'Fast & Furious:' It is what it is

Posted: Friday, April 10, 2009

First of all, feel free to be "that guy" to all of your friends when they ask if you have seen "The Fast and the Furious." There are a slew of sarcastic responses, but the gist is this: "Yeah I have. Why, do you want to rent it or something?"

Courtesy Of Universal Pictures
Courtesy Of Universal Pictures

See, "The Fast and the Furious" came out back in 2001. True, it is the reason we now have four of these films on record. True, it is also the reason Paul Walker and Vin Diesel are very rich actors.

However, this new one features no "the" in its title. It's simply "Fast & Furious."

Simply is probably a good approach with "Fast & Furious," actually. In sports the cliché for this generation is, "It is what it is." I find that phrase to be quite appropriate when reviewing an action film. Perhaps some view that as a copout and would prefer I use this space to dissect the character growth - or lack thereof --of Diesel's Dominic Toretto. Maybe I should focus more on the anxious relationship between Toretto and Walker's Brian O'Conner.

Where's Amy Poehler when I need her? Really? I mean, really?

I look at it the other way: Who are these people that go to a movie such as "Fast & Furious" and come out surprised it was mostly car chases and explosions? I want to meet one of the folks that come out saying they didn't think the storyline was all that plausible.

The deal with "Fast & Furious" is simple. Give it 10 minutes. The first 10 minutes is the only barometer that's needed to determine whether you're in or out. Director Justin Lin, who got his furious feet wet with the franchise's third installment ("The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift"), wisely throws us immediately into a patented fast & furious sequence. The movie opens in the Dominican Republic on a lonely highway where an oil carrying 18-wheeler is trudging along seemingly by itself. If you have seen "The Fast and the Furious," however, you should remember how Toretto and his crew do things.

The trucker is not alone on the highway. Toretto, his girl Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and a few others are right behind him. Toretto has his muscle car, while the other two vehicles are heavy-duty tow trucks. Naturally, when Letty jumps onto the 18-wheeler, she proceeds to unhitch the massive oil containers while a tow truck drives in reverse and latches on to the load. Naturally. Implausible as heck and fun as hell. Don't worry, things don't go off without trouble and there is most definitely a fantastic explosion as well as a cliff at the end of a decline on the highway... all of the essentials.

There is hardly time to think during these first 10 minutes, let alone apply the laws of physics to what you're seeing.

You're either in, or you're out. Quite simple.

If you're in, enjoy the ride. If you're in, you also have to agree to accept the slightly older, a tad less dreamy, and still occasionally awful acting of Paul Walker. You have to pretend not to notice Diesel's odd saggy chin when he's shot in profile. Oh, and you definitely have to agree to throw any expectations of meaningful storyline, character development and reality out the window.

Just toss it out there. Go ahead. It's alright, it's biodegradable.

If you do that, "Fast & Furious" is a fast-paced, well executed action flick. Heck, even Diesel and Walker have their moments.

It is what it is, baby! Enjoy it!

• Check out Carson's movie blog at www.juneaublogger.com/movies

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