On the darkened streets of LA, kids illegally race souped-up cars at speeds of over 150 mph. That's problem enough for the cops, but when a series of daring raids on moving trucks seems to be connected with the tribe of boy racers, they decide it's time to infiltrate the gangs...
Now here's a delightful oddity - a movie that does exactly what it says on the tin. The Fast And The Furious is a mindless, hellaciously hectic, borderline irresponsible drag race of a movie that flattens the accelerator in the first few seconds and doesn't let it off until the final frame. And in Vin Diesel it invents the first genuine action hero since Bruce Willis paid a visit to Nakatomi Towers. In other words, itÆs a gas. Lifting its title from an appropriately cheesy 1950s AIP racing flick (erstwhile creators of the classy likes of I Was A Teenage Werewolf) and its plot from Point Break, Rob Cohen's movie is the kind of determinedly dimwitted popcorn entertainment that the big studios have been throwing hundreds of millions at ummer with, for the most part, limited success. Until now. And this, implausibly, from the man who made the execrable frat flick, The Skulls.
For a start, TFATF has a plot - not a complex one, granted, but at least there's something close to a story. It has eye candy in the shape of dimwit bobby-dazzler Paul Walker (appropriately enough, a refugee from American soap The Young And The Restless) and Jordana Brewster. And it has Diesel, a unique brooding hulk of a man who looks as if he's either going to rip your head off or read you poetry. But most of all it has car chases. Really fast ones. Cars roar past - and even through - the camera at speeds of up to 170 mph, while in the hi-jack sequences they hurtle around and under speeding trucks - and, of course, smash into each other with satisfying regularity. In seamlessly interweaving top-notch CGI and incredible stuntwork, Cohen has delivered some of the finest auto-action ever put on screen.
In a cheerfully cheesy way, this is probably the most fun to be had at the multiplex so far this year. Even a dull bit in the middle involving Oriental gangsters can't slam the brakes on the fun.