Maybe I'm asking for micromanagement at this point. I don't like the idea that 2 Fast 2 Furious is PG-13 as is Fantastic Beasts. That's weird.
DIRECTOR: John Singleton
See? This is what I was afraid of. I knew that watching The Fast and the Furious franchise was going to be tough, but the first movie tricked me! That's not fair! The first movie was watchable! 2 Fast 2 Furious was so bad. Like, if the entire franchise was thoroughly awful, I could have prepped by hate watching the whole thing. But I at least expected the movies to be quasi entertaining while being awful. When I watch RiffTrax or Mystery Science Theater 3000, there's a tipping point with how bad the movie can get before it gets to be hard to watch. This movie got really close to that.
Probably the worst thing I can say about an action movie that has a moderate amount of action is that the movie is plain boring. The Fast and the Furious didn't really have that problem. Again, and I can't state this enough, The Fast and the Furious is not a good movie. But it understood some fundamentals about action and pacing. This movie starts off with another street race (big surprise) and then this is where the movie establishes that it doesn't really have the chops as the first film. The one thing that the first movie really got right was the insistence on practical stunts and effects. This was a slight CG nightmare from 2003. 2003 wasn't a pretty time for CG special effects. There's aren't heinous, but they are very noticable. In this one moment, when I saw a cropped and pasted Paul Walker head inside of a digital race car, I could feel the sadness leak into my soul. I didn't care. I didn't care about Bond in Die Another Day for the same reason. No one was really doing these stunts. I know that I bemoaned that the races weren't that impressive because it was straight line racing where a guy had to push a button. But there was a real car and there was a real button. This movie starts off with a sequence that has insane car stunts that could never be done because no one had actually done them. These cars are all over the road, doing tricks and insane things that just pass plausibility. I don't watch this franchise for its attention to accuracy, but I need some suspension of disbelief.
I also have to wag my finger at something even more important. This movie might present the biggest emotional cop out imaginable. (I didn't mean the pun and I'm not going to explain it any further. I feel like a bad person.) The first film set up a stinger for Vin Diesel's Dom to be hiding out in Mexico and the short attached to the first movie showed Brian on the run from the police, facing consequences for his actions. I was really ready for this cool, albeit probably superficial, look at a man looking at the choices he made with his life while fleeing the police. Think of the opportunities! What does the movie do? Completely ignore the stakes that the first film set up and do a really bad rehash of the first film. They made Brian work undercover for the police all over again, this time under marginally different circumstances. He teams up with Tyrese Gibson's Rome, who is meant to serve as a poor substitute for Vin Diesel. I may mention this later, but I really think that 2003 might have been one of those writers' strike years. This movie is a really bad rehash of the first film, only throwing Brian into the crime element all the harder. I hate this plot so much. Besides missing the pathos that should be explored, the reality of the situation is absurd. There is no real threat of permanent incarceration, a lifeline, or an emergency freeing Brian from his crimes. Rather, immediately after capture, he is thrown back into another case, not forgiven, but who cares? They brought back the guy from the first movie and they have no problem with each other. Brian betrayed everyone and everything he knew, but there were no repercussions. Why? Was the movie that hard to make?
Let's go deeper into lazy storytelling. The first movie was an extreme version of the real world. Cops were pretty incompetent and action sequences were possible. You know? Action movie logic. Then movie two invented a science fiction magic car gun. I'm not even going to bold spoilers because I want you to avoid this movie. The police have this weird claw gun that manages to EMP a car pretty instantly. There are so many ways to keep the world of The Fast and the Furious kind of related to the reality it established. But there was a lazy writer who said "Magic Science Car Harpoon" and everyone weirdly got cool with that notion. Were spike strips ever discussed? Those stop a car pretty quickly. I actually started booing the screen when the harpoon showed up later in the movie because they didn't really follow their own rules. (I know that defenders for this movie will have an apology for why the magic harpoon doesn't work the same way. All three contact points weren't synced correctly. Shut up. Okay, don't shut up. But we can all admit that was some malarky.) But I did "boo" pretty hard. I got mad.
I mentioned that there had to be a writers' strike. I'm sure I could Google this. But that is the only explanation for the fact that nothing seemed like it was written correctly. There were so many moments in the movie where I knew that Singleton wanted me to laugh, but there was nothing really funny in the movie. So all of the movie is dependent on Tyrese Gibson confidently selling this absurd character without an actual punchline. Like, I can't fault Gibson for anything in this movie. The script was garbage and there is nothing to work with, so he does the best he can with a nothing situation. Yet this movie managed to grab Eva Mendes and Ludacris! That very casting is ludicrous! (You are welcome.) How did this movie manage to pull so much. I have to wonder about the box office return of the first one and everyone wanted to get into the sequel in the hopes that the franchise would take off like it did.
I don't really know what this story was about. I knew that there was a bad guy and he was a bad guy because he was rich, looked slimy, and had evil music over his sequences. But the movie is once again about generic tropes. I know that John Singleton is a famous director. He directed Boyz in the Hood, so he has to have talent. Why would he attach himself to such a crummy property. Was Universal in such a rush to release this movie. I know that the sequel on a lot of franchises is often the worst because the studio usually have to strike while the iron is hot. But this is a movie of sheer laziness. Every time the movie ran into a problem, it ignored the problem. Brian straight up gets some thugs murdered and doesn't even blink an eye. In fact, he smiles. How does the movie not address that he has clearly become a monster? This is the guy who revealed his identity and previous life for a guy who was making his life a living hell before. Why is he pancaking strangers and why is he excited about it? I can't stand the laziness of this movie, yet I set a goal to watch the rest of this franchise. This is the movie that makes me never want to open the box set again. I wish that I believed that the studio would see this as a wake up call, but I have a feeling that Tokyo Drift is going to try to squeeze water out of that stone one more time.
I can do this. I can do this. I've watched bad movies before. Regardless, I go into more detail on the podcast. Ideally, that will be out soon. I'll link it on this page.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.