Category Archives: Crime

Domino (2005) Review

Time: 127 Minutes
Keira Knightley as Domino Harvey
Mickey Rourke as Ed Moseby
Édgar Ramírez as Choco
Delroy Lindo as Claremont Williams
Mena Suvari as Kimmie
Lucy Liu as Taryn Mills
Christopher Walken as Mark Heiss
Director: Tony Scott

Domino Harvey, the daughter of a popular actor, decides to quit her career as a model to become a bounty hunter and lead a life full of excitement and adventure.

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Domino was one of the last Tony Scott movies I had left to watch. I knew that it starred Keira Knightley in the lead role and I had heard that it was one of Scott’s most divisive films. Having seen it I can understand why, but I still liked it a lot despite its issues.

The strangest thing about this movie is that it is a biopic, based off the real life story of Domino Harvey, the daughter of an actor who turns towards bounty hunting. While you can probably tell that there was some exaggeration of the story, knowing that it is based off facts does add to the experience somewhat. Getting it out of the way, Domino is a very uneven movie. Its messy and chaotic with how it jumps forward and backward in the story, Richard Kelly’s script has some inconsistences, and it doesn’t always make sense. However, it does somewhat add to the personality and mood of the narrative somewhat. There is a lot of brash originality here, it is also very over the top, full of one liners and dark humour. Though there is more to it than just that, there is some social and political commentary on the US, and a surprisingly humane and emotional core.

The actors are quite good in their parts. Keira Knightley plays the lead role of Domino Harvey and this is far different from anything else she’s been in before. She excels here and this is one of her most memorable performances. The supporting actors are also really good in their parts, especially Mickey Rourke, Édgar Ramirez, and Christopher Walken.

Tony Scott is known for having a very flashy directing style, whether it be for Man on Fire, The Taking of Pelham 123 or Déjà Vu. However, Domino by far is Scott at his most stylishly excessive and his most experimental; the editing alone makes his other movies look normal. The directing choices are overwhelming and much of the frenzied style will be unappealing to many. While it was a bit much, overall I did like it. It helped give this theatrical, high octane and kinetic energy throughout, with never a dull moment. There is an effectively seedy vibe, especially with the offputting camera and high colour saturation. The action scenes are also lively, brutal and full of energy.

Although some of the writing and storytelling can be a little messy and the plot isn’t the most interesting, Domino is otherwise pretty good, with solid performances led by Keira Knightley, and flashy and stylish direction from Tony Scott. It’s certainly not for everyone and the direction and style can be offputting for some, but it was at the very least an interesting ride, and one of Scott’s most experimental and unique films.


Man on Fire (2004) Review

Time: 146 Minutes
Age Rating: R16 – Violence & content that may disturb
Denzel Washington as John W. Creasy
Dakota Fanning as Guadalupe “Lupita” (Pita) Ramos
Radha Mitchell as Lisa Ramos
Christopher Walken as Paul Rayburn
Marc Anthony as Samuel Ramos
Giancarlo Giannini as Miguel Manzano
Mickey Rourke as Jordan Kalfus
Director: Tony Scott

John, an ex-CIA officer, is entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding an entrepreneur’s daughter. When the girl gets kidnapped, John vows to seek revenge.

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Man on Fire is one of Tony Scott’s best movies, a brutal action thriller that is strengthened by the great performances (especially from Denzel Washington), and some stellar direction.

Man on Fire is initially a familiar revenge thriller, and while it certainly fits that genre, at its core it is a character study. This simple story is held together by the complexity of Denzel Washington’s lead character. The trope of having a character with a dark past forming a bond with a character before they are hurt, kidnapped or killed prompting them to get revenge isn’t always the most effective, usually because it doesn’t feel that genuine. Man on Fire however dedicates its first 45 minutes on Washington’s character spending time protecting Dakota Fanning and becoming friends with her. The movie really takes time to develop their relationship and building up these characters and the story instead of just rushing to the part where the protagonist goes loose. Indeed, the rest of the movie is Washington going on a rampage, but the scenes are given so much weight and meaning because of the time spend beforehand. Despite Scott’s often fast pace, it is slower compared to some of his other movies. This slow development really contributes to the emotion and suspense of the second and third acts. Make no mistake, for as brutal as the movie gets, it is an emotionally filled journey.

