Fast and Furious

ffHigh adrenaline films have always been a signature of the summer movie season and with a bevy of blockbusters lines up for the summer months, Universal has the opening salvo with the very impressive “Fast and Furious”.

Although the fourth film in the series, the film is in many ways is the first true sequel to the 2001 original as it reunites Vin Diesel and Paul Walker.

The film opens with a spectacular high speed heist where Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), and his crew attempt to steal petroleum tankers. The amazing pacing and driving and stunt sequences is easily the best opening sequences in the series and had the audience at my press screening on the edge of their seats.

With the heat on Dominic, he decides to split up the group so they do not get busted when the authorities catch up to him. Unfortunately this means slipping away from his longtime love Letty (Michelle Rodriguez).

At the same time, F.B.I. agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), is under the gun from his superiors to bring down a drug trafficker who has eluded all efforts to indentify much less capture but is known for his reputation for ruthlessness. With lead after lead coming up empty for his task force, O’Conner pursues a name that may just shed some light on the true identify of his target.

When events unfold that force Dominic to return to Los Angeles on a mission of revenge, his path crosses O’Conner and the two men renew the rivalry that has existed between them which hits the high gear when both men find themselves in an illegal street race.

The winner of the race gets to join the driving team of the drug trafficker that O’Conner is seeking, and with Dominic having his own motivations, the intense race through the packed streets is easily one of the most intense racing sequences ever captured.

In time the two men find themselves working with one another to bring down a common foe, but old issues still remaining between the duty driven O’Conner and the outlaw Dominick, especially regarding Dominick’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster), who had a relationship with O’Conner before he revealed himself to be an undercover agent in the first film.

What follows is a pedal to the metal adventure that sets a breakneck pace and lets up only enough from the audience to briefly catch their breath.

Walker and Diesel make a dynamic team and unlike the previous films in the series, “Fast and Furious” has a plot that does not drag and holds the attention of the audience and serves as little more than filler between action sequences.

Director Justin Lin (Who helmed the last film in the series Tokyo Drift), balances the two leads with the awesome array of racing machines in the film without ever losing fact that this is a character driven story.

With a great cast and amazing driving sequences the film was a very pleasant surprise and has me looking forward to the next chapter in the series. Not only is this a strong comeback for Walker and Diesel but is easily the best film in the series and should delight the fans.

4 stars out of 5