I left “The Fast and the Furious” eager for more, which surprised me enough. I now leave “2 Fast 2 Furious”, the sequel to that brainless gem, with remorse and indignation. My wrongdoing was apparently to allow myself to be filled with optimism again which I haven’t done since I saw “Godzilla” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” over a year ago. The indignation spawns from how unfair it is that John Singleton, the director of “Boyz n the Hood” which bought him an Oscar nod for best director and best screenplay, fails so spectacularly at a formula that seems so simple. It is mind numbing to think that a movie so similar to its predecessor could be so much worse. Fast cars I can find anywhere, the job of the Director is to convince me that cars smaller than my hand travelling from one end of my screen to another are really going very, very fast. The cars are fake and so they feel fake and any sense of speed that would be derived from the use of an actual real life vehicle (shock! horror!) is left in the CGI dust.
Paul Walker is the only cast member from “The Fast and the Furious” to return for the sequel, which attempts to alleviate the cumbersome use of “the” before each adjective but instead ends up creating a grossly misleading title. The movie was too lazy to explain the back story sufficiently in the actual film so we are provided a “Turbo Charge Prelude” to fill in the blanks. Which is possibly the laziest way to keep people up to date I have ever seen. You might assume that this prelude explains what happened in the first movie for those who haven’t seen it? No, that would be a good idea. This prelude bridges the gap between each film, despicable.
Either way Walker is back as Brian O’Conner who has been on the run from the FBI after the events in the previous film, and he makes his way in Miami doing street races and making unbelievable amounts of money from it. This of course leads us into the opening race sequence which is near identical in set up to the first race in “The Fast and the Furious”. This time however, the race is drawn out like Guy Fawkes (I guess each car represents the quarters in this analogy) and instead of using practical effects which gave the action sequences in the first film a real kinetic tangibility, we are treated to CGI cartoon cars.
John Singleton’s attempt to blatantly recreate Rob Cohen’s scene from the first film fall absolutely flat. A ramp is created which Paul Walker uses to overtake an opponent by literally flying over him in midair and crashing back down onto the tarmac. Its a shame that the use of cars that are clearly not their is only compounded by Singleton shooting the seconds long “stunt” with more cuts than Regan MacNeil.
After winning the race and earning his pay Walker is found by the FBI and he is given an offer to once again go undercover in exchange for having his record wiped clean. O’Conner reluctantly accepts, on the condition that he can pick his co-driver. The lucky man is Roman Pearce played by Tyrese Gibson (credited as Tyrese) who seems to hate O’Conner for being a cop once and blames him for being sent to jail for three years. This attempt to usher in conflict quickly becomes tired and reduced to occasionally bringing it up with Gibson producing a snarl. Very sinister stuff.
On they go, hand in oily hand, to take down the drug lord Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) and boy I can’t wait to see more racing! The issue still remains, none of the action sequences in “2 Fast” are in anyway exciting. the only inventive thing Singleton does in the entire run time is invent a method of torture in which you place a rat in a bucket face down on someones stomach then you heat the bucket with a blowtorch. The only way the rat can escape is by tunneling down, pretty gruesome stuff and it managed to bring the number of emotions I felt whilst watching the film up to a grand total of two. Distress during the torture scene (which doesn’t come to gratuitous fruition thank goodness) and relief when the credits gracefully roll.
I didn’t expect a plot worth a damn but without enjoyable racing to back it up “2 Fast 2 Furious” becomes an abysmal waste of time with practically nothing to offer other than annoyance whilst watching the dreadful Walker and Gibson exchange the word “Brah” as a replacement for the full stop. My enthusiasm for the series has been dashed violently across the tarmac and I now dread the proceedings.
Michael Bay IS the modern master of suspense. Forget Hitchcock, this guy can make me believe that this time things will be different between us. Maybe, just maybe this time will be the money. The first “Transformers” in 2007 was average but I can certainly see the appeal. The second movie, “Revenge of the Fallen” I had down as one of the single worst movies I have ever seen. “Dark of the Moon” in 2011 struck somewhere in the middle of those two quality wise, so when I heard that “Transformers: Age of Extinction” was going to be a “soft” reboot of the franchise I was almost excited. Michael Bay has kicked me in the teeth once again with a movie that is not only jarringly similar to the three previous “Transformer” films but is actually worse than the abomination that is “Revenge of Fallen”.
“Lucy” didn’t last long before I began to re-evaluate my expectations.
“So this is a movie about a girl who uses 100% of her brain to get really smart? Is Luc Besson treating us like idiots with this banal flashback of a rat walking into a trap on purpose? Maybe he is trying to tell us how dumb we are right now… but later on the film will get really smart as Lucy (Scarlet Johansson) gets smart?”
I have seen “Blade” before, I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was silly and indulged itself too often in dumb and over the top action sequences. Upon my second viewing of “Blade” I found myself liking it a lot more. This time I thought it was silly and indulged itself in dumb and over the top action sequences. It’ll split people that way, and maybe I have just loosened up since my initial viewing. Either way, “Blade” is a fun time even if it doesn’t exactly take the mind along for the ride.
There do exist those special movies that alert you to their awfulness minutes into the film. In “Captain America” we are instantly treated to a scene that should be poignant, but instead the foreign language scene leaves us confused due to the scene being half subtitled. Half subtitled shouldn’t be a thing, it’s all or nothing unless you have a damn good reason for it. This movie had a $10,000,000 budget, “Reservoir Dogs” — A film I didn’t enjoy but can still appreciate — was made for $1,200,000. Take this opportunity to really let that sink in. This movie wasn’t theatrically released in America until 2011, and that was to promote the vastly superior “Captain America: The first Avenger“. If I had watched this prior to seeing that then I can tell you I wouldn’t have bothered watching the new one, end of story.
One of Marvel Comics darkest characters, Frank Castle AKA “The Punisher” is unlikely to be back on the screen for a while due to the success of the family Marvel movie. He doesn’t have the star power to attract viewers, and if it isn’t appropriate for parents to bring their kids too, who will see it? The Punisher is a character that will only succeed on the screen if he gets out of comic territory and instead goes for a gritty story similar to how Christopher Nolan managed it with Batman. This rendition of the character — the first of three so far — is dark, brooding, and yawn inducing.
I can’t really recall a time that this has happened before. I have heard of sequels improving on the original before (“Spider-Man 2”, “Goldfinger”, even “Kill Bill Vol.2” as just a few debatable examples) but never to this degree. “The Raid: Redemption” was one of the most beloved action films to have come out in the past few years, and it took many by surprise as it was indeed a low budget foreign film that found significant success overseas. It’s no secret, I hated it, and I still do. I could see why people loved it but it wasn’t for me because people loved it for only one reason, the action. The problem was that if you weren’t a hardcore action — with an emphasis on martial arts — fan then there is almost nothing to enjoy. I can gladly say that Gareth Evans has increased his scope and made a truly stunning martial arts film, that improves on literally everything the original did. I mean it, there is not one thing worse.