Denzel Washington gives another phenomenal performance in the lead role. He has the charisma that only he could pull off, and also does well at conveying his character’s backslide into killing again, and is convincingly a force of nature. Dakota Fanning is also really good as the girl that Washington’s character has to protect, and those two share a bond together. While you’ve seen this type of relationship before when it comes to revenge movies with similar plots, it is truly one of the best examples of it. Without this strong central relationship, the movie wouldn’t have been nearly as effective. Christopher Walken is good as Washington’s closest friend, and other actors like Giancarlo Giannini and Mickey Rourke also work well in their parts.

As expected from Tony Scott, his kinetic style is incredibly in your face and it does a lot to serve the overall narrative. With the stylish camerawork, cinematography and editing, it gives this disorientating feeling which helps put us in the protagonist’s perspective. The action is engaging, and the violence is brutal, striking and yet grounded.

Man on Fire is a familiar but well executed revenge thriller, stylishly directed, gripping, and led by a reliably great Denzel Washington. One of Tony Scott’s best films.

Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) Review

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: M – Violence & offensive language
Eddie Murphy as Detective Axel Foley
Judge Reinhold as Detective Billy Rosewood
Jürgen Prochnow as Maxwell Dent
John Ashton as Sergeant John Taggart
Ronny Cox as Captain Andrew Bogomil
Brigitte Nielsen as Karla Fry
Allen Garfield as Chief Harold Lutz
Paul Reiser as Detective Jeffrey Friedman
Director: Tony Scott

When a series of Alphabet Crimes, wherein the robbers leave behind monogrammed envelopes in high-end stores, rock Beverley Hills, Axel Foley, an undercover detective, is called to help.

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I enjoyed the first Beverly Hills Cop, a fun buddy cop comedy which is boosted by an energetic and entertaining Eddie Murphy in the lead role. I heard some mixed things about the sequel, but the fact that Tony Scott directed it had me interested nonetheless. Overall, I liked it about as much as that first movie.

Beverly Hill Cops II has a pretty familiar and safe script, and feels somewhat like a retread of its predecessor. However, it still retains the entertaining spirit of the original. It moves more towards an action movie direction instead of a fish out of water comedy like the first one was. The humour is pretty funny, though I don’t think the jokes hit as hard or frequently compared to the last movie. Despite the writing not being as strong, I was still entertained throughout.

Fortunately, the sequel retains many of the likable characters from the first movie. Once again, Eddie Murphy is highly entertaining as Axel Foley, and remains one of the best aspects of these movies. The supporting cast is also pretty good, particularly Judge Reinhold and Paul Reiser; they are given a lot more to do here and share some great chemistry with Murphy.

One of the movie’s biggest strengths is the direction, which is more standout here. Tony Scott brings his trademark stylistic visual flair, injecting a lot of energy and action into the film. The action beats are more explosive and are highly entertaining, but the third act is particularly where it kicks into full Tony Scott mode as it goes all out with the set pieces. The music is also pretty good, with solid needle drops and its iconic theme song.

I’d consider Beverly Hills Cop II to be at about the same level of the first movie. It is flawed in some areas; the comedy doesn’t hit as hard and the plot is quite samey for a sequel. At the same time, it has some good performances (with Eddie Murphy delivering as always) and Tony Scott’s action, style and direction makes up for much of the writing issues. Considering how most sequels to action comedies are mixed bags, Beverly Hills Cop II is actually pretty good.

