Heading back to the streets where it all began, they rejoin Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster to blast muscle, tuner and exotic cars across Los Angeles and floor through the Mexican desert in the new high-octane action-thriller.
When a crime brings them back to L.A., fugitive ex-con Dom Toretto (Diesel) reignites his feud with agent Brian O'Conner (Walker). But as they are forced to confront a shared enemy, Dom and Brian must give in to an uncertain new trust if they hope to outmaneuver him. And from convoy heists to precision tunnel crawls across international lines, two men will find the best way to get revenge: push the limits of what's possible behind the wheel.
Fast cars + Vin Diesel + Paul Walker + Fast Cars x2= US$343 million box-office returns
See, it’s not that difficult to come up with a winning formula isn’t it?
The fourth entry in the wildly popular franchise reunites original cast members including Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster and the man himself, Vin Diesel with Tokyo Drift’s director Justin Lin at the helm. With the exception of the spectacular opening that involves a breath-taking heist and overturning truck, the rest of the movie is liked a never-been-driven-out-of-a-showroom chrome automobile with a stalled engine exhuming nothing but black smoke and noise.
In the first place, the storyline reads like a typical crime flick. Ex-undercover cop Brian O’Connor (Walker) returns to the FBI and joins hands with Dominic Toretto (Diesel) who is still wanted by the law to track down a heroin smuggling syndicate. Toretto has a personal vendetta with the crime lord and the only way to get close to them is to join their smuggling plots. Lin knew he has a weak plot to contend with so he has to make up something to while away the running time before the next car chase is on. Stuff liked O’Connor past romance with Dominic’s sister (Jordana Brewster) got a revival, a prolong footchase courtesy of O’Connor and O’Connor feud with his fellow colleagues. Nothing engaging and almost lightweight and works purely as fillers.
Ironically, Vin Diesel and Michelle Roderiguez are greatly underutilized considering their onscreen chemistry together sizzles even for a short screentime. Diesel making his first comeback after a series of box-office flops returns to the driver seat looking not aged a day and spent the entire duration grunting his lines.
If you are looking for some great action sequences, the car chases weren’t that fantastically choreographed either. The one on the streets of L.A. has been done to death actually, remember 2Fast2Furious? This time round, there’s even more CG enhanced chase sequences and some weirdly placed camera angles that will really dampen the viewing experience. However thanks to the hardworking picture car technical crew, the automobiles look and sound as fabulous as ever. The Dodge Charger, Gran Torino, Nissan Skyline GTR and Subaru Impreza WRX are just some of the hardware featured that will have most of the guys drooling with envy.
It’s hard to comprehend why the first Rob Cohen’s Fast & Furious was such a huge hit. As far as I’m concerned, it fares as a mediocre action flick with perhaps memorable for the fact that it’s filled with scantily-clad extras, a macho lead and of course some glaring automobiles. But why it becomes a huge part of pop-culture remains a mystery.
Yet when Universal hits a rough patch with their release slate for the past two years and in desperate need for a box-office hit, the winning formula applies once more to create this fourth unnecessary entry to the franchise.
Feature Commentary with Director Justin Lin – This easy-to-listen track by Lin provides plenty of in-depth production anecdotes to viewers. Lin is an engaging speaker and there’s practically no dead airs inbetween, pity Vin Diesel (one of the producers as well) is absent.
Under The Hood: Muscle Cars – A 6 minutes featurette that talks about the various muscle cars used in the movie.
Under The Hood: Imports – Another featurette that shows us more muscle cars.
Getting The Gang Back Together – The main cast members, producer and director talks about the good old times and the camaraderie they shared on set in this 9 minutes feature.
Driving School With Vin Diesel – A look behind-the-scenes on how Vin Diesel learns some neat car stunts.
Gag Reel –5 minutes of watching Paul Walker fumbling his lines and Diesel clowning around.
South of the Border: Filming In Mexico – You want to know how popular is Vin Diesel in Mexico? Here’s the evidence of the locals gushing and clamoring for his autographs.
Trailers for State of Play, Land of Lost, The Boat That Rocked and Fighting starts playing the moment you insert the disc.
This being an early summer 2009 latest release looks fantastic on DVD. The colors are vibrant and the dark night shots look vivid as well. The rich Dolby Digital 5.1 roars to live with excellent ambient and sound effects. You can’t expect anything less from a movie that frequently featured car crashes, explosions and screeches.
Review by Linus Tee
Posted on 4 September 2009