My best friend, Brian, and I are both gearheads of one form or another. We both enjoy movies with cool cars, big chases, awesome stunts and a decent story. Together we have explored various “car” movies; Ronin, Gone in 60 Seconds, Transporter, and The Fast and the Furious, to name a few. Let me say that ‘The Fast and the Furious’ (the first one) caught me at a time when I was just out of high school, making my own money and buying my own cars. I saw that movie and was introduced on a much larger scale a sub-culture that I had just barely become familiar with on my own. “Street Racing.”
Let me say right now that I do not support, endorse or participate in street racing in any form at this point in my life. I did a lot of things when I was younger that I am not proud of. I ran from the cops (and got away), I topped 135mph on the SR-51 during lunch rush hour, but those didn’t scare me. I’m am an adrenaline junkie to the core. I got written up a work for street racing other employees in front of and behind the office. The thing that finally stopped the adrenaline and helped my use my brain… Racing down a major road in Phoenix, ending up behind a slow truck, swerving into the middle lane to pass said truck only to have my heart (and time it seemed) stop dead. About 100 feet in front of me, a woman and her kid were j-walking across the street, oblivious to me and my “need for speed.” Luckily, I didn’t hit them, and that got me to think. Was satisfying my needs worth the potential to take another’s life. The potential that I could take a mother from her son or vice-versa. The potential that I could run though and intersection and ruin or end someone else’s or my own life. The simple answer is no.
Needless to say that was me many years ago. Before I had kids, but after I was married. Nowadays I like to work on my ’96 Civc. Filling it full of aftermarket goodies that make it drive better and go faster (Phoenix has two really awesome tracks for this part). I strikes me though, ‘The Fast and the Furious’ really inspired a lot of people like me to do what I do now. Changing out suspensions, swapping engines and squeezing every last possible horsepower out of an engine with the same number of liters as a bottle of Mountain Dew. We are a strange bunch, gearheads. Maybe one of these days I’ll get into the other part of my backstory about my mom’s dad’s and my own dad’s influence on this part of my life as well.
So, tonight Brian and I went and saw ‘Fast & Furious.’ The fourth installment in the ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise. Here is how I rate the 1st 3 movies. Part 1: Excellent movie for my tastes, Part 2: WTF?, Part 3: Definitely recapured the spririt of the first and was darn good also. Part 4: WOW! I was floored by this one. The action and stunts were 10 times bigger than part one. The chemistry between Paul Walker and Vin Diesel (who’s real name I found out today is Mark Sinclair Vincent, what’s not to like about a Vincent!) was spot on. This movie truely was a sequel to first and a prequel to the third. In fact, I could safely say that I have no problem replacing ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ with this movie and forgetting that one ever happened. But I won’t. I am too much of a film purist to do that. I liked it and for once in a long while in a movie theatre I didn’t feel cheated out of the $9.50 I spent on the ticket. This movie was made for big screens. Just remember, take it for what it is. A gearhead action movie, what little of a plot that’s there is decent and there are a lot of great moments for fans and non-fans alike.
In the end I rank it up with, and maybe a bit higher than the first. B+
A funny side note, as I was leaving the theatre I watched as two “kids” in their “tricked-out” cars got a stern lecture from the Phoenix PD in the parking lot. I couldn’t help but laugh at the “kids.” I wonder if one day they will figure it out like I did or if they are headed for a dead end? God only knows. Before you sign off tonight, say a prayer for all of our hard working law enforcement officers. Nights like tonight have to be hell for them.