The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009) Review

Time: 106 Minutes
Age Rating: R16 – contains violence & offensive language
Denzel Washington as Walter Garber
John Travolta as Dennis ‘Ryder’ Ford/Mr. Blue
John Turturro as Lieutenant Vincent Camonetti
Luis Guzmán as Phil Ramos/Mr. Green
Michael Rispoli as John Johnson
James Gandolfini as the Mayor of New York
Director: Tony Scott

A subway dispatcher’s day is thrown into chaos when four armed men hijack the subway train and take the commuters as hostages. They demand USD 10 million from the mayor as ransom.

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Tony Scott’s The Taking of Pelham 123 is a remake of the 1970s hostage thriller of the same name. I did watch that 1974 original, but its been a while since I saw it, so I am viewing the 2009 version as its own movie. Overall, it is pretty good action thriller.  

The premise is pretty familiar and straightforward, it’s a hostage situation where a subway train is hijacked, and someone has to negotiate with the leader of the hijackers. The script is pretty thin, but it was suspenseful and well paced throughout, and I found it consistently entertaining. It particularly comes alive during the phone interactions between the two leads, it is vibrant, and the back and forth conversations are thrilling.

There is a great cast, but it mostly comes down to Denzel Washington and John Travolta in the lead roles. Washington is reliably good, bringing life to a character in an ordinary job who finds himself caught in a very tense situation, and he helps to get you connected to the story. Travolta plays the leader of the hijackers and that antagonist of the film. His performance is unhinged, campy, psychotic and brash, and he’s clearly having a lot of fun here. He definitely won’t work for everyone, but I liked him here. These two are the driving force of the movie and particularly made for a good pairing because of how much they contrasted against each other. Washington is grounded and underplays things, while Travolta is incredibly over the top. There’s a clear connection between the two characters and they play well off each other, with their interactions being some of the highlights of the movie. There’s also a pretty good supporting cast, with actors like John Turturro, Luis Guzman, James Gandolfini giving solid performances.

Tony Scott directs this with his trademark frenetic style (most evident in his 2000s movies), which really helps to propel things forward. The cinematography is dizzying, frantic and has vibrant colours, the editing is fast paced and flashy, and the action is pretty gripping. With this, Scott does particularly well at adding a lot of visual style to the phone conversations.

The Taking of Pelham 123 is a well made and tense hostage thriller, confidently and stylishly directed by Tony Scott, and with solid lead performances from Denzel Washington and John Travolta. Not one of Scott’s best by any means, but it is pretty good, and worth checking out.

True Romance (1993) Review

Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: R18
Christian Slater as Clarence Worley
Patricia Arquette as Alabama Whitman
Dennis Hopper as Clifford Worley
Val Kilmer as Elvis
Gary Oldman as Drexl Spivey
Brad Pitt as Floyd
Christopher Walken as Vincenzo Coccotti
Bronson Pinchot as Elliot Blitzer
Samuel L. Jackson as Don “Big Don”
Director: Tony Scott

A comic-book nerd and Elvis fanatic Clarence (Christian Slater) and a prostitute named Alabama (Patricia Arquette) fall in love. Clarence breaks the news to her pimp and ends up killing him. He grabs a suitcase of cocaine on his way out thinking it is Alabama’s clothing. The two hit the road for California hoping to sell the cocaine, but the mob is soon after them.

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True Romance was a movie that I had been meaning to watch for some time. I knew that it was one of Quentin Tarantino’s earliest scripts which he sold so he could make Reservoir Dogs, and which was directed by Tony Scott instead. It didn’t disappoint.

As expected, Tarantino’s script is great. True Romance definitely contains a lot of his trademarks: snappy dialogue, violence, dark humour, a lot of pop culture references and a clear love for cinema. It’s definitely a flawed script, it’s definitely not among Tarantino’s best, and doesn’t have a whole lot of substance to it. However, Tony Scott executes the script well and makes it work even better, particularly with its hyper kinetic pace and flow. It succeeds at being an oddly charming romance crime film, and I especially prefer Scott’s ending compared to what Tarantino had in mind originally.  

