Directed by John Singleton, starring Paul Walker, Tyrese, Eva Mendes and Cole Hauser.

Last time it was LA, this time it's Miami. The director was Rob Cohen, for the sequel it's the man behind the 'Shaft' remake and 'Boyz N the Hood'. Vin Diesel was the real star, now R&B singer Tyrese gets the chance to steal his thunder. But some things stay the same: Paul Walker returns as the misfit hero, the cars are still as big and the engines just as loud.

Booted out of the force after helping Tyretto (Diesel) escape, Brian O'Conner (Walker) keeps himself in sparkplugs and Converse by tearing 'round the after dark streets of Florida in illegal races. His plans for asphalt domination spin out however, when he's arrested and given an ultimatum by customs officers. Either O'Conner helps them bust major drug dealer Carter Verone (Hauser) or he ends up reading car magazines in the big house until he's old enough to travel for free on buses.

Sensing the need for some back up, O'Conner tracks down childhood buddy and jailbird Roman Pearce (Tyrese), another thrill seeker with a huge chip on his shoulder about O'Connner's former occupation. With their engines revved and stories rehearsed, O'Conner and Pearce become wheelmen for Verone but with an undercover agent (Mendes) complicating matters and the rivalry between the former friends always on the boil, chances are the cars will come out in better shape than they will.

Whatever charms the first one had, the sequel badly misses the Diesel-injection and Singleton turns in a decidedly average attempt at summer mayhem. With the best car scene out of the way in the first ten minutes, the rest of '2 Fast...' is built around a plot that any 80's cop show did ten times better.

Singleton excelled in 'Boyz N the Hood' at depicting friendships but despite Tyrese's knack for a one-liner, there's just not enough of an emotional edge to his and Walker's over-the-limit antics. The chemistry between the duo suggested a few jokes would've gone a long way, instead there's the eyecandy but unnecessary temptation of Mendes and a scene involving a rat in a bucket tied to a man's stomach that most horrors would think was going too fear. The tricks of a director running out of gas? There are fumes in the air by the end.

You'll want to own the cars, but not the DVD.

Harry Guerin