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Weapon X and a Half Gets FAST & FURIOUS!!

Merrick here...
...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 this film). 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... HEAVY SPOILERS! 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 Fast/Furious film. 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 groaner. 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 Brian). 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 Talkback
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  • March 11, 2009, 9:48 a.m. CST

    So many italics!

    by chrth

    I had to read that with my head tilted

  • March 11, 2009, 9:52 a.m. CST

    You read it?

    by donkey_lasher

    And didn't rush to the bottom to post first?

  • March 11, 2009, 9:55 a.m. CST


    by the1980mutant

    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

    Did Michelle Rodriguez...

    by Ron Mexico

    get a DUI on the set of filming this too?

  • March 11, 2009, 9:56 a.m. CST

    by donkey_lasher

    "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

    Donkey_Lasher: Did I post 'First'?

    by chrth

    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

    Vin DIesel still gets work? what about rappers?

    by Jugdish

    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

    Oh man, I can't wait

    by slone13

    I loved the first one. One of my favorite guilry pleasures.

  • March 11, 2009, 10:10 a.m. CST

    They are ALL fucking great foolish knave

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Oscar worthy by the eighth installment.

  • March 11, 2009, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Is there break-dancing in this one?

    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

    Wait? So you're trying to say it was dark and personal?

    by Crow3711

    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

    2 Fast 2 Furious was the only good one.

    by NinjaRap

    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

    Point Break

    by Sam_Keith_Wannabe

    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

    Gotta watch out for those heroine dealers...

    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

    Who are the ad wizards...

    by wampa 1

    ...that came up with this one?

  • March 11, 2009, 10:30 a.m. CST

    I just want to see those two back together on screen

    by terry1978

    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


    by donkey_lasher


  • March 11, 2009, 10:44 a.m. CST


    by donkey_lasher

    I salute your ability to read so fast, that is all.

  • March 11, 2009, 11:12 a.m. CST

    DL: Well I did skip the Spoiler section the first time

    by chrth

    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


    by redfist

    Yes Paul Walker, the blond Keanu Reeves is an FBI agent:

  • March 11, 2009, 11:36 a.m. CST


    by chetedawg


  • March 11, 2009, 11:40 a.m. CST


    by chetedawg


  • March 11, 2009, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Vin D. is all about the cock.

    by V'Shael

    Worst kept secret in Hollywood since Jodie Foster.

  • March 11, 2009, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Diesel, Cruise, Travolta, and Spacey ... IN

    by V'Shael

    "The Closet" <p> Directed by Bryan Singer. <br>Produced by Egg Pictures.

  • March 11, 2009, 11:53 a.m. CST

    "MOM! Vin Diesel won't come out of the closet!"

    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

    I read it.. :(

    by Skinny0ne

    Vinnie is not a pussy.

  • March 11, 2009, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Where's the Slingblade kid?

    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

    Faux Gold plated SHIT

    by EvilWizardGlick

    And another sucky movie with lots of flashy stunts.

  • March 11, 2009, 12:02 p.m. CST

    Fuck you people 5 years and the first gets remade.

    by EvilWizardGlick

    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

    Shoulda been called

    by jabbayoda

    "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

    Whatever happened to Hannibal?

    by phool2056

    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

    the train or bus scene or whatever

    by supercowbell4therequestformorecowbell

    looks fucking awful

  • March 11, 2009, 12:53 p.m. CST

    vin diesel

    by The_Exterminator

    needs to sort his career out

  • March 11, 2009, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Well, I'm no biologist but...

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    ...I smell PLANT.

  • March 11, 2009, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Reeves+Walker=Beavis & Butthead

    by McFlyWalker

    "Like....whoa" "Yeah...whoa" "Whoa" "Whoa" "Whoa" "Whoa" Etc, etc,etc,etc....winning shit!

  • March 11, 2009, 1:07 p.m. CST

    I thought Paul Walker was

    by Jesiah

    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

    Vin Diesel is as gay as Christmas.

    by BiggusDickus

    Lovely fella, but bent as a question mark.

  • March 11, 2009, 1:09 p.m. CST

    So its not only fast...but furious as well you say?

    by Crow3711

    WELL! Color me fuckin' intrigued.

  • March 11, 2009, 1:23 p.m. CST

    The best thing about this movie...

    by LastDragon 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


    by LastDragon


  • March 11, 2009, 1:27 p.m. CST


    by Series7

    The DUI girl dies? I gathered that and I didn't read the spoiler parts.

  • March 11, 2009, 1:28 p.m. CST

    people who like these films are dick heads.

    by Muki

    well they are!

  • March 11, 2009, 1:53 p.m. CST

    good review

    by Nizzuts

    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

    Lookin forward to it.

    by MRJONZ72

    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

    Gay Vin Diesel? Really?

    by liljuniorbrown

    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

    Uhh JohnnyAzetc....

    by ScottinDC

    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

    well they shit on it a little somethimes.

    by supercowbell4therequestformorecowbell

    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

    Let's be clear here RE: Vin Diesel's sexuality

    by slone13

    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

    People who call themselves Muki are assholes

    by slone13

    well they are!

  • March 11, 2009, 2:55 p.m. CST

    You can tell a celebrity has "made it"

    by NinjaRap

    ...whenever everyone starts accusing them of being gay. THAT'S the true mark of absolute success.

  • March 11, 2009, 2:57 p.m. CST

    Christmas isn't Gay...

    by allykatD

    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

    Yo Slone13

    by Punch_Drunk

    Unless you were actually one of the girls that you think Diesel would you know if he was sleeping with them once you saw him leave with them?

  • March 11, 2009, 3:03 p.m. CST

    The first one was awful

    by Charlie_Allnut

    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

    "He went home almost every night with a different chick. "

    by DOGSOUP

    "Wow Vin what are all these little statues around your house?" "Uhhh'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

    No mention of the VD/Walker sex scene?

    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

    "He went home almost every night with a different chick. "


    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

    Formatting is your friend

    by Crooooooow

    The enter key is not.

  • March 11, 2009, 5:18 p.m. CST


    by slone13

    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


    by Muki

    ha ha, way to completely humiliate yourself, knobhead!!

  • March 11, 2009, 5:26 p.m. CST

    Fred Durst Cameo

    by raystevensonwarzone

    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


    by slone13

    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

    Oh Muki

    by slone13

    You're a funny kid. When you due back in Boystown?

  • March 11, 2009, 5:39 p.m. CST


    by Muki

  • March 11, 2009, 5:41 p.m. CST



    I'm sorry I let you down.

  • March 11, 2009, 5:47 p.m. CST

    Vin D

    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 not GAY!!!!!

    by moto_moto

    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

    Happy to hear it!

    by BlueHawaiiSurfer

    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

    If one is expecting the retarded last act...

    by Archive it retarded enough to be a benefit? It kind of sounds like it!

  • March 11, 2009, 6:42 p.m. CST

    "When you due back in Boystown?"

    by crazyhorse2099

    Hahahaha. Classic. RIP Rodney.

  • March 11, 2009, 9:37 p.m. CST

    I like Michelle Rodriguez

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    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

    We are talking about story,plot and

    by ominus

    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

    Cat Stunts?!?

    by BBQGlazedSeabass

    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>

  • March 12, 2009, 3:27 p.m. CST

    by BBQGlazedSeabass

    ...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

    So the gay thing isn't a known fact.

    by liljuniorbrown

    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.