Weapon X and a Half Gets FAST & FURIOUS!!
...with a look at FAST & FURIOUS from an AICN reader named Weapon X and a Half. The film opens April 3.
I rather enjoyed director Justin Lin's last FAST AND THE FURIOUS film (TOKYO DRIFT) and I've been looking forward to seeing what Justin does with the reassembled/original cast.
I recently got word that a change in screening policies at Universal means that not all Uni films will be screened for press/media (at least in certain regions). F&F, unfortunately, falls into my region's dark zone...which means I won't be getting an early look at the film like I'd anticipated.
(insert waaaahhh waaaahhh here)
I'm told Universal's new policy is the result of economic/logistical considerations & has nothing to do with the quality of the films themselves. I guess we'll see about that.
Here's Weapon X and a Half...
Weapon X and a Half here! Ok so the first review I sent you was for that
godawful upcoming Eddie Murphy movie, A Thousand Words, a few weeks back.
I'm happy to report that this time around, I'll be reviewing a much more
fun assignment: Fast and Furious. I had the opportunity to see this on
Monday at the Arclight in Hollywood. Let me start off by saying the only
really decent movie I've seen in the franchise was the first one. 2 Fast 2
Furious was 2 Stupid, and Tokyo Drift was also a waste of time (I mean,
what's the point of a Fast and the Furious movie if it's signature
character only makes a cameo). Well luckily, now there are two decent
movies in this franchise (which I hope ends with the high note that is
So let's cut the bullshit. We all know this movie probably should have
been made in 2003 (instead of 2 Fast), at the height of the popularity of
the first film (from 2001). And we all know Vin Diesel didn't want to be
type-cast as Dominic Toretto, but has since decided his career needs this
franchise, which is the basic reason why this film ever got made almost 8
years after his character was introduced. However, I need to say, I'm glad
this wasn't made immediately. If this sequel was made directly after the
first movie, I'd imagine it'd have a shittier plotline to bring Brian
O'Conner and Dominic Toretto together again--some hackneyed "Brian needs
to team up with Dom to take down a drug dealer" bullcrap which provides a
much weaker plotline than the first movie. Ok ok--that basically IS the
premise of this film. But it gets a little bit more personal than that,
which makes the overall story quite decent for a movie in this franchise.
Allow me to explain using...
Ok so the film begins with Dom and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in the
Dominican Republic, hijacking huge tanks of gasoline with a crew that
includes Han from Tokyo Drift (I did like that connection, btw). When they
find out the cops are closing in on Dom, he decides to go on the run, and
leaves Letty to keep her safe.
Letty ends up going back to LA to stay with Mia (Jordana Brewster), but
ends up getting murdered after getting involved with a hardcore, unseen
heroine dealer named Braga. Dom is obviously tortured and pissed (Vin
Diesel successfully playing a hybrid of Dominic Toretto and his character
from A Man Apart) and vows to kill whoever murdered Letty.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, Brian (who we find out is now a
full-fledged FBI agent after the events of 2 Fast--Yes Paul Walker, the
blond Keanu Reeves is an FBI agent) and his team of agents are narrowing
their own by-the-book federal investigation of the Braga case. When he
finds out Dom's in town, and thirsty for Braga's blood, a rivalry ensues
over who'll get to Braga first. Of course the only way for either of them
to infiltrate Braga's operation, and thus find Braga, is to be recruited
for a high-stakes race through Koreatown, which they end up doing.
END HEAVY SPOILERS
Everything basically escalates from there, in typical good cop, bad "cop"
after a bad-guy fashion.
There are quite a few things to like about this movie. For one, this is
probably the darkest and most personal entry in the franchise. For about
80% of the film, everything feels grittier and a little more hardcore. The
sense of tension is deeper than anything we've generally seen in a
Also, some of the unforeseen twists (I say unforeseen because you
wouldn't expect them from a Fast and the Furious movie, but they aren't
entirely unpredictable in general), are pretty interesting: particularly
a connection between Letty and Brian, and the overall revelation of
Braga's character. These aren't deep twists, but they are somewhat
engaging, and up the stakes of the overall storyline.
