Warning: The following is an homage, not a blog post.
The greatest story of the year has already been told and it was doled out a 1/4 mile at a time. Some have said that the Fast and Furious series should have died a terrible death long ago but a reinvigorated Vincent Diesel fresh off the success of "The Chronicles of Riddick" has a different opinion. As a reviewer giving a positive review you'd expect me to punch up the pros of the movie and hush the cons but I think all that is necessary for this film is a simple recap of the story. Set your eyeballs to sport mode and ready your launch control because you are about to embark on the
greatest thrill ride of 2011.
The story starts off directly where the last movie stopped. Unfortunately, most of us don't remember where the last one ended but the "writers" assure us within the first 20 seconds of the movie that it doesn't matter. An older, wiser and saggier skinned Vincent Diesel is on a bus ride to prison for his car racing/car stealing/car related misdeeds of previous films. Suddenly 3 fast and possibly furious cars flank the bus. The drivers choreograph a series of risky manoeuvres in order to scare the bus driver and have him roll the bus thus springing Vinny D from the long arm of the law.
Fade in to Paul Walker with his girlfriend driving through what looks like coastal California if it went ghetto, also known as Rio de Janeiro. Without any real explanation the crew is back on another job of stealing cars. This time however, Paul Walker in a Tour de Force performance is no longer a cop. Now he's an ex cop with his own interpretation of justice as indicated by his 2 day old beard and sweaty unkempt appearance.
The car stealing crew decide that the best time and place to steal the latest series of cars is while they are on a train that is moving. They Jerry rig a high powered jeep/truck with a flat bed in order to steal the cars quickly and effectively. Without any real introduction our hero Vincent Diesel emerges from the shadows ready to take charge. At this point there is an inference of a double cross and both Vincent Diesel and Paul Walker have to use their wits and kung fu fighting skills in order to escape certain death.
Cut to the train being smashed into by a truck and being turned into a flaming ball of fire. Zoom in on Vincent Diesel pummeling henchman after henchman in a desperate ploy to escape. Suddenly the train is heading for a bridge and it will certainly crash, derail and kill everyone inside. But, Vincent Diesel didn't break out of prison just to die. He gets into what appears to be a silver 1960's corvette convertible. He launches it out of the train car and makes a perfect landing on the desert terrain below. Delicately he feathers the throttle until he is able to drive along side the train where his Puma wearing friend Paul Walker is ready to jump into the back. Just as Paul lands in the backseat the two realize that there isn't enough time to stop the car before the cliff so Vinny punches the gas and sends them sailing over the edge. Miraculously the men use their gymnast skills to jump out of the car and make a soft landing into the water hundreds of feet below and survive.
What a day right? but! there is more. Just as the boys resurface and catch their breath they are met at gunpoint by a small army of semi automatic carrying soldiers. As it turns out, one of the cars the guys were trying to steal is owned by one of the most powerful underworld bosses in South America. Smash Cut to Vincent and Paul hanging from the rafters helplessly by chains as a dark voice in the shadows alerts them to the grave mistake they have made by trying to steal the boss man's property. After Mr. Bad gives them a talking to, he leaves the room with the majority of his armed guards and tells the remaining henchmen to kill them. Apparently, the two henchmen do not like guns and decide to finish the job up close and personal. But before they can do anything Vincent Diesel breaks out of the chains that were moments ago unbreakable while Paul Walker breaks another man's neck with just the use of his legs while he is still suspended in the air.
What the guys learn later is that during their train escape three DEA agents were on board the train and were killed in the melee. Pauly and Vinny were appointed blame for their deaths. What does this Mean for Vincent and Mr. Walker? A whole lotta trouble. That trouble comes in the form of Dwayne (don't call me the Rock) Johnson. Dwayne may not drive cars but he is driven to catch bad guys. A ripped rock is a special agent outfitted with Army issue body armor and what appears to be a smattering of black pubic hair hanging from his chin, allegedly called a goatee. Dwayne is out to catch Vincent and his car stealing crew and he will stop at nothing to get them.
Now Vincent and Paul are being hunted by two teams, the good guys who think that Vincent is a bad guy and the bad guys who want to catch Vincent because they also think he is a bad guy. Without enough time to catch their breath Vinny, Paul and his girlfriend Mia are ambushed by special agents in the hills of their flophouse hideaway. What Paul and Vinny (who is Mia's brother) don't know is that Mia is preggers. What follows next is 15 minutes of Vinny, Paul and Preggers Parkouring their way down a dilapidated Rio de Janiero Hillside. As they roll and somersault their way on top of rooftops they also must dodge occasional machine gun fire. If