Movies: Furious' delivers good story, plenty of racing
Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures
The "Fast & Furious" franchise might not be Oscar worthy, but what's under the hood makes for a thrilling action adventure. While there's more to it than slick cars and lightning quick races, it has a lot of that. In an interesting twist for the series' fourth installment, the original 2001 principal cast members, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster, reunite for a new ride.
While the last two films cobbled a script around the race scenes, screenwriter Chris Morgan ("The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift") realizes that the film needs to be more than a series of races. He puts together a storyline that, while not wholly original, makes for a nice distraction between races.
Picking up plot threads from "Tokyo Drift," Dominic Toretto (Diesel) is still on the run after hijacking fuel tanks with his girlfriend Letty (Rodriguez) and friend Han (Sung Kang, "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift"). The trio go their separate ways, and Dominic learns that Letty has been killed and vows revenge.
This puts him back on the same path as Brian O'Connor (Walker), an FBI agent on the heels of drug lord Arturo Braga, who may be responsible for Letty's death. It's not a wacky movie coincidence; Morgan has crafted a sensible story that eschews movie clichés.
Brian and Dom find themselves unlikely allies as they infiltrate Braga's gang of street racing couriers in order to bring him down. Walker and Diesel make for credible rivals, barely tolerating each other long enough to get their different agendas accomplished.
Director Justin Lin ("The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift") keeps the non-racing scenes engaging and delivers when it comes to shooting the edge-of-your- seat races. Fortunately, his race scenes are more than a series of quick moving blurs across the screen. And the film has a distinctly different in-your-face feel compared to the more relaxed, laid-back nature of "Tokyo Drift" proving he can shift gears.
The ending leaves just enough of a cliffhanger that a fifth installment is all but guaranteed. If it's anything like this one, I'm down for the ride.
Fast & Furious
Rated R. 105 minutes.
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Gal Gadot.
Director: Justin Lin.