What a drag

High five!

High five!

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Rated 1.0

With Fast and Furious, Vin Diesel returns to the series that made him big. Fast & Furious is a tiresome speedy car movie. Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster also reappear for a sequel that, while better than the prior two installments, still kind of stinks. Things have really deteriorated since the fun original.

Dominic (Diesel) has been hijacking gas trucks on mountainous, extremely treacherous highways. He can’t wait for the truck driver to pull over to take a dump or have a smoke. No, that would be too easy. Instead, he stages high-speed, high-risk robberies where he makes girlfriend Letty (Rodriguez) jump onto trucks in motion. Not only must she detach gas payload vehicles from their rig, but she must do it before the big turn in the road. And, of course, beyond that big turn is a cliff with a treacherous drop.

Yeah, the beginning is stupid as all hell, but it is fun to watch. Regrettably, the fun doesn’t last. Dominic leaves Letty to continue being on the lam … alone. He must be alone, for he is Vin Diesel, and he is a mope master. Easier to mope when alone.

After he has fully commenced deep moping, Dominic receives a phone call that a friend has been murdered. He then enters a stage of more intense moping, which actually qualifies as brooding. He will seek revenge, and he will seek it in slow motion. Have you ever noticed how Vin Diesel speaks and acts in slow motion? He’s even in slow motion when he’s shouting and punching people.

Where is Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner during all of this, you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you. He’s in Los Angeles, wearing a suit and being a good, proper FBI agent. That is, until the FBI needs somebody to pose as a street racer again. That’s when the bad boy emerges. Some nonsense involving a heroin dealer who may or may not have had something to do with the death of Dominic’s friend causes Brian and Dominic to join forces and, yes, drive cars really fast.

When he’s super angry, Dominic punches the crap out of Brian. He has Brian pinned on the ground, and we see full-force punches repeatedly pummeling Brian in the face. Not only does Brian remain conscious, but he also emerges without a scratch, able to attend work the following day without having to conjure stories about his messed-up face. That Vin Diesel punches like an elderly nun.

The first film worked well because Diesel was yet to become a caricature of himself, and director Rob Cohen knew how to stage and film a street race. Justin Lin, who also directed the stupid The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, manages a couple of semi-interesting sequences, like the intro and a race through crowded L.A. streets, but not enough to keep the film alive during its boring expository stretches.

Some of the race action takes place in underground caves, and it’s not exactly spine-tingling stuff. Should’ve thrown in a couple of the cave creatures from The Descent grabbing onto the fast-moving vehicles, spitting blood on the windshields and trying to bite some heads. You’ve gone so far as to stage a chase through an underground tunnel, might as well throw some monsters into the mix. Perhaps it would’ve aroused Diesel out of his constant state of morose bemusement? Nah, probably not.

Work is already underway on a fifth chapter. Next time out perhaps the producers will make streets in space for the speed junkies to challenge themselves while avoiding asteroids and alien spaceships. One thing’s for sure, this and future installments inspire every lame-assed dickweed with a spoiler on their Nissan Sentra to peel out in the parking lot after a showing. My recommendation: Let these assholes blow by for about 10 minutes before you leave your parking space so you won’t find yourself drag racing to the exits.