One of the biggest standouts of the movie is the incredibly large and talented cast involved. The characters are memorable, and the actors help to convey them incredibly well, particularly in delivering Tarantino’s witty dialogue. Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette are fantastic as the lead characters, both of whom help to really anchor the movie. While the romance may be sudden, the two have such excellent chemistry that it’s believable. The supporting cast is large and great, including the likes of Gary Oldman, Val Kilmer, Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, Tom Sizemore, Samuel L. Jackson, and James Gandolfini. Even if they aren’t in many scenes, they make the most of their screentime.

Tony Scott’s energetic direction is one of the key parts of the movie’s success, as important as the script. It is definitely an earlier film of Scott’s as it is very different from his more recent direction seen in the likes of Man on Fire, Unstoppable and Enemy of the State. Still, its very stylish and has some stunning cinematography. It also has some startling brutal violence that benefits from Scott’s rapid editing and stylised action. The soundtrack is also solid, from Hans Zimmer’s composed score to the other great musical choices.

True Romance is entertaining from beginning to end, a great paring of Quentin Tarantino’s great (if imperfect) writing with Tony Scott’s slick direction, featuring an outstanding ensemble cast. It’s my favourite from Scott, and it is well worth checking out.

Déjà Vu (2006) Review

Time: 126 Minutes
Denzel Washington as ATF Special Agent Douglas Carlin
Paula Patton as Claire Kuchever
Jim Caviezel as Carroll Oerstadt
Val Kilmer as FBI Special Agent Paul Pryzwarra
Adam Goldberg as Dr. Alexander Denny
Director: Tony Scott

Doug joins hands with the FBI in order to investigate a ferry explosion. Using a technique that enables him to look into the past, he also tries his best to save a woman he knows.

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Déjà Vu is possibly one of Tony Scott’s best movies, a stylish action thriller that’s enjoyable throughout.

Déjà Vu takes a familiar sci-fi/time travel concept and handles it in an exciting way. It gets into certain concepts with time bending and wormholes, and while it might not make the most sense, I was willing to go along with what they were saying. There’s also a surprising amount of emotional depth; this is probably one of Scott’s more sentimental and sincere films, with themes involving love transcending time and space. There’s a ton of exposition (mostly to do with explaining time travel), but it worked well enough for me. It is paced very well across its runtime and culminates in a spectacular final act.

As expected, Denzel Washington gives an excellent, charismatic and earnest performance in the lead role of the detective. It also has a solid supporting cast. Paula Patton and Adam Goldberg are good, and Val Kilmer has enjoyable chemistry with Washington.

Tony Scott directs this very well with his familiar style, especially with the cinematography, saturated colours and editing. The action is great, very stylish and frenetic. The standout set piece for me was a car chase where the pursued and pursuer are in two completely different time periods.

Déjà Vu is an entertaining and well directed time travel action thriller from Tony Scott, with creative and exciting set pieces, a surprisingly engaging story, and a good cast of performances led by Denzel Washington.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984) Review

Time: 105 Minutes
Age Rating: M
Eddie Murphy as Detective Axel Foley
Judge Reinhold as Detective William “Billy” Rosewood
John Ashton as Sergeant John Taggart
Lisa Eilbacher as Jeanette “Jenny” Summers
Steven Berkoff as Victor Maitland
Ronny Cox as Lieutenant Andrew Bogomil
Director: Martin Brest

Mikey, police officer Axel Foley’s friend, is murdered soon after he arrives in Detroit. When Axel takes up the investigation, he finds himself embroiled in the criminal world of Beverly Hills.

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I had heard a lot about Beverly Hills Cop, its one of those 80s action comedy classics I heard a lot about, and is led by one of Eddie Murphy’s most iconic roles. I went in knowing just that and I enjoyed it a lot.

The story is straightforward, familiar and has very little surprises. Nothing is outstanding or memorable plotwise. Thankfully, the movie is more focussed on its characters and their interactions, and the plot itself moves quickly. There are plenty of funny situations, scenarios and jokes, and most of them consistently deliver over the course of the movie.

