Starring: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Ludacris, Cole Hauser, Devon Aoki, Amaury Nolasco, Michael Ealy, Mark Boone Junior, James Remar
Directed By: John Singleton
Everyone’s least favorite entry in the Fast franchise. This was the one where they thought “maybe Paul Walker was why the first movie did so well”, then they realized it was more of a mix of Vin Diesel and the cars, and less of Walker. It feels weird to say that, because he’s passed away, but it’s true. This film tried to replace Vin with Tyrese, and Tyrese has been the skin tag on the Fast franchise ever since. You just can’t get rid of him.
Eva Mendes and Ludacris also get their Fast starts here, as they appear in later films. I don’t know why Devon Aoki wasn’t in later Fast films, as she was set up pretty well here to be at least shown again later down the line. The problem with this film has actually a lot to do with the two leads, and less with the supporting cast or the villain. Cole Hauser plays his poorly written villain rather well, and Eva Mendes does her “just be hot” job just fine. But Walker and Gibson just don’t have the brotherhood behind them that Diesel and Walker do, and Gibson’s constant hamming hold the film back. Depending on how you felt about Tokyo Drift, this is probably your least favorite film in the series.
I had seen this film before, probably twice already, but I felt the need to revisit the entire series prior to Furious 7. In many ways, I now enjoy this film slightly more because it’s part of a larger picture. When this film first came out, I remember hating it more because it was so inferior to the original. If you’re just being introduced to the Fast series, you’ll probably hate this a lot more than someone who is going back and watching the previous films, having already seen some combination of 5, 6, and 7.
FINAL GRADE: C+