Director : Cars in place. Actors in place. Everyone re-fuelled. Scripts off-camera?
Star : Huh, what script? We haven’t got one; we’re just working on the same plot as the original.
It’s quite simple actually. You take the plot of the original “Fast and the Furious” – undercover cop infiltrates petrol-head gang – extract the lead (in this case Vin Diese, who opted not to return,) move the action to Miami (in contrast to LA,) bring in a new sidekick (Tyrese, of John Singelton’s “Baby Boy”) and make a quick Xerox of the original screenplay so you can use it again.
Bingo… “Fast and the Furious 2” – or “2 Fast 2 Furious”, as the studio has astutely decided to call it – is born.
Second fiddle of the first film, Paul Walker, returns – to guide this out of control tour bus of race sites – reprising his role of Brian Connor, an ex-cop (he was stripped of his badge after letting bad-guy Diesel go at the end of the first film) with a penchant for all things searing, malodorous and capable of going 200 kms/hr.
Sprung by the local law illegally participating in drag racing, Connor finds himself roped into another ‘undercover’ sting as punishment, playing rat in a mission that’ll see a big-time import-export dealer named Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) belatedly cuffed and carried away. But first, he and his nominated sidekick, Roman Pearce (Tyrese), have to go through the motions to prove to the mark that they’re worthy of being in his presence.
About as anachronistic and generic as an action sequel could be “2 Fast 2 Furious” surely does have a smorgasbord of nice car-stunts and action sequences up its sleeve, but the cool characters and over-the-top fun of the original has been sadly overlooked this time round. Paul Walker gets the job done, but co-star Tyrese offers only a fifth of the charisma Diesel brought to the position first time round. He tries, he tries hard, but at the end of the day he can’t measure up to the bulky action-man, who – admit it – made that first film what it was.
Even sadder is seeing John Singelton sitting behind the camera. Kicking off his career with the fantastic Boyz N’The Hood, it’s been a downward spiral for the once-promising director, with “2 Fast 2 furious”, the final nail in his credential coffin.