Eddie Murphy is the most known part of the movie, and for good reason. As protagonist fast talking cop Axel Foley, Murphy gives a charismatic and magnetic performance, and is really fun to watch. He carries much of the movie on his own, he’s the key to it working as well as it does. John Aston and Judge Reinhold’s pair of cops make for effective foils to Eddie Murphy’s antics, and altogether make for a solid comedic trio. Other actors like Gilbert R. Hill, Ronny Cox, Steven Berkhoff, Lisa Eilbacher are good in their parts too.

The movie is directed well by Martin Brest. While they aren’t the best parts of the movie, the handful of action set pieces definitely added to the entertainment. The film is also accompanied very well by a very catchy soundtrack.

Beverly Hills Cop is a straightforward but funny and well made buddy cop comedy, and benefits strongly from Eddie Murphy’s great lead performance.

Fast X (2023) Review

Time: 141 Minutes
Age Rating: M – Violence
Vin Diesel as Dominic “Dom” Toretto
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Ludacris as Tej Parker
John Cena as Jakob Toretto
Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey
Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto
Sung Kang as Han Lue
Scott Eastwood as Little Nobody
Daniela Melchior as Isabel Neves
Alan Ritchson as Aimes
Helen Mirren as Magdalene “Queenie” Ellmanson-Shaw
Brie Larson as Tess
Rita Moreno as Abuelita Toretto
Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw
Jason Momoa as Dante Reyes
Charlize Theron as Cipher
Director: Louis Leterrier

Over many missions and against impossible odds, Dom Toretto and his family have outsmarted and outdriven every foe in their path. Now, they must confront the most lethal opponent they’ve ever faced. Fueled by revenge, a terrifying threat emerges from the shadows of the past to shatter Dom’s world and destroy everything — and everyone — he loves.

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I am a fan of the Fast and Furious movies, even with their obvious absurdity and issues, I have fun with them. So I was interested in the upcoming movie, but I was particularly interested in the fact that it the series is apparently coming to its close, with Fast X essentially being a 3 film (previously 2 film) story. I had a lot of fun with this one.

Plotwise, it is certainly in line with the past movies, so if you’re familiar enough with them, you can figure out quickly whether you’ll be into Fast X or not. The last movie F9 got a little too convoluted, but Fast X is refreshingly straightforward. While it is apparently building up some vague ‘war’, at its core, it’s about the main villain going after Dominic Toretto and his family for revenge. Like F9, Fast X has the Fast family splitting off into separate groups with their own subplots, and once again it did feel a little awkward and overstuffed at times. Thankfully, it retains the tone and approach that makes these movies so endearing. I maintain that the sincerity is the key ingredient that makes these movies uniquely entertaining, and at least different to any other modern blockbuster involving cars. The Fast and Furious franchise is basically a big soap opera, whether it be characters dying then later revealed to be alive, or villains becoming friends (or at allies). This adds a unique flavour to these movies which make theme particularly enjoyable, although they can get a little too carried away with this sometimes. Fast & Furious (2009) got a little too self serious with its revenge plot, and the flashbacks of F9 fell into that too. Fast X is more balanced however, it is willing to defy the laws of physics for entertainment, but isn’t snarky or self conscious about it, and is genuine with its story and characters.

It is a fairly long movie at 2 hours and 20 minutes in length, but is well paced enough that I was generally entertained throughout. The exceptions are a couple of scenes which halt the plot purely with comedy, the standout being a scene involving a celebrity cameo which I really could’ve done without. As I said earlier, Fast X is really part 1 of a 3 part story, and its worth knowing that before going into it. It’s actually surprising that it wasn’t added in the film’s title or addressed as such in the opening or closing credits. That’s really the only explanation I have for why much of the story feels incomplete, with plenty of unanswered questions, and characters which didn’t receive as much attention as others. So I can imagine some unaware viewers will be frustrated by its cliffhanger ending. I am willing to wait and see how the next two movies continue this story, but much of Fast X’s quality will depend on whether they can deliver. For what it is worth, if you have some investment in the franchise, you should probably stick around for the mid credits scene.

