By Kim Hollis
June 11, 2003
You might think that it would be really difficult to throw under some of the 2003 releases this year. I’ve seen some atrocious stuff and I’m talking pure, unmitigated evil on a similar level to that of co-contenders for Worst Movie of All Time Jeepers Creepers and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Seriously, I’ve seen Darkness Falls, Dreamcatcher and The Real Cancun. You don’t usually get three movies that horrific in a three-year span, let alone four months. Anyway, those movies look like Casafuckingblanca after sitting through 2 Fast 2 Furious.
I can’t emphasize enough that this film is so horrendous that it makes me feel dirty to even write about it or admit that I saw it. It’s not like I’m all that difficult to please. I enjoyed Old School, Cradle 2 the Grave and Bulletproof Monk enough that I’d give them mild recommendations. But I’d rather sit through a painful dentist visit or possibly even a performance by a local ballet than ever see something so awful as 2 Fast again.
If you guessed that the story is probably simplistic, you get a shiny gold star. In fact, it’s less complicated than a picture book. Here’s the basic outline: Paul Walker, who you might remember just let Vin Diesel escape in the first movie, is no longer a cop and is instead involved in the street racing scene in South Florida. He gets busted and forced to work undercover to try to capture a bad guy of some sort. The customs officers for whom he is working allow him to choose his own partner for whatever reason, so he inconceivably selects Tyrese instead of Vin. It seems he has some guilt over the fact that Tyrese spent three years in the big house so this opportunity helps assuage that problem somewhat. Paul Walker and Tyrese get in good with the bad guy thanks to a hot undercover customs agent named Eva Mendes and ultimately pull off the bust. Interspersed between these plot points are lots of tricked-out cars and girls in bikinis so that people with short attention spans might be fooled into believing shiny=good.
The automatic assumption would be that Paul Walker is the worst actor in the film. And he is terrible. His expressions range from vapid ear-to-ear smile (he does this when he’s not sure what else the scene needs) to furrowed brow. That’s really it. I’m pretty sure my broken blender could deliver lines better than he does. Also, he calls people “bro.” A lot. So, I guess on reflection, he really is the absolute worst actor in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Sadly, I do include the cars in that assessment.
Even with the totally appalling lead turn from Walker, there could have been hope for the film. Tyrese is certainly one of the most attractive men on the planet and the cars and racing might have been entertaining in an adrenaline rush kind of way. But no. Tyrese is almost unwatchable. Mendes, who plays the undercover lady cop, might have been unknowingly signed and instructed on how to deliver her lines under hypnosis. And Devon Aoki, who is as gorgeous a newcomer as I have ever seen, must have studied tapes of Dark Angel and Birds of Prey to suss out a viable acting style. Poor Ludacris has no idea what to do here even though he is able to impart some inkling of talent.
Far worse than any of these other Walkerites, though, is the main villain, played by Cole Hauser. Looking back at his IMDb listing, I see he also starred in School Ties, which ranks right up amongst my other Worst Movies of All Time, so perhaps I’m just holding an ancient grudge. Whenever he talked, I was reminded of Derek Zoolander - but not in the good “Hey, I love Ben Stiller!” way. Instead, he looks like a cross between Steve Guttenberg and Chris Sarandon, so perhaps the Stonecutters are to blame.
“But,” I’m sure some of you will protest, “it’s all about the cars and the racing and the hot chicks!” Here’s the problem with that statement. I liked the first Fast and the Furious plenty well. I went in with low expectations and was happy to discover that even with the presence of Walker, the movie delivered the goods. The action was hot, Vin was hotter, and Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez were fantastic as the chicks with attitude. Even the cars were fun, and when I relocated to a new city last summer I was entertained to see that there was an actual subculture that races powerful machines just like the ones in the movie.
It just doesn’t work in this sequel, despite a similar lack of hope for anything resembling quality this time around. Even with newer and faster cars, it all just has a been there, done that feel. Scenes that should get the blood pumping made me say, “Meh.” And the first race in the movie makes no sense. The second place finisher wins no money, yet is thrilled to wind up in that spot. I call bullshit.
If I gave a star ranking, 2 Fast 2 Furious would get zero. I can honestly say that there are no redeeming qualities, except perhaps the fact that the movie is so gloriously bad that it is seriously not to be believed unless you see it with your own eyes. I know Vin’s suffering some backlash recently, but even if you hate the guy, you will miss him like a lost limb. Save yourself, bro. It’s too late for me.