The action sequences are fairly exciting as well. Even though you pretty
much only get one overall race, it's a good one, and the fights are pretty
bone-crunching badass (I personally liked the Vin Diesel vs Paul Walker
sequence). BTW, Diesel is in top form for this, even if he's playing the
typical tortured, hard-assed, "insert something monosyllabic and tough"
dialog-fueled archetype that we're used to from him. I mean it's not The
Pacifier at least. You definitely feel for his character, and Diesel's
very comfortable returning to it, making him more tortured, but staying
true to who he established the character as in 2001.
And to elaborate on what I said before, the fact that the movie was only
made now, as opposed to immediately after the first one, really genuinely
is one of its strengths. The passage of time and distance between these
characters is much more believable, as are their developments as well. For
example, for the majority of the movie, Brian and Dom remain rivals first
and foremost. They make sure to instill initial feelings of distrust for
most of the film. It takes 2/3 of the movie for them to reconnect as
partners, which is believable considering the characters' motivations,
histories, and time apart. Bringing these characters together again should
seem like a gimmick, but actually, and surprisingly, the whole thing goes
over quite naturally, which is something I didn't expect at all.
Now, what's not so good?
One of my biggest complaints was how strong Dom's storyline is, but how
weak Brian's is overall. He spends most of the movie wondering if he's a
"good guy posing as a bad guy" or a "bad guy trying to be a good guy." We
get an obvious answer to this at the end, but it's quite weak and
uninteresting. You also get a really forced "rekindled romance" with
Jordana Brewster's Mia, which isn't believable at all.
For that matter, it brings me to another complaint. Mia's character
doesn't have much to do in this film. She's got maybe 10-15 minutes of
screen time, max, and none of those scenes are particularly pivotal.
Michelle Rodriguez gets even less screen time, but of course, her
character is incredibly crucial to the story.
There's also a groan-inducing unbelievable scene where Dom essentially
plays CSI to discover what happened to Letty. It's a little ridiculous
considering that we know he's not Sherlock Holmes, and would most likely
not be able to deduce every specific event that occurred the night of the
murder, based on tire tracks, nitrous residue, and paint.
And finally, the worst thing about the movie is that it collapses on
itself in the final act. That's not to say the final act is horrible, but
it's definitely much more campy and unbelievable, which is inconsistent
from the enjoyably dark and gritty tone set by the rest of the movie.
What do I mean? Well let's just say it involves a chase through desert canyons
that double as secret passageways and tunnels for drug smuggling
racers--in a James Bond villain/Wacky Races sort of way. Apparently you
can convert a desert cliff into a garage that syncs up with your remote
controlled car genie. Oh, and after Vin Diesel disposes of a villain, he
has a one-liner catch phrase, which is somewhat badass, yet somewhat of a
Overall though, the movie's pretty good. I'd give it a solid "B." Much
better than 2 Fast, and Tokyo Drift. I'd go as far as to say that it even
had the potential to be better than the first at some points, given a much
more dark and personal storyline, but was eventually ruined by a
ridiculous last act, and some weak plot points (again primarily concerning
I'd say if you were following and enjoying the franchise so far,
you definitely should be fairly pleased.
'til next time,
Weapon X and a Half
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
+ Expand All
March 11, 2009, 9:48 a.m. CST
I had to read that with my head tilted
March 11, 2009, 9:52 a.m. CST
And didn't rush to the bottom to post first?
March 11, 2009, 9:55 a.m. CST
I was never interested in these films at all. I would rather watch paint dry. Bring on some more Chronicles of Riddick I say!
March 11, 2009, 9:55 a.m. CST
by Ron Mexico
get a DUI on the set of filming this too?
"the only way for either of them to infiltrate Braga's operation, and thus find Braga, is to be recruited for a high-stakes race through Koreatown, which they end up doing"<p> That's uncanny! So both of them get into a race? AGAIN?
March 11, 2009, 9:56 a.m. CST
As someone who has been on this site for over a decade, being First lost any value to me years ago
March 11, 2009, 10:01 a.m. CST
I thought various rappers take his place in sequels- Ice Cube, Ludichris..lil rapper in 2F2F..etc.
March 11, 2009, 10:08 a.m. CST
I loved the first one. One of my favorite guilry pleasures.
March 11, 2009, 10:10 a.m. CST
by Stuntcock Mike
Oscar worthy by the eighth installment.
