Going into THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, about the world of illegal street
racing, I was hoping for some trashy fun. Sometimes getting one out of two
isn't good enough -- all I got was the trash. Perhaps it was the venue. I
didn't see it at a drive-in, which is probably the only place that has any
hope of doing this movie justice. As directed by Rob Cohen (THE SKULLS), it
a made me yearn for another recent stinker, Renny Harlin's DRIVEN, which at
least contained a little more stylish trash.
Made for young teenage boys whose interests are making the move from video
games to fast cars, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS features automobiles that would
be better thought of as street rockets than hot rods. Most of the cars have
a button like those on video game controllers that blast the characters into
hyperspace. In the movie, the super speed button causes the car to switch
to nitrous oxide, which propels the driver ahead as fire shoots out the
Although the real stars are built of pure metal, the human supporting cast
includes Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster.
Computer generated actors would have sufficed.
Everything happens to such a heavy rock beat that the film frequently feels
like a long music video advertisement for some new cars aimed at the youth
At least the film never insults its viewers with any cheap moralizing.
Think of it as the anti-message movie. Big bosomed girls hang around the
races to offer free sex to the winners. The story has the kids engage in
activities that are not only illegal but highly dangerous as well. How many
people, for example, are killed every year trying to beat a train? One of
the movie's key adrenaline rushes comes from a combination drag and train
race. Oh yes, seat belts? Forget it. They're for sissies.
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS runs 1:41. It is rated PG-13 for violence, sexual
content and language and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave it ***, saying that he liked the car racing and
the music. He couldn't get to a racing video game fast enough after the
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes