Directed by: Rob Cohen
Written by:Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, David Ayer
Starring: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordanna Brewster, Rick Yune
Released: September 20, 2001
Grade: B

The adrenaline was pumping.

The Fast And The Furious is 100% action and 0% story (what else did you expect?) but is so unbelievably over-the-top that chances are, you’ll like it anyway.  Dom Toretto (Diesel) is the top-dog in the world of drag racing.  He organises regular night races on the streets of L.A. and his reputation is deserved - he’s never beaten.  Brian Spilner (Walker) is a young hot head who has foolishly pink slipped his car in a match race against Dom and found himself on the losing end.  However when police raid the activities, Brian’s daring driving saves Dom from certain arrest and a “friendship” between them is formed.

Frankly, there isn’t much more to tell.  The story follows no logic, makes no sense and has holes larger than you could imagine.  But hey, from the trailers and advertising (which have been abundant over the past two weeks), that’s not why you’re going right?  I have never, and I repeat never, seen stunts and action performed to this extent.  Some car scenes stretch longer than 10 minutes and the constant revving, screeching and crashing is deafening.

It’s stunning from a visual perspective too.  Director Rob Cohen (Dragonheart, Daylight) has come up with some astounding camera angles and editing techniques to make it seem so real.  It literally is “edge of your seat” stuff.  At the screening I attended, cries of “holy shit” and more elaborate expletives were being spoken throughout.

Of the cast, Vin Diesel (Boiler Room) and Paul Walker (Varsity Blues) have the testosterone charged personalities to match the film’s tone.  Michelle Rodriguez (Girlfight) and Jordanna Brewster (The Faculty) play their respective love interests but are second fiddle to our two rev heads.

The Fast And The Furious has been the surprise hit of the American summer.  It was originally slated for an early 2001 release but phenomenal test screenings caused Universal to take a big chance and open it opposite Eddie Murphy’s Dr. Dolittle 2 and Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider in the peak season.  Shot for just $38m, the film recouped its cost in less than 72 hours and grossed a total of $142m.

In a year of blockbusters filled with computer animation and special effects, it’s nice to see good old fashioned stunts making a comeback.  If you’re going to do it, do it in style and that’s exactly what they’ve done.  I imagine nothing could be done to top this but I’m sure studios are already launching a full scale attack to surpass it (and cash in too).