March 11, 2009, 10:15 a.m. CST
by Darth Macchio
Cause there wasn't any in the last one and that made me very upset. But that incredible hulk yugo was choice.
March 11, 2009, 10:15 a.m. CST
I don't think you were entirely clear on whether it was more dark and personal than the other entries or not. I mean, was it dark and personal? Dark and personal, or more dark and more personal? Please! Be More specific!
March 11, 2009, 10:23 a.m. CST
And it was incredibly entertaining. Partly because of how intensely homoerotic the relationship between Brian and Roman was.
March 11, 2009, 10:24 a.m. CST
So this will be Point Break...5 now is it? The Fast and the Furious was a blatant rip-off of that magnificent Keanu Reeves (now played by the even worse Paul Walker) and Patrick Swayze (Vin Diesel? Seriously?) vehicle (PUN INTENDED!). Pass.
March 11, 2009, 10:24 a.m. CST
by Duck of Death
They're bad news! My cousin got strung out on Red Sonja, and now he's on street corners every night giving blowjobs for old collections of Modesty Blaise comix.
March 11, 2009, 10:29 a.m. CST
by wampa 1
...that came up with this one?
March 11, 2009, 10:30 a.m. CST
I have no idea why, but Vin Diesel and Paul Walker have this weird way of posturing when trying to play tough guys that makes me crack the fuck up, and seeing them do it to each other again will be gold.
March 11, 2009, 10:43 a.m. CST
March 11, 2009, 10:44 a.m. CST
I salute your ability to read so fast, that is all.
March 11, 2009, 11:12 a.m. CST
Then I remembered I have no desire to see the film and went back and reread it.
March 11, 2009, 11:19 a.m. CST
Yes Paul Walker, the blond Keanu Reeves is an FBI agent:
March 11, 2009, 11:36 a.m. CST
FAST AND FURIOUS FUCKING YOUR EYEBALLS IN 2009
March 11, 2009, 11:40 a.m. CST
2 POINT 2 BREAK
March 11, 2009, 11:44 a.m. CST
Worst kept secret in Hollywood since Jodie Foster.
March 11, 2009, 11:46 a.m. CST
"The Closet" <p> Directed by Bryan Singer. <br>Produced by Egg Pictures.
March 11, 2009, 11:53 a.m. CST
by Kaiser Soze
Will Stan ever be able to go to sleep? Seriously, though, Vin could never come out of the closet. If he did, he'd be openly gay, which is okay unless you're initials happen to be V.D.!
March 11, 2009, 11:55 a.m. CST
Vinnie is not a pussy.
March 11, 2009, 11:59 a.m. CST
by Bill Clay
After he kept the franchise going in Tokyo Drift, the least they could have done was throw him a bone and let him have a cameo.
March 11, 2009, 11:59 a.m. CST
And another sucky movie with lots of flashy stunts.
March 11, 2009, 12:02 p.m. CST
That is how shitty Hollywood is. Greed will cause them to remake Fast and Furious. Maybe less than five years do to declining attention spans.
March 11, 2009, 12:04 p.m. CST
"Fast and the Fourius." Because it's the fourth one, get it? Get it?<br> <br> No squid, fuck everything.
March 11, 2009, 12:13 p.m. CST
Wasn't Vin Diesel going to play Hannibal (not Lecter) at some point? Is that still happening? Could Vin Diesel do me a favor and start being in movies that are decent? So far his career has mostly consisted of making bad movies watchable.
March 11, 2009, 12:28 p.m. CST
looks fucking awful
March 11, 2009, 12:53 p.m. CST
needs to sort his career out
March 11, 2009, 12:55 p.m. CST
by Motoko Kusanagi
...I smell PLANT.
March 11, 2009, 12:56 p.m. CST
"Like....whoa" "Yeah...whoa" "Whoa" "Whoa" "Whoa" "Whoa" Etc, etc,etc,etc....winning shit!
