Fast & Furious

Fast & Furious

2009, PG-13, 107 min. Directed by Justin Lin. Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Gal Gadot, Jack Conley, Shea Whigham, Liza Lapira.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., April 3, 2009

Back in 2001, when we first met renegade street racer Dominic Toretto (Diesel), he was jacking DVD players from big rigs. My, how the times have changed: In this third sequel in the Fast/Furious franchise, Toretto and his team have moved on to an elaborately staged highway heist of … an oil truck. (What's next? Faster, Furiouser, and Stealing Food Stamps?) In fact, it's a marvelously staged and shot opening sequence, the first of a half-dozen or so car races that blessedly put a brake stop to every leaden stretch of dramatic interplay. (There's also a halfhearted chase on foot, but really, in the era of Bourne and Bond, what's the point?) Fast & Furious reunites the original four leads of flagship film The Fast and the Furious: Toretto; his snarly girlfriend, Letty (Rodriguez); his little sister, Mia (Brewster); and onetime friend Brian (Walker), an undercover cop who meant to bring down Toretto's smuggling ring but instead fell in love with Mia – and not a little bit with Toretto, too, with his fast cars, otherworldly pecs, and code of honor. That dynamic – among characters and, perhaps, among the actors portraying them – continues in Fast & Furious, and it's one of the sidelong pleasures of the piece: to watch now-FBI agent Brian trailing Toretto like some eager, gently abused younger brother, and to contrast Walker's pretty, blank aura of bro-dom with Diesel's essential badassness. (The bald pate, the Hulk proportions barely contained by an undershirt, the delivery of every line with the same monotoned husky menace – all this would be risible were it not for the feeling that Diesel's in on the joke.) The story, by Chris Morgan and Gary Scott Thompson, is a bust – a standard-issue revenge tale – and is slickly interpreted by Lin, who also directed the more or less stand-alone The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Nothing here hews remotely close to reality: certainly not the slo-mo pans of scantily clad women groping each other at house parties and parking lot raves nor the continued employment of Brian, quite possibly the world's most incompetent cop. No matter. The stripped-down title gets at what we're really here for: the cars. Are they fast? Check. Are they furious? Yep. Does the heart rate respond in Pavlovian fashion to every shot of a speedometer rising, every pedal pushed to the metal? Sure thing. One wishes Fast & Furious had the whole package – as much smarts as speed – but as an uncomplicated, undemanding lark, it'll do.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Justin Lin Films
Star Trek Beyond
The Enterprise crew get trapped on a hostile planet

Kimberley Jones, July 29, 2016

Fast & Furious 6
The curiously addictive fast-cars franchise is still committed to excess.

Kimberley Jones, May 24, 2013

More by Kimberley Jones
We Have an Issue: And The Award for “Loosiest-Goosiest Award Show Reimagining” Goes To ...
We Have an Issue: And The Award for “Loosiest-Goosiest Award Show Reimagining” Goes To ...

March 5, 2021

We Have an Issue: Don’t Let Them Get Away With It
We Have an Issue: Don’t Let Them Get Away With It
It’s time to reckon with how our state governemnt failed us – and if it was by design

Feb. 26, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Fast & Furious, Justin Lin, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Gal Gadot, Jack Conley, Shea Whigham, Liza Lapira

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle