Directed by Rob Cohen, starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster.
'The Fast and The Furious' was this year's surprise hit at the US box office, taking $41m in its opening weekend and turning a series of magazine articles about illegal street racing into the summer movie for a generation. So, if you see 14-year-olds trying to soup up people carriers in your cul-de-sac you'll know what they've been watching.
The story chases Brian (Walker), an undercover cop trying to solve a series of hi-speed truck heists on the freeways outside LA. The trail leads him to Dominic (Diesel), a hard man who fixes people's cars by day and races his own across the streets and boulevards at night. While attempting to remain objective, Brian falls for Dominic's sister Mia (Brewster) and forms an unlikely friendship with the mechanic, convinced that breaking the speed limit is the extent of his illegal activities. But while Dominic may seem like he's got every angle covered, he's managed to get on the wrong side of a Vietnamese gangster and when the bullets start to fly, Brian has to decide between his badge and the code of the road.
If it all sounds like 'Point Break' don't worry, it is, albeit with a V12 and wheels strapped to the surfboard. With a plot that could be written on the back of a pine tree car freshener, 'The Fast and the Furious' is 90 minutes of revving engines and spluttering dialogue welded together with a rap soundtrack and set pieces. The car sequences are good if unspectacular (after the likes of 'Bullitt', 'French Connection' and 'Ronin', is there anywhere left to go with cars in cities?) but when the fumes clear and your heartbeat slows down, you arrive at the main problem: Walker. Hopelessly wooden, he injects humour into every scene with his 'Hold on, I, am, coming, with you' delivery and inability to come anywhere close to Diesel – either by the mile or by the line. Following on from his star turn in last year's sleeper hit 'Pitch Black', Diesel is great as the mad bald guy who's likely to go off at any minute. He would've made a far more convincing and compromised cop than Walker and with Michelle ('Girlfight') Rodriguez scowling in the background as his onscreen girlfriend, you have to wonder why Cohen didn't cast her as the villain of the piece and do his bit for equality in the fast lane?
'The Fast and The Furious' should give Cohen a blank cheque for his next movie and adds to Diesel's growing reputation as the tough guy of choice for action movie fans. As for Walker, let's just say that Keanu Reeves has some very stiff competition.