Friday, July 22, 2011

The Fast and the Furious (2001) [PG-13] ***

Dominic Toretto runs a performance auto shop and a diner, together with his girlfriend Letty, his sister Mia and some childhood buddies. But the two businesses are really just a front for Dominic's hijacking ring that preys on long-haul truckers carrying expensive consumer electronics across the California desert. Then one day, Brian Spilner walks into the diner, orders a tuna sandwich and starts flirting with Mia. It turns out that Spilner is really Brian O'Connor, an undercover police officer, and the trail of stolen electronics has led to Dominic.

The film was co-written by Ken Li, based on his magazine article Racer X, about street clubs that race Japanese cars late at night. There's a glimpse into the L.A. illegal street-racing subculture and how to use NOS to boost engine performance, some great car chase sequences, and a bit about Asian street gangs with motorcycles and automatic weapons with silencers. There's also a great tutorial on how to use three superfast and highly maneuverable street racers to overtake and hijack a speeding 18-wheeler, plus a sobering lesson on what happens when truck drivers decide to fight back.


Vin Diesel is excellent as Dominic, with just the right combination of street smarts, business skills, muscle and heart, and Michelle Rodriguez is passionate and compelling as his girlfriend Letty. Paul Walker is cool and detached as Brian Spilner/O'Connor, and while Jordana Brewster is attractive as Dominic's sister Mia, she has a small role and her romantic chemistry with Walker is understated at best. If you like action-adventure films with car chases and guns, films that give you an adrenalin rush, films like Fast & Furious (2009), Gone in 60 Seconds, The Italian Job, The Transporter and Transporter 2, then you should not miss The Fast and the Furious, the film that launched the film franchise.


Labels: action, crime, thriller
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 58/100
Tomatometer (critics=54, viewers=68)
Blu-ray1
Blu-ray2
Blu-ray3

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