2Fast 2Furious
Directed by John Singleton
Written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas
Starring Paul Walker, Tyrese


2Fast 2Furious

Vin Diesel, whose career took a quantum leap in 2001's "The Fast and the Furious," has moved on to star in his own Triple-X franchise, leaving Universal Pictures with only dull, flat Paul Walker, his costar, to keep the studio's street-racer franchise going. Wisely they've brought in the sexy and stunningly handsome actor Tyrese, who was so effective in John Singleton's "Baby Boy," to be Walker's new pal. Singleton directs here, and much as we wish this brilliant talent another creation as good as "Boyz N The Hood," his first feature, this isn't the film.

"2Fast 2Furious" shifts the action from L.A. to Miami, where drug kingpin Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) wants fast drivers to move his money to, well, wherever it is that drug money goes, in this case a yacht docked near Key Biscayne. Why he thinks that street racers driving hopped-up cars through Miami at 100 miles per hour will escape the notice of the police is one of those questions that neither you nor I should ask. Another critic has suggested that in future he would do better with retirees driving Buicks, which would at least have shown a little wit. Maybe in the next installment, no doubt to be called "3Fast 3Furious."

Walker is an ex-L.A. cop, Brian O'Connor, fired for letting a suspect go; Tyrese is his boyhood pal from Barstow, Roman Pearce, who did three years in prison for something he blames on O'Connor. The authorities in Miami give both of them the chance to clear their records if they will become drivers for Verone. There's already an undercover agent in Verone's house and life, the attractive Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes), who's been living with him for almost a year but has yet to get him with the goods.

But all of that is beside the point. The point is to show street cars going very fast, dodging in and out of traffic, and shifting gears frequently in extreme closeup, along with occasional shots of the brake pedal not being used. If this were a driver-ed video I could understand the emphasis on proper shifting technique, but that is not the case here. The rest of the film relies on a by-the-numbers plot, with sadistic Verone giving our heroes a test before hiring them, the authorities acting dumb and dumber in trying to get him, and a final chase in which Walker and Tyrese outwit not only Verone but also the cops, the FBI and the U.S. Customs. Right.