So fast, so furious that an ampersand was required, Fast & Furious doesn’t even have time to come up with a properly doofusy sequel title. Then again, it’s good that they passed on The Fast and the Furious 4: Vin Diesel Still Loves Muscle Cars. But let’s leave the marketing of movies to the experts. Let’s also leave the watching of them to experts—in this case, the gearheads whose need for speed will be pit-stopped for two confusing hours, during which our roads will be safer.
Remember our lovable gang of chiseled, mechanically inclined antiheroes? If not, that’s because casts and directors have been swapped like spare parts film after film. This time, we’re back with 2001’s original crew. Fast & Furious knows exactly where it wants to go: It’s an especially pure strain of car porn in which Dom (Diesel), our grease-spattered surrogate, finds himself interrupted in his garage by a statuesque brunet, only to reject her. “I’m the kind of boy who can appreciate a body no matter the make,” he offers suggestively—but truthfully? His longtime girlfriend and partner in crime, Letty (Rodriguez), has met with a cruel demise, and Dom’s nemesis, unorthodox cop Brian (Walker), is close behind his pimped-out spoiler.
Do you really need a road map? The movie’s all about chases, amplified by steroidal dance music and a weak running gag about a nagging GPS system. Downtown L.A. becomes an impromptu race track; later, there’s a fakey sprint through a Thunder Mountain--like Mexican border pass. Frankly, you’ve played better video games.—Joshua Rothkopf