March 11, 2009, 1:07 p.m. CST
Going to start a car shop with tyrese? I know this is before tokyo drift, but is it before part 2 also? And personally, I like tokyo drift the best because it has to do more with cars and less about crime than the other 2 did, but i m curious to see who this new installment does. Title seems appropriate and weak at the same time. And I love the fact that in part 2 they (the cops) basically know Brian let Dom off in part 1, and he still gets to be in the FBI. And did anyone else see that trailer where Walker's chasing that guy in the beginning as if it's not a fast furious movie? I guess they know they've driven the car fetish aspect of the film to the ground and pushed the cars as characters theme to the wayside. Tyrese said he had a cameo, but what about Lucas Black? I thought he did well in part 3, his character was the one I related to most in the series, the outsider getting pushed around by fools who don't know better until he shows them his skills (or develops them as far as his drifting is concerned).
March 11, 2009, 1:09 p.m. CST
Lovely fella, but bent as a question mark.
March 11, 2009, 1:09 p.m. CST
WELL! Color me fuckin' intrigued.
March 11, 2009, 1:23 p.m. CST
...is that they weren't trying to reboot recruit the import tuner craze, which is why it seemed more serious than the first three to this reviewer. They realized that the target audience for this wasn't the tuner crowd, but the crowd who enjoyed the Paul Walker/Vin Diesel chemistry. So they (smartly) made that the focal point, and that is really what this movie is all about. For that reason, I think some critics are going to end up liking it more than they were anticipating. It won't be hailed as a classic, but I think the gross is going to exceed most perceived expectations.
March 11, 2009, 1:24 p.m. CST
March 11, 2009, 1:27 p.m. CST
The DUI girl dies? I gathered that and I didn't read the spoiler parts.
March 11, 2009, 1:28 p.m. CST
well they are!
March 11, 2009, 1:53 p.m. CST
I'm not really interested in this movie, but the review was a solid review. Good work Weapon X and a half.
March 11, 2009, 1:56 p.m. CST
Loved the first one, The third one surprised me liked it too.. The 2nd one only saw one time didnt find it as overall fun or memorable. So I liked 2 out of 3 so far and I'm not a dickhead, lol.
March 11, 2009, 1:57 p.m. CST
So he's like a male Queen Lahtifa? Thats funny. I guess he figures that he can't make it as an action star if people know he's into dudes. I think it would have made XXX and A Man Apart different kinds of films all together.
March 11, 2009, 2:01 p.m. CST
You realize you're yelling 'plant' about a review where the person initially praises the film but then goes on to say it falls apart by the end...ummm how do I put this - typically, if studios are going to do 'plant reviews', they don't typically shit on their own product. Just figured you should know.
March 11, 2009, 2:34 p.m. CST
but not like this review though. i think plants praise for most of the review then mention one or 2 small problems then say "its nothing major" and still to go see it. kinda like in school when i copied the answers out the back of the book and just missed a few on purpose so i would keep it...a mystery...bwahaha
March 11, 2009, 2:49 p.m. CST
He may like the cock, but I know he likes the pussy, too. When he was bouncing at Tunnel here in NYC he was always knee deep in pussy. He went home almost every night with a different chick.
March 11, 2009, 2:51 p.m. CST
well they are!
March 11, 2009, 2:55 p.m. CST
...whenever everyone starts accusing them of being gay. THAT'S the true mark of absolute success.
March 11, 2009, 2:57 p.m. CST
It's a rip-off of Pagan rites by Christians who want to demonize the Pagan religion. But that aside, it crackes me up when people say Vin Diesel is gay. I think the guys who say that are threatened by him and they think he's hot so they get squeamish and scared how they might be gay so they starting accusing their man crush of being gay. Anyway, in 2008 he and his gorgeous model girlfriend Paloma Jimenez had a baby girl.
March 11, 2009, 3:03 p.m. CST
Unless you were actually one of the girls that you think Diesel bedded..how would you know if he was sleeping with them once you saw him leave with them?
March 11, 2009, 3:03 p.m. CST
I saw it thinking I would see some cool action and some badass car chases. I saw neither. I like Vin but he is incapable of choosing decent scripts.
March 11, 2009, 3:32 p.m. CST
"Wow Vin what are all these little statues around your house?" "Uhhh Warhammer...it's a battle.." "You painted these yourself? Yep, 432 hours and counting..." "Hmm are we going to fuck now?" "You don't want to see my D&D library first? I have over 800 books from the 70's to yesterday including a new release they are letting me playtest..."
March 11, 2009, 3:41 p.m. CST
by mr sulu
Someone I know who worked on F&F told me theres a hard core gay sex scene between Mr Disel and Mr Walker…apparently they both got so into it they actually started fuckin for real..VD violently pounding Walkers ass going ‘fuck it! Fuck it! Fuck it! Fuck it bee-atch!’…but im sure if this was in the film it would’ve warrant a mention….. Maybe they saving it for the R rated dvd…after all the theatre release will be PG 13 right?…or maybe this dude I know was mistaken and was watching them in their down time…hmmmm the plot thickens
March 11, 2009, 4:59 p.m. CST
VIN: "So this is my pad...."<p>CHICK: "It's amazing! I love what you've done with the walls!"<p>VIN: "I KNOW! Isn't it fabulous!"<p>CHICK: "?"<p>VIN: "When you said that you were studying Interior Design, I KNEW I had to get you back here. You want to watch some Sex And The City boxsets?"<p>CHICK: "You brought me back for that?"<p>VIN: "Well, we could watch Babylon AD?"<p>CHICK: "Let's go with the boxsets."
March 11, 2009, 5:01 p.m. CST
March 11, 2009, 5:10 p.m. CST
The enter key is not.
March 11, 2009, 5:18 p.m. CST
I used to bartend there. I still know 2 of the women who he took home quite well.
March 11, 2009, 5:22 p.m. CST
ha ha, way to completely humiliate yourself, knobhead!!
March 11, 2009, 5:26 p.m. CST
2001 was such a simpler time. I will pay $100 to see this movie, it has everything I want, minus lame Rob Cohen, who thought he knew everything about 20 somethings from one hit film. FUCK ROB COHEN!
March 11, 2009, 5:27 p.m. CST
While your script was mildly amusing, it would have been a lot funnier if you'd had them discussing movies and tv shows that actually existed in the early 90's. A for effort though
March 11, 2009, 5:30 p.m. CST
You're a funny kid. When you due back in Boystown?
March 11, 2009, 5:39 p.m. CST
March 11, 2009, 5:41 p.m. CST
I'm sorry I let you down.
March 11, 2009, 5:47 p.m. CST
by El Cimarron
cmon now slone... i'm fairly certain everyone here does not actually think Vin D is gay. incidently, my wife and i have a list of celebrities we'd allow the other one to be with. Vin D is on hers. Michelle Rodriguez on mines. so yeah, this is our perfect date movie.
March 11, 2009, 5:48 p.m. CST
by El Cimarron
... not that there's anything wrong with that
March 11, 2009, 6:09 p.m. CST
He's "BI SEXUAL!"....end of sexual preference discussion. All though I heard he blows dead goats....Ka chang!
March 11, 2009, 6:12 p.m. CST
Sounds like it's worth checking out. Glad to hear it's not a total pile of SH*T. I didn't enjoy the second one either.
March 11, 2009, 6:34 p.m. CST
...is it retarded enough to be a benefit? It kind of sounds like it!
March 11, 2009, 6:42 p.m. CST
Hahahaha. Classic. RIP Rodney.
March 11, 2009, 9:37 p.m. CST
she has one of the most kick ass smiles EVAR<br> pretty good actress, fun to look at, crazy in a good way
March 12, 2009, 5:20 a.m. CST
characters in a FATF movie??? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh my god,get fuckin serious. <p>the only thing it matters is this: does it have great cat stunts? yes? ok,it will worth its ticket,nothing else
March 12, 2009, 3:25 p.m. CST
Sweet, count me in. I hope we see the one where the cat gets stuck in the blinds again or the one where he has a plastic cone around his head to keep him from scratching.... <cue lols cats attachments>
...but it also keeps him from eating...then the director floats a gigantic "FAIL" on the screen.... OK, I'm done now. I need a drink
March 13, 2009, 8:41 p.m. CST
I'm confused a bit. I think the gay thing started when Kevin Smith said in his first book Silent Bob Speaks,or what ever it's called,he said something like " I know alot of women who would be shocked to know that the bald, muscle bound, action star they have fantasies about actualy loooves cock." Something like that. I remember another line in the book that says something about an un named actor enjoying the "glass bottom boat" with the ladies as well. I guess only he knows who he was reffering too.