so well, Paul Walker and Vin Diesel’s chemistry is very strong once again here, and the two are far better and more layered characters than anybody in Tokyo Drift.
What’s more is that this film is the first to really feel like a big Hollywood blockbuster. There are positives and negatives to be taken from that, but on the one hand, it feels very polished and certain in comparison to its three relatively dated predecessors, and although you could say it loses a little bit of its character as a series as a result, I found the higher production value to be a good improvement.
The problem with this movie, however, is that it feels way too much like a video game, and doesn’t manage to provide either an interesting enough story nor a ludicrous and over-the-top atmosphere to compensate for that.
It may be a nice change from the heavily stylised music video vibes of the first three films, but Fast & Furious seems all too content to throw explosions and crashes in your face without ever picking sides on whether it wants to be an exciting thriller or an all-out popcorn fest.
If the film didn’t take itself so seriously, with a story that still inclines towards a degree of tension and drama amidst all of the action, and went for something a little more ridiculous, I would have been perfectly happy to sit through 2 hours of mindless madness.
However, given that the atmosphere here is still a little more serious, the performances are a lot more assured, and it’s not egging you on to smile and laugh at all of its action, but rather sit on the edge of your seat, it’s difficult to really get into a fun groove with this film, making it both an annoyingly loud and still frustratingly serious watch, never managing to strike the right balance for a simply entertaining blockbuster.
What’s more is that the story here just isn’t that interesting. The dynamic between Brian and Dom that I found so surprisingly interesting in the first film isn’t quite the same, and with interference from a collection of other characters who I just couldn’t care about as much, this film doesn’t manage to get you engaged with the return of the best part of the series’ best film so far, which is a big disappointment.
Overall, I was frustrated by Fast & Furious. It does have much better production value that moves away from the MTV style of the first three films, and the return of the two main characters is a welcome one, but with an infuriating inability to pick between being a tense action thriller or a mad blockbuster, as well as an underwhelming and uninteresting story, it’s a pretty dull film to watch, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.6.