Directed by: John Singleton
Written by:Michael Brandt, Derek Haas
Starring: Paul Walker, Tyrese, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Thom Barry, James Remar
Released: June 5, 2003
Grade: B-

The Fast And The Furious was one of the success stories of 2001 when on a budget of $38 million, it grossed $41 million in its first three days before finishing with a juicy total of $144m.  Blessed with a bigger budget, only Paul Walker returned for the sequel with Vin Diesel turning down the lucrative pay cheque and the studio appointing a new director in John Singleton (Boyz N The Hood).

In the creatively named 2 Fast 2 Furious, Brian O’Connor is now on the other side of the tracks.  He once worked for the LAPD but after letting his man get away (at the end of the first film) he was kicked off the force.  Devoted to drag racing, he’s still the best guy on the street and his reputation is a good as ever.  However when the police bust an illegal race, O’Connor is arrested and faces time in the slammer unless he cooperates with the cops.

They’ll wipe his record clean if he’ll help them bring down a drug lord named Carter Verone (Hauser) who also has a love for fast cars.  An undercover agent (Clemente) is already posing as Carter’s mistress but she’s going to need help to bring down this powerful leader.  Brian will only do the job if he can choose his own partner and with a moral debt to repay, he asks past friend Roman Pearce (Tyrese) to be that man.  All is in place and the games are about to begin…

Surprisingly, the narrative holds up and despite the predictability of it all, I enjoyed the story.  It shares many similarities with the original but the new cast keep it interesting.  It isn’t as humorous but the action sequences are on par, if not better, than the 2001 release.  For director John Singleton, it’s his first true crack at the action genre and I had criticisms but was satisfied with the overall picture.  The two men who deserve the most praise are editors Bruce Cannon (Poetic Justice) and Dallas Puett (Tomb Raider) who have sliced hours of footage with ultimate precision.  They have crafted visually dynamic car chase sequences which will get that heart pumping.

The obligatory sequel is now behind us and once again, it has been a profit making vehicle for Universal Pictures.  Nothing is in writing yet but to satisfy the public’s growing need for speed, I’d be betting on another follow up… with another creative title.