Fast and Furious' is bad, bad, bad -- but fun

April 07, 2009|By BOB GARVER / Special to The Herald-Mail

"Fast & Furious" is a bad, bad movie. The dialogue is painful, the plot is full of holes, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are clearly only in it for the paychecks and director Justin Lin is obsessed with nonsensical crashes and explosions. The film is a brain-dead piece of cinematic garbage. And yet, there's something I have to admit.

"Fast & Furious" is a fun, fun movie. All the lines, even the straight ones (especially the straight ones) get laughs. There isn't a lot of distracting plot. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are back. And there are crashes and explosions galore. If you're looking for a magnificent brain-dead piece of cinematic garbage, look no further.

Yes, "Fast & Furious" is one of those awful movies that works surprisingly well if you see it under the right circumstances. It's an unpleasant feeling to be in a bad movie and get the feeling that everyone else thinks it's a good movie. You feel isolated and you wonder why you can't join in everyone else's fun. But you don't need to feel that way about "Fast & Furious." Nobody thinks it's a good movie. You can all watch it and enjoy it on the same level.


The film is the third sequel to 2001's "The Fast and The Furious." Apparently this movie is so fast that it doesn't have time for any 'the's. Either that or the people who named the movie are furious with the the's. Maybe they're furious because they slowed them down. The original film was about a cop (Paul Walker) that went undercover in the world of illegal drag racing to catch a crime ring. He made friends with the leader (Vin Diesel) and came to respect him so much that he let him go at the end.

Now Brian (Walker) and Dom (Diesel) are forced to race cars again. The setup is that a powerful Mexican drug lord is recruiting drivers to get drugs across the border. Brian, as a cop, wants to go undercover to catch the drug lord. For Dom, catching the drug lord is personal. The drug lord killed his girlfriend (Michelle Rodriguez) who had agreed to work undercover for Brian in exchange for Dom's freedom. Dom is mad at Brian for letting the girlfriend get killed, and also for being a cop in the first place. But they both want to take down the drug lord, so they rekindle their uneasy partnership.

Not that any of it matters. The point of the movie is cars and excitement, not intellectual stimulation. To that end, I recommend Popcorn Games:

Eat a piece when there's a crash.

Eat half a piece when there's a near-crash.

Eat two pieces when you could swear a character's been in a crash, but it turns out to be a minor character that just looks like them.

Eat three pieces when there's an explosion.

Eat a piece when there's a shot of scantily-clad women who apparently have nothing better to do than hang around drag racers.

Eat two pieces when characters start making out with little to no motivation.

Eat a piece when a pedestrian or unrelated car is nearly hit. Then wonder why the crime boss needs reckless drivers who go fast instead of safe drivers who can keep a low profile.

Those of you who like to sit quietly and "take in" a movie, this one's not for you. I recommend "Fast & Furious" only to those who can have fun with such a terrible movie. Cheer, laugh, play Popcorn Games. See it as soon as possible, see it with a crowd, see it with friends and make a party of it.

"Fast & Furious" is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual content, language and drug references. Its runtime is 107 minutes.

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