A pseudo-reboot of the charmingly dumb 2001 hit and its equally, charmingly dumb sequels, Fast & Furious finishes up being a kind of blockhead’s remake of Mann’s Miami Vice film, including dragging back Joe Ortiz, sans beard and glasses this time, to play the same role of intermediary bad guy. The result would apparently like to wring some depth and soul out of a scenario that involves characters with a loaded past and fractured bonds coming together to deal with the damage they’ve done to each-other and to the psyches of driving instructors the world over, but director Justin Lin’s second contribution to the story is a fascinating lesson in contemporary Hollywood storytelling. Or, whatever the opposite of storytelling is. Rambling on? No, not that either...er...Stuff happening because because! Yeah, that's it.
Lin goes through the motions of offering emotion-laden scenes between his cast of meat puppets, and yet this cuts entirely against the grain of his purely mercenary sense of narrative construction: interpersonal scenes are pared back to bare minimal requirements, so that stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster might as well hold up signs that sport epigrams like “HURT”, “ANGRY”, “GRIEVING”, or “ATTRACTION RESURFACING”, which I’m sure would suit a lot of exponents of perpetual motion cinema. Brewster in particular may well have wondered why the hell she was needed, when shots of her from the first film might have been spliced in a la Bruce Lee in Game of Death. Rodriguez survives a perfunctory cliffhanger only to be iced in the most undignified of off-screen deaths after two scenes, to provide a motive for Diesel’s Dom Matteo to return to LA, and presumably so Rodriguez could hurry back to the Lost set.