ff4Director: Justin Lin
Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster
Rated: PG-13

The Plot: After the NOS-less and bald-man lacking third installment of “Tokyo Drift,” the “Fast and Furious” franchise gets back to business, bringing back most of the surviving characters from the first film, and only dropping the “the”s from the title. Vin Diesel returns as Dominic Toretto, the truck hijacker with a heart of gold, while Paul Walker is back as Brian O’Conner, who apparently broke up with Tyresse after their adventure in 2 Fast 2 Furious (was someone just 2 furious?). A disgraced former L.A. cop (because he let Dom go in the first film) Brian, has somehow been made an F.B.I. agent. Even though I thought that it was a pretty tough job to get, what with the years of training and background checks and whatnot, Brian is brought in to infiltrate the operation of a heroin importer, who, you guessed it, is hiring drivers who’s only qualifications is that they need to be able to drive both fast and furiously.

Dom, meanwhile, has been hijacking trucks around the world with his girlfriend, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). The film opens with Dom and his crew hijacking a multi-trailered fuel truck in the Dominican Republic. They get a couple of trailers taken — using liquid nitrogen, trucks that can go in reverse really fast, and a surprisingly critical hammer — but then things go bad, and Letty is almost killed. Between that and the law getting ever closer, Dom does the honorable thing and sneaks away from her after she’s gone to sleep. A few weeks later, he gets a call from his sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster), that Letty has been killed in an accident in L.A. (automotive in nature) that might not have been an accident.

Ignoring the threat to his freedom, Dom returns to the U.S. of A. to track down her killer. Turns out, the killer was part of the heroin-running mob that Brian has set out to infiltrate. After some initial awkwardness, Brian and Dom put aside their anger and decide to get furious at the bad guys. Will they bring down the heroin dealer? Will cars be crashed? Will NOS be injected?

Spoilers: Yes. Oh, yes. Some, but still not much, which is disappointing after the almost total lack of NOS in the previous film.

Thoughts on Fast & Furious:

• For those compiling a timeline of events, this film is actually a prequel to The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. One of Dom’s friends in the Dominican Republic heist is Han, who (spoiler alert!) dies in the third film. Since he’s the only character in both films (not counting Dom’s quick cameo at the end of the film), it doesn’t really matter. Just wanted your diagrams to be accurate.

• Brian O’Conner might possibly be the worst cop ever (not dirty, just really, really bad at his job). Usually, when a cop’s supervising officer gives the cop a hard time, it’s out of tough love, or the supervisor doesn’t understand the needs of the job. Brian’s supervisors are spot on to not trust his loyalties in each film he’s been in.

• Drug running appears to be very hard work. One of the plot points is a tunnel dug through some mountains on the U.S./Mexican border that appears to be a couple miles long. With that kind of industrial thinking, running drugs seems a little … small time or something.

• This continues a long list of film and television characters played by Michelle Rodriguez (Letty) who haven’t survived. If you’re a fictional character and she’s on your plane, get another flight.

• At one point, Dom mentally reconstructs the accident that killed Letty, using clues left from the crash site. This may be an homage to the scene in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers when Aragorn looks at the battlefield to learn the fate of Merry and Pippin. It’s probably not, but it could be. If Dom would have said something about Orcs, it totally would have been.