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Diecast Cars

Mikey - He Likes It (The Fast and the Furious)

by Nathan Williams

Okay I admit it. I went into the theatre ready to pan this movie, but what can I say The Fast and the Furious is, well, uh, um, err, - GOOD. Now do not get me wrong here this is not the greatest piece of cinematic spectacle, but it is enjoyable, at times edge of your seat, somewhat over-the-top entertainment. It is a solid piece of B-grade moviemaking that could achieve some cult status in import racing circles. For those of you who do not know me, I am your web guru here at, and my taste in movies runs the gamut. Yes, I even like French films with subtitles and dark undertones and other vestiges of European and art house avant-garde cinema. After all we all know that it is not porn if it has subtitles… But enough about me.

I went into this movie expecting to see a trite film about rivalries between Detroit Muscle car racers and import street racers. Let me reiterate that I really wanted to hate this movie. Instead director Rob Cohen (Dragonheart, The Skulls, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) delivered a compelling albeit direct, live hard, die hard action story about the L. A. import racing scene with an homage to the raw power of the Detroit scene of yesteryear. The film has overtones of the rivalries between the different gangs or "teams" which are often divided along racial lines.

Matt Shulze, Michelle Rodrigues,Vin Diesel, anonymous castmember, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune, and Chad Linberg

There are two sets of stars in this film. The first is the cast starring Paul Walker and Vin Diesel along with supporting cast members Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodrigues, Rick Yune, Chad Linberg, Matt Shulze, and Ja Rule. The second set of stars in this film are the cars. They are beautiful, loud and fast. The L. A. import racing scene fought to have their cars show up in this film. Thousands of people brought their cars in as "automotive extras," and to be honest it is worth the $7.50 to see the cars on the big screen. I do not know how close this film is to reflecting the "real import scene," but I have spoken with several friends who are import aficionados and they think it rocks. This movie even makes me want to put an import race on my list of things to see.

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker

The weakest part of this film is the somewhat predictable character development, and this is exemplified most by leading man Paul Walker's (Brian) poor showing. I don't want to ruin the plot twists for you, but suffice it to say that his performance is neither compelling nor convincing. His lack of presence is more than made up for by the powerful casting of Vin Diesel as local racing mogul, Dominic. Diesel dominates this film. His character is strong, determined but a bit predictable, and it along with an occasional fast car drives this movie. Good performances were also had by Chad Linberg, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez.

Cohen filmed this on location in So Cal and it carries the "urban LA feeling" well. Also notable are some incredible stunts reminiscent of Mad Max and some incredible visuals from "inside the engines." I also really enjoyed the soundtrack of heavy hip-hop paired with loud cars.

Putting myself into parental shoes I would say that this film got a much deserved PG-13. The language is not too rough, and the sexual content is pretty tame, but the violence is there and in some places pretty fierce. It isn't for the little ones, but the teenyboppers should enjoy it since this film is targeted at a young audience as is evidenced by the casting and soundtrack.

On the menu of summer movies this one is neither a delicate fois gras nor a hearty T-bone. It is a good thick hot dog, smothered in mustard and kraut, served with a bottle of ice-cold beer (Shiner Bock if you can get it) and is in short ... fun.

Editor's note: You can get a good feel for the film at

Photos courtesy of Univeral Studios.

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