With its Miami Beach setting, cadre of evil-druglord villains, and gravity-defying car chases, director John Singleton's follow-up to 2001's sleeper hit The Fast and the Furious isn't really trying to live up to its predecessor so much as it's attempting to be the big-screen equivalent of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. In that respect, it can only fail. The Playstation title boasts a better cast than the Vin Diesel-less 2 Fast 2 Furious, not to mention more-authentic production design, visually coherent stunts, and -- most importantly -- a keen awareness of its own clichés. But perhaps that's an unfair comparison. To its credit, 2 Fast substitutes an irrepressible, off-the-cuff turn from Tyrese for the MIA Diesel, and Singleton doesn't try to downplay the various ethnicities of his cast the way Rob Cohen did with the first film. Of course, this means that whitebread lead Paul Walker seems even squarer than he did last time around, and as a result, his buddy-buddy rapport with Tyrese comes off less like 48 Hours and more like a middling episode of Fox's Fastlane. (Accentuating the TV feel is Singleton's reliance on David Arnold's cheesy score.) Still, Singleton's able to score enough points with his kinetic-if-ridiculous street-racer opening to make one think that there still might be some life left in this franchise after all.
by Michael Hastings review