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In 2001, The Fast and the Furious film became a sleeper hit and propelled Vin Diesel into a higher pay scale among Hollywood actors. It did much better than expected at the box office, which ensured that a sequel would be forthcoming. Fast forward two years and you have Universal trying to make lightning strike twice with 2 Fast 2 Furious. The difference….Vin Diesel’s newfound stardom had him asking for a larger paycheck than the studio was willing to offer. The producers were able to sign Diesel’s co-star, Paul Walker, but after a somewhat successful release at the box office, it became obvious that it was really the cars that moviegoers came to see the first time around.

The Movie
As the film begins, former Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Conner (Walker) is on the run. Having let Vin Diesel’s character walk away at the end of the first movie has left him a fugitive from justice, and (as we are shown in a 6 minute “prequel” first seen on the “Tricked Out” edition of the first movie’s DVD but once again included here) he has worked his way across the southern United States by winning various street racing competitions. He ends up in Miami, and it is not long into the film that he is finally tracked down and caught. However, he is given a chance to clear all the charges against him if he helps to take down a Miami drug lord, Carter Verone. Ultimately, Brian agrees, if he can choose his own partner in the operation. He chooses an old one-time friend, now rival of his, Roman Pearce, played by Tyrese. At first the two spend much of their time arguing and fighting over past disagreements, until both realize they have a chance to start a new life by having the federal government clear their names.

2 Fast 2 Furious

Already on the inside of the drug cartel is US Customs Agent Monica Fuentes, played by Eva Mendes. She has been undercover for over a year, and is currently Verone’s girlfriend and business manager. She arranges for O’Conner and Pearce to be hired as Verone’s new drivers, who will help transport thousands of dollars of laundered money to Verone at a predetermined location so he can leave the United States forever. There’s only one problem….Verone intends to kill O’Conner and Pearce after they fulfill their part of the deal. Fuentes alerts the pair to Verone’s intent and the two are left with a decision to make. If they don’t help the feds take down Verone, they will both go back to jail, and if they do help the feds they could both end up dead.

Probably the biggest problem with the movie is the story and the dialogue. The main characters are basically stereotypes with absolutely no depth, and the lines that all of the actors are given to say are at times almost laughable. At one point I lost count of how many times Walker’s character used the word “bro”. Pearce summed it up best when he says, “This is Dukes of Hazzard %$#&!” Although, now that I think about it, the Dukes of Hazzard actually entertained me more.

2 Fast 2 Furious

Video
The transfer of the film is decent enough. It is crisp and clean and shows no blemishes whatsoever. The many colors of the different automobiles are kept rather sharp and overall it is a very crisp video presentation. Flesh tones are practically perfect.  Presented in anamorphic widescreen, this enhances many of the car action scenes as we are able to see a fuller, more panoramic view of the stunts in the film. There is no dust visible in the transfer and the nighttime scenes in Miami further help to show the deep colors.

Audio
The audio is presented in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and it makes the most of the different channels. The bass is used extensively in the car scenes, and they do well in immersing the viewer in the action as it literally seems as though cars are racing all around you. It was a a treat to follow the cars from one channel to the next as though they were actually racing in my living room. There is never a loss in volume and the songs (especially "Act the Fool") by Ludacris is presented well. My one complaint is that the original film included a DTS track, and this one did not.

Extras
The main menu lets you choose one of three different “rides” with which to access the movie and extras, either Brian’s car, Roman’s car or Suki’s car. Although you can play the movie and access the bulk of the bonus material from each of these, there are some extras which are unique to which “ride” you choose. No matter which ride you choose, you are given the option of either starting the movie from the aforementioned prequel or from where the actual film began. You also have the option of watching the film with animated anecdote pop-ups. I found the majority of these to not be very enlightening or interesting, but some do offer slight insight into some of the actors or automobiles in general.

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The first of the common extras is a 9 minute featurette on the making of the film. It does not really offer anything revealing to the viewer, but does touch upon the culture of street racing a bit. After some deleted scenes (which are introduced by Singleton and often are just extended scenes from the film) and outtakes (the majority of which involve Tyrese laughing and playing up to the camera), there is a very brief look at how to “trick out” an import car, by repainting, upping the horsepower and installing speakers and amps. Next is what, in my opinion, is the best of the extras, a look at what went into creating the big stunt at the end of the film. It looks at how the stunt is created, from the planning stage, to being laid out in computer animation, to the actual filming of the stunt. Although brief, it is the best piece of the bonus materials. After a short feature on the making of rap star Ludacris’ video for the movie’s main theme, “Act the Fool” there is a trailer for the upcoming The Fast and the Furious video game.

In addition, there is commentary by the director John Singleton. Much of his commentary is spent admiring the different scenes, explaining how he “loved that pan” or “loved that shot”. Although he does his best to add to the film, in the end it is difficult to add to something which itself is so lacking.

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In the extras unique to each “ride”, there are brief featurettes on the different actors, their cars and how they were selected for the actors, and short views of each of the actors in their driving school prior to the filming of the film. Again very brief in length, it does give each of the three actors a chance to talk about their love for the story, the director, the cars, etc.  In addition, it is somewhat interesting to see each of them engaging in their driving training for the film.

In the end, all of the extras are either uninteresting or too brief. Just as each began, it seemed that they were over. The one that I truly wished was longer, on the main stunt in the film, does well, but left me wanting to know more.

Overall
While there are some interesting scenes in the movie, and the cars are always nice to look at, in the long run the movie is 2 bad 4 words and the DVD just doesn’t hold up. If you’re a luke-warm fan of cars, rent it in the video store. Only diehard fans of either the actors or automobiles will want to spend their hard earned money on this disc.


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