2fastDirector: John Singleton
Stars: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes
Rated PG-13

The plot: Didn’t get enough fast? Running short of some furious? Well, then, 2 Fast 2 Furious is just the ticket (Get it? Like a speeding ticket? Nevermind.). Picking up a bit after the events of “The Fast and the Furious,” disgraced ex-cop Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) is making a living in Miami as a street racer. The “ex” comes from making the questionable decision to let Dom (Vin Diesel), the truck harpooner from the last film, get away, and he’s living with his decision the only way he knows how: Fast and Furiously.

When he’s picked up after a street race by cops using made-up car-stopping technology (it’s an electrical device that shorts out the car’s systems, delivered by harpoon, keeping that motif alive), Brian is brought in to infiltrate a the operation of Carter Verone (Cole Hauser), who needs a driver for evil deeds. Verone, by the way, is about as smarmy as they come. Seriously, he delivers an alarming amount of smarm in the cigar-smoking scene alone. The cops don’t trust Brian, probably because his last infiltration went so well, but agree to his request to bring in a friend, Roman Pearce (Tyrese), as his back up.

Side note: You can tell Roman’s role could have been swapped out with Dom’s if Vin Diesel had agreed to be in the sequel. He didn’t, clearing the way for Tyrese to slide right in there. Or, foreshadowing alert, drift on in there….

Verone’s organization has already been infiltrated for the past year by Customs Agent Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes), but apparently she hasn’t been able to land that whale yet, and since Verone is about to leave the country, it’s time to step things up to a faster, more furious pace. Also, from Brian’s point of view, she’s beautiful, forbidden fruit that could ruin everything he’s worked for. Uh-Oh.

Will Brian redeem himself? Can Roman fill Dom’s shoes? Will Fuentes show Brian how proper undercover police work is done?  Can you park a car on a boat?

Spoiler alert: Depends on who you ask. Not really. Not really. Not comfortably. 

Much driving is done, many bottles of nitrous oxide are spent, and many races are won and lost. Do we smell the beginnings of a franchise?

Thoughts on 2 Fast, 2 Furious:

• James Remar plays a cop in this film. Since this is the same man who plays Dexter Morgan’s adopted father and cop in Dexter, and since both Dexter and this film take place in Miami, and since the time frame is about right, I’m going to assume that it is, indeed, Dexter’s father in this film using an undercover alias, in an time unexplored in the Showtime series. Yup. That’s what I’m assuming.

• This film is lacking some of the subtlety of the previous film, and that’s saying something. There are more cars, more bad guys, more jumps, more NOS, and just general furiosity here.

• Driving a car in this franchise takes a LOT of shifting, apparently. If you play a drinking game where you take a drink each time the gearshift is slammed in position during the race scenes, you will die.

• The crime lord’s plan, I suppose, is to move a lot of illegally gained money using loud, flashly street rods, driven at unsafe speeds very recklessly on interstate highways. I’m no crime lord, but I’ve got to question his strategy.

• On the other hand, the races and police chases entered into in the name of justice seem like they would be more dangerous to the public than the drugs and mobsters the law enforcement teams are trying to stop. Many, many cars are wrecked, and a lot of them were probably people just trying to get to the beach or study Miami’s art-deco architecture stylings.

• And again, looking at the scene were probably 100 street rods are driven by beautiful young people skirting the law, I must ask: WHAT DO THESE PEOPLE DO TO AFFORD THESE CARS? They’re only job, that I see, is they show up to race.

• This film will teach you a new trick with a rat, a metal bucket and a blowtorch.

• In the final analysis, a simple call between the FBI and Miami Police would have shortened this film by about 30 minutes.