Muscle beats the imports
By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG Universal
BIG asterix on “more furious”.
Yours has never seen the first The Fast & The Furious (1955) or the more recent – The Fast & The Furious (2001) with Vin Diesel or the two fast flicks that were to follow – including the notoriously bad The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006).
So, my reference is skewed in the sense that I’m completely new to the series.
In case you’re wondering, I missed Transformers (2007) and Pixar’s Cars, too. I understand Paul Newman made a blue eyed impression as an old Hudson in the latter and Megan Fox lit more than rubber in the former.
But as it happens yours has a really cute girlfriend who has a younger brother who’s fascinated with man-made contraptions that go fast on four points of rubber. Hence, Fast and Furious (4) was mandatory viewing this weekend past.
I’m glad I went to see it.
Not for the plot or the acting. Who goes to see a Vin Diesel action thriller for the plot? That said – FYI- Mr. Diesel, nee Mark Vincent, deserves some thespian credit for first cutting his teeth in Off-Off Broadway plays.
Yes, the man who would do such poignant titles as xXx (2002) and Boiler Room (2000) started his career performing on stage (and being a part-time NYC club bouncer, go figure).
Vin Diesel does good in the film even if his role idles his acting tach at a sleepy 800 rpms. Who cares? How many Shakespearian trained artists would trade in Hamlet for the $2 million he’s paid to NOT act?
What really appeals about the Fast and Furious is that we’re treated with what’s essentially a true 90s action flick. Low on plot, high on nitrous fueled special effects – only these are shot and edited brilliantly – the explosions and the rides take us away from our daily troubles and into an automotive what-if world completely disconnected from reality.
Well, not completely disconnected. I spoke too soon.
Burning in the story’s backdrop is the blood soaked drug trade on the US-Mexican border – which is pretty timely. Kudos to the writers Chris Morgan and Gary Scott Thompson for highlighting this conflict which at this moment is destroying lives.
Back to the superficial.
Cool cars abound. And some get brutally destroyed – like an E39 generation BMW M5 and a Subaru WRX Sti. Muscle always “beats imports”, we’re told, as a high-rolling tool surrounded by surgically augmented bunnies mocks one of the movie’s protagonists (who loses a race from behind the wheel of an old school GT-R). The tool, needless to say, gets a righteous comeuppance courtesy the FBI that delighted the whole audience.
And regarding this public appeal, the movie is like fast food, it’s not necessarily good for you, but it hits the spot when you need a (petrol) fix. All the requisite emotive buttons are there: loyalty, betrayal, angst, lust, greed, compassion and are bluntly pushed at every obvious turn.
But nevertheless the whole theater hooped and hollered with each predictable outcome. And when Vin Diesel’s character gets arrested and a judge reluctantly hands him a mean sentence despite all Vin’s good deeds, a viewer who was caught in the emotion of the moment cried out in anguish – “Man, that’s some bull$#!t!”
My sentiments, entirely. I might have joined him in expressing similar grief if only that I knew that like so many 90s action flicks I’d seen before – the outcome of this Fast and Furious couldn’t quite end on such a down note.
I wasn’t disappointed. And if you go (for kicks) you won’t be either.