2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Directed by John Singleton
Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) takes his talents to South Beach in “2 Fast 2 Furious,” the ludicrous/Ludacris second installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise. Despite the fact that he had his badge stripped in “The Fast and the Furious,” O’Conner is sent undercover to investigate a Miami thug named Carter Verone (Cole Hauser), who has been exporting drugs (so says the synopsis…we never actually see any drugs). Agent Monica Funetes (Eva Mendes) has been deep undercover for months, living and sleeping with the enemy, but hasn’t gotten the evidence needed to put Verone away. O’Conner calls in a childhood friend and accomplished driver, Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), to help him find compelling evidence to put Verone away. But in this cat and mouse game, it looks like Verone might have the upper paw.
In a 2003 interview with director John Singleton (yes, the special features on these “Fast and Furious Collection” Blu-rays are being utilized), the “Boyz n the Hood” auteur said that nearly 80% of the cast-members in “2 Fast 2 Furious” were first-timers. I believe it. The acting from most of the people involved would have been enough to turn me off the franchise altogether. And it still would, if I didn’t know of the promise that lay ahead. Only Walker, Gibson, and sometimes Ludacris (as street racing tycoon Tej) are even barely presentable actors. The rest—especially Hauser and James Remar, as an FBI agent—are hard to watch. It’s scary bad.
When “2 Fast 2 Furious” released, Walker called the action “unreal.” Like its predecessor, this sequel is full of unbelievable stunts that compromise realism for fun. I have no problem with that, if only they had kept it to the action. Instead, the suspension of disbelief bleeds into the plot, where police procedure is thrown out the window for the sake of the story. It’s like the worst of the “Lethal Weapon” movies. I expected this of the 90s, but it’s now the new millennium. I expected the filmmakers to work through the difficulties of the script, not just fly over any speedbumps with reckless abandon like their poorly written characters might do. Granted, “2 Fast 2 Furious” also falters in the absence of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster—what we would eventually come to know as the family. Only one scene, the cop chase to end all cop chases (but really, does Miami even have that many police cruisers?), lets “2 Fast 2 Furious” play in the same game as the others in the franchise. Otherwise, it was a blown casket.