Also recommended

From October 2001
Film Review

Moulin Rougeother September releases

Film Review Hotline
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS
4 Stars- Recommended

***
Guns, Gas and Diesel

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS site (UIP)

STARS: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Ted Levine, Ja Rule, Rick Yune DIRECTOR: Rob Cohen SCREENPLAY: Gary Scott Thompson
CERTIFICATE: 12 • DISTRIBUTOR
& IMAGE Copyright: UIP
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 45mins
OPENING DATE (UK): September 14

AFTER a summer of just plain crap blockbusters, let’s hear it for the one movie that delivers what its title promises. Rob (Daylight) Cohen’s perfect popcorn picture has fabulous customized cars, scantily-clad sexy babes, hunky moody guys, bare-knuckle brawls and a boot-full of turbo-charged thrills to spare. Plus Vin (Pitch Black) Diesel, the baddest, meanest, coolest and best action man to emerge from the American B-movie in years. This is the junk entertainment machine that Gone in 60 Seconds wanted to be, but it could only dream of hitting such stuntastic high points. It’s like the difference between a Skoda and a Ferrari!

Diesel is Dominic “I live my life a quarter of a mile at a time” Toretto, the main man and champion of LA’s illegal street racing sub-culture. That’s where multi-ethnic gangs hold impromptu Grands Prix, on motorways which they unlawfully cordon off in order to make vast fortunes, in cars souped up to the max with nitrous oxide boosters. But are Toretto and his crew of tune-up misfits, including girlfriend Michelle Rodriguez and tattooed thug Rick Yune, behind a spate of recent truck hijackings for cargoes of top range electronic equipment? That’s what cop Brian Spindler (Walker) goes undercover to find out. As he infiltrates Toretto’s mob and is taken under his wing, he also falls in love with his sister (Brewster), causing a conflict of interest.

So the plot is hardly original. Like the title, it could easily have been lifted from Fifties drive-in exploitation. But Cohen’s fast-paced direction, his sweeping camera, the hyper-stylistic touches (the swift zip-pans and time-lapse tricks are exceptionally fine) and the tight editing pushes the hot and heavy excitement off the speedometer making the breakneck races, hi-octane highway hijacks and crash-bang cop chases electrifying to watch.

While Rodriguez and Brewster are under-used, nothing detracts from the lead up to Walker and Diesel’s face-off as they try to cross a railtrack nano-seconds before a train does to provide a feel-good ending. It’s adrenalin-driven sensation for sensation’s sake that amply provides the pulse-pounding goods. I didn’t have a problem with that, but I suspect many will.

Alan Jones

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Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction.

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