Much of the main Fast and Furious cast return, with Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang and more reprising their roles. They do well enough in their screentime, though some get to do more than others. For example, Jason Statham but doesn’t have much to do here, no doubt because his scenes are just setting up things for the next films. On the other hand, John Cena was one of the highlights in a far less villainous role compared to his last appearance. Charlize Theron also returns in a different sort of role here, and while she isn’t the driving force of the movie or anything, this is probably her best appearance in the franchise yet, even getting to do some action. There are also some newer actors to the series, including Daniela Melchior, Alan Ritchson, and Brie Larson, and they’re good in their screentime. However, the standout of the whole movie is Jason Momoa, who is by far the best villain of the franchise, but also the most fun I’ve seen an actor have in these movies. It helps that the movie does well at framing his character Dante as this unstoppable force, but Momoa also delivers a highly campy and charismatic performance (which at times feels like he’s riffing on the Joker). The movie lights up whenever he comes on screen; he knows what kind of movie he’s in, and Fast X would’ve been a much worse movie without him.

Justin Lin was originally directing the movie, but left part way during filming due to ‘creative differences’. He was replaced by Louis Leterrier, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to be since his filmography is a bit of a mixed bag. That said, Fast X is one of his stronger movies. The action is entertaining, over the top and contains some absurd stunts. I even like the creativity in the way things are filmed, especially with the use of drones. Otherwise, the direction is on a level that you’d expect from a movie of this franchise. As far as technical issues go, the opening scene started things on an awkward note. It calls back to Fast Five and places Jason Momoa’s character in the climax of that movie, and the messy editing did make it a bit weird. I also noticed some other weirdly edited moments in the first third, but I think it improves as it goes along.

As expected, Fast X is another absurd, wonderfully melodramatic and entertaining entry in the Fast and Furious franchise with over the top action, and is boosted by a delightfully villainous Jason Momoa. It’s better than the last few movies but doesn’t quite reach the heights of 5-7. Needless to say, if you’ve never enjoyed any of these movies, this won’t change your mind. If you get any kind of enjoyment from them however, I think you’ll have some fun with this one.

Fast & Furious (2009) Review

Time: 107 Minutes
Age Rating: M – contains violence, offensive language and sexual references
Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto
John Ortiz as Ramon Campos
Gal Gadot as Gisele Yashar
Laz Alonso as Fenix Calderon
Director: Justin Lin

Dominic Toretto, an ex-convict, and an FBI agent, Brian O’Connor, wish to take down heroin importer, Arturo Braga. However, they must team up and overcome their distrust to be successful.

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Compared to the other movies in the Fast and Furious franchise, I wasn’t as familiar with Fast & Furious (2009). It might’ve been the first movie from the series I watched, but that was so long ago and I barely remembered it, so I decided to check it out again. This is usually placed alongside 2 Fast 2 Furious as the worst of the franchise and having seen it I can see why, but I still enjoyed it.

The weird title implies that they were attempting a soft reboot, while having a reunion of the original Fast and Furious characters. As far as references to the previous movies go, it does have Han Lue (Sung Kang) who was in the previous movie Tokyo Drift. Otherwise, it is a continuation of the story from the first movie set 5 years later. While all the movies tied into street racing in some way, the 2009 film has something of a different story with it being about revenge. It was definitely on its way to having its shake up in approach in Fast Five. Unfortunately, the plot is pretty forgettable and isn’t particularly interesting, lacking the energy of the previous movies. Also, the plot becomes weirdly convoluted when it shouldn’t be that complicated. I feel like the key element in the Fast and Furious movies that make it stand out from just being car movies with the action being the only draw is its sincerity. That being said, the fourth movie takes itself a bit too seriously, with its considerably darker story. This doesn’t help considering that much of the movie is already silly even beyond the over the top action. A major part of the movie is how Letty (Michelle Rodrgieuz) is killed and Dom goes looking for revenge, and there’s literally a scene where he mentally recreates a crime scene which he wasn’t present for and sees her death like he’s Sherlock Holmes or something. So while I appreciate the attempt at being slightly different, it doesn’t work at being serious or fun.

