The Fast and the Furious Review
Every night in LA, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and others like him take part in illegal street races. Men in high-performance cars tooled and powered to the limits, go head to head to see who is the fasted of them all. Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker) is an undercover cop who has become part of Dominic's crowd. He's there to investigate a series of truck hijackings, which are somehow linked to the street-racing scene...
Not all films aspire to be Oscar-winners; some aim simply to entertain. One reason why so much is wrong with Hollywood at the moment is that when it tries to make straightforward, unpretentious genre films, it can't seem to get them right. However, The Fast and the Furious is an exception to that rule. As lean, stripped-down, fast and loud (and believe me, it's very loud, especially when played with a digital soundtrack) as the cars which are its subject, it's one of the best action films to come along for quite a while. Rob Cohen is a little too impersonal to be an auteur, and his films have been variable, but at his best (with films like Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and this) he's efficient and certainly entertaining. Importantly, the key action sequences are performed for real, by trained stunt drivers, without any great reliance on CGIs. You can sense the difference, and you'll be on the edge of your seat.
Vin Diesel confirms here what Pitch Black demonstrated: though not conventionally handsome, he's got charisma and screen presence to spare. As a result, he steals the film from the nominal protagonist, Paul Walker. The women in the film, Jordana Brewster (as Mia, Dominic's sister and Brian's love interest) and Michelle Rodriguez (as Letty, Dominic's girlfriend) don't have a great deal to do either.
Incidentally, the film continues for a couple of minutes after the final credits have rolled.
The Fast and the Furious is basically a B movie, but good B movies are nothing to be ashamed of. This one certainly does what it says on the tin.