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2 Fast 2 Furious (HD DVD)

Universal // PG-13 // September 26, 2006 // Region 0
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Adam Tyner | posted October 10, 2006 | E-mail the Author
"That some drivin' fo' yo' ass! Ain't that some drivin' fo' yo' ass?"
- Tyrese Gibson is Roman Pearce in 2 Fast 2 Furious

Hmmm. Should I open this review by bitching about the state of John Singleton's career, or should I come up with a bunch of shitty puns using the number "2" over and over again? Y'know, 'cause the movie has the number "2" in the title twice. It's a homonym. I mean, Tyrese and Paul Walker drive really fast...almost too fast, you might say...and yeah, there's some furor there, plus it's a sequel, and lotsa sequels have the number "2" in their titles. Yup, its title is as deep and multilayered as 2 Fast 2 Furious gets, as if you thought you were picking up The Magnificent Ambersons-on-22s or something.

After being booted off the force for handing the keys to a souped-up whatever over to a guy who'd staged high-speed heists to the tune of six million plus, Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) has set up shop in Miami. When he's tagged for street racing, the feds offer him a choice: go undercover as a wheelman for Argentinean drug lord Carter Verone (couldn't-be-whiter Cole Hauser) or spend some time in the pokey. He agrees but insists on choosing his own partner, and he opts for childhood pal Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson). Rome hates cops and hates Brian, and he's black 'cause John Singleton had seen 48 Hours at some point. So, yeah, they don't get along for a few car chases, then they get along after, like, the third or fourth chase, a muscle car plows into a $4 million yacht, and then the movie's over.

Vin Diesel passed when Universal balked at his $25 million asking price for 2 Fast 2 Furious, so...the bad news...? You get another hour forty-five of Paul Walker's vacant stare, waking up just in time to punctuate every other line with a "bro". The good (well, not the good, but close enough)...? John Singleton cast Tyrese Gibson as Crazy Black Guy ©, and Tyrese actually has a personality, putting him one-up on Walker. Sure, his on-screen persona is pretty much Chris Tucker with an Ab Roller, but he got the memo that 2 Fast 2 Furious is a loud, dumb popcorn flick and hams it up whenever the camera's aimed anywhere near him.

John Singleton got CC:ed on that memo too; he doesn't linger too long on what-passes-for-a-plot, and he keeps Tyrese and Walker in cars for pretty much the entire movie. I'm too lazy to actually count, but it seems like there are twice as many chases-'n-races in 2 Fast 2 Furious, and they're bigger, more kinetic, and more elaborate than anything in its less fast, less furious predecessor. Yeah, you probably saw that Saleen Mustang crushed by the tractor trailer over and over in the trailers and TV spots, but it's a really impressive stunt anyway and a big part of the single coolest sequence in the movie. I already mentioned the Dukes of Hazzard yacht-leap, but...yeah, that, and pretty much the entire climax...I dug it. Pick on John Singleton all you want for squandering the goodwill he earned with Boyz N The Hood fifteen years ago, but at least he kept 2 Fast 2 Furious plowing forward at a steady clip and shot some really energetic racing sequences. It's a surprisingly okay popcorn flick and much better than any movie titled "2 Fast 2 Furious" really ought to be.

Video: I could probably get away with just copying and pasting my write-up of the HD DVD of the original. The same bullet points all apply: scope, bright and hypersaturated, sharp as a tack, richly detailed, tight film grain that hasn't been artificially smoothened away, negligible speckling, and no compression hiccups. To parrot myself again, strictly in terms of video quality, 2 Fast 2 Furious ranks in the top tier of HD DVD releases to date.

Audio: If there's one way 2 Fast 2 Furious doesn't one-up the original, it's the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix. The sequel is quite a bit less bombastic, not tossing around quite as many discrete effects into each channel the way the previous movie did, and its diminished emphasis on blaring techno and hip-hop keeps more plot-oriented scenes sounding fairly drab. Not as immersive and just kinda...loud, especially whatever song is blasting over the opening title; I had my receiver a couple of ticks lower than usual and I still thought I was going to do some sort of structural damage to my house. Lotsa bass. Busy surrounds. Just doesn't use all of the channels on-hand as effectively. There are also dubs in French and Spanish along with subtitles in all three of the disc's languages.

Supplements: If you already have the original 2 Fast 2 Furious DVD, you can whack the Page Down key a couple of times. Unlike the other two movies in the series which each have at least something unique on HD DVD, this is just a straight DVD port.

There are two extras that run for the entire length of 2 Fast 2 Furious. One of 'em is a subtitle trivia track that periodically splashes facts about the movie and, more frequently, its cast across the bottom of the screen. Capturing an unintended wreck on film, Ludacris transforming his trailer into a nightclub, reminding me that Tyrese Gibson and Tyson Beckford are actually two distinct people: this sort of stuff doesn't pop up all that often, but there's enough to make it worth a peek when played at the same time as the audio commentary with director John Singleton. For someone who claims at one point that he's making a completely unpretensious popcorn movie, he uses words like "juxtaposition" an awful lot, and he has that Rob Cohen-ish tendency to just describe what's happening on-screen, but it's fairly solid other than that. He spends a lot of time discussing how much thought goes into making a movie this mindless, commenting on the influence of anime, video games, and westerns on 2 Fast 2 Furious, shooting his first PG-13 film, and notes that Universal's research indicated that the audience for the original The Fast and the Furious was 40% Hispanic. Why I find that so interesting, I have no idea. Nothing earth-shattering or revelatory, but...hey, it's 2 Fast 2 Furious, not 2 Insightful 2 Thoughtprovoking.

A five and a half minute stunts featurette takes a detailed look at Singleton's "new millenium Dukes of Hazzard stuff" as he and his team prep the film's climactic yacht leap. There's also a five minute featurette on "making music with Ludacris", but even though it shows the making of his video for "Act a Fool", the video itself isn't actually on the disc.

A few blocks of extras are chopped up into individually wrapped fun-sized pieces. Tyrese Gibson, Paul Walker, and Devon Aoki are each featured in "Actors Driving School" and "Actor Spotlights" for a couple minutes a pop. Kinda goes without saying that the driving school clips show the cast getting ready for...y'know, driving, and the actor spotlights are pretty much HBO First Look outtakes. Singleton mentions that the cars are the real stars of the movie, and the spotlight is aimed at the Spyder, Evo VII, and S2000 for nine minutes and change. Each set of clips can be viewed individually or played all at once.

The deleted/extended scenes reel runs six minutes, and rather than offering the usual optional commentary, Singleton and his editor introduce each clip. These very brief snippets include a quick bridge between the two movies, a longer introduction to Rome at Barstow, and more between Cole Hauser and professional dirty cop Mark Boone Jr. The disc's better than average blooper reel is pretty much three minutes straight of Tyrese clowning around.

There's also an ordinary ten minute making-of EPK, and the six minute 2 Fast 2 Furious prelude and the "Tricking Out a Hot Import Car" features from The Fast and the Furious HD DVD are recycled.

Conclusion: 2 Fast 2 Furious isn't good in the sense of being...y'know, good...but it's a passable generic buddy-cop flick with some cooler-than-I'd-like-to-admit racing sequences, and it's a couple steps up from the original. I wouldn't buy it, but 2 Fast 2 Furious would be an okay rental. Rent It.

Standard image disclaimer: the pictures scattered around this review were lifted from and don't necessarily reflect the appearance of this HD DVD.
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