The acting and characters are a bit of a mixed bag, but it was nice seeing the original Fast and Furious actors and characters reprise their roles with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster. Between them, Walker’s Brian O’Conner probably gets the most development, so there’s that at least. Gal Gadot makes her first appearance in the franchise here, but doesn’t really do a whole lot, and her character of Giselle is very underdeveloped. It’s also capped off with a very forgettable antagonist played by John Ortiz.

Justin Lin returns from the last Fast and Furious movie (Tokyo Drift) to direct the fourth installment, and the film does benefit from his slick direction. The set pieces have their moments, the stunts are great, and the scenes can get tense at times. The opening sequence is quite entertaining, unfortunately nothing else in the movie is as memorable as that first scene, or even the action of the previous movies.

Fast & Furious (2009) is best described as a stepping stone movie. It is definitely important for the main story, but even with its attempt at a soft reboot, ironically its follow up movie succeeds much better. I agree that it is one of the worst in the franchise, but it still decent enough. While the plot isn’t that interesting, it is enjoyable, especially with the solid direction and entertaining and over the top action scenes. The best thing about the movie is that it led the way for Fast Five.

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) Review

Time: 108 Minutes
Age Rating: M – contains medium level violence
Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Eva Mendes as Monica Fuentes
Cole Hauser as Carter Verone
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Tej Parker
James Remar as Agent Markham
Director: John Singleton

Brian O’Conner, a former police officer, partners with Roman Pierce, his friend and a criminal, to bring a drug lord to justice in order to erase their criminal record.

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There are a range of reactions to the Fast and Furious movies. However, from what I’ve seen, the second installment in 2 Fast and 2 Furious is often cited as the worst of the series. After rewatching it, I can definitely see why, but I still got some enjoyment out of it.

The story and characters are fairly thin, undercooked and not that memorable. Much like the other pre-Fast Five movies, the plot is focusing on racing, but it definitely takes a step towards where F&F is today with it being about the main characters taking down a drug lord. It even does some worldbuilding despite most of the characters not returning from the first movie. It lacks the sincerity of the previous film and instead leans further into the cheese and silliness. It is openly dumb and honestly benefits from that. It is wonderfully implausible especially with the action, although relatively tame compared to the later movies of the franchise. That being said, there is a very dark scene with the main villain torturing someone which doesn’t fit in with the rest of the movie. Beyond that, it is a fun enough buddy movie.

The leads in this are Paul Walker reprising his role as Brian O’Conner (the only returning character from the last movie), and Tyrese Gibson in his first appearance as Roman (who also became a major character in the series from 5 onwards). While Walker is functional but fairly bland, the two are entertaining on screen together, they have a more entertaining dynamic compared to Walker and Vin Diesel in the first movie. Gibson was particularly a fun addition, and is funny especially with his line deliveries. The other actors and characters including Eva Mendes and Ludacris (who makes his first appearance as Tej and would be another recurring F&F character) are also decent. The villain played by Cole Hauser was fairly forgettable and generic; the aforementioned torture scene was the only time where he felt threatening.

John Singleton’s direction of this movie isn’t great, but he at least made an entertaining enough movie. The action wasn’t spectacular and it usually contains some really bad CGI, but they are stylised and entertaining. While the set pieces in the previous movie are better constructed, 2 Fast and 2 Furious had probably more entertaining action scenes just for how over the top they are.

2 Fast 2 Furious is by far the worst in the franchise and is a step down from the first movie, but it is still pretty entertaining. For those who are familiar with the later movies, but not the pre Fast 5 films, it might be worth checking out just to see how much the movies have changed. Outside of that, it is a fun buddy movie, but isn’t particularly special.