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Archive for December 23rd, 2008

They should’ve just called it “Testosterone in Overdrive”.

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Brian Spilner is an undercover police agent assigned to infiltrate a group of fast-living street racers whom the police suspect are guilty of organizing and perpetrating raids on 18 wheelers carrying high priced loads of electronics.   Spilner successfully gets into the tight-knit group of racers but doesn’t count on befriending the leader, Dominic Toretto, or falling in love with his sister, Mia.

At first glance, The Fast and The Furious is a slick, souped up flick that features cars, girls and more car races than you can count on your fingers, but upon closer examination the terrible flaws in the movie begin to stand out.    It’s not even suitable enough to be movie crack, I’ll put it that way, that’s for sure.

I mean, it’s just terrifically awful in every sense.  While the car chases and cars are impressive, Ja Rule (what the hell was he doing in this movie anyways?) pontificates philosophically to Brian that “it’s not how you stand by your car, it’s how you race your car”.   Wow.    How deep is that?   I believe a wise man once said, “No shit, Sherlock”.   Hey, what can you say?   The same guy that wrote this movie wrote S.W.A.T. (and remarkably enough, Training Day, which is light years better).

It’s pretty clear to everyone involved throughout the movie that Brian is a cop and that the Toretto team is indeed the gang responsible for the trailer heists, but no one seems to fully clue into this.   You wonder at times if these people aren’t in need of a crash helmet and a Sherpa guide just to survive through everyday life.

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Paul Walker really is no great shakes.    There’s something tiring about watching a man struggle through a movie; at times it’s as though you can see the rusty wheels turning in his head as Walker attempts to remember his lines, contort his face and hit his mark appropriately.  It’s awkward, it’s forced, and it’s at times really painful to watch.

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Walker’s character, Spilner, is so incredibly thick that it’s draining to watch.   He avoids thinking even remotely about the fact that Toretto could be the truck robber that it’s spasm-inducing to watch.

But more than anything, the heavy overdose of testosterone and uber-manliness  is what finally wears a stretched movie raw.

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Toretto feuds with other racers; his own team feuds with each other and it’s a strange brew of men proving themselves through women, cars and pure violence.   It’ll make your eyes roll right on out of your head because I anticipated at least someone either pissing on another person’s leg to mark their territory, a headbutt, or a “Me Tarzan, You Jane” moment by the end of the film.

The ending hinges on Brian and his choices as a police officer and a friend and he chooses to let Toretto have the easy way out and escape.  When I was a kid, my dad used to call movies like these “lowest common denominator” movies, in the sense that only the lowest common denominator of the population would attend and not question what they had just seen – like the massive gaping plotholes and ridiculous aspects of the film, as well as the movie’s message – but instead love the movie for the slick, surface glossiness.

The Fast and the Furious is little more than a thin, dribbling gruel of macho style and it’s not very entertaining even for that.

What is shocking is that they will now have squeezed three sequels out of this thing when they weren’t pumping much into the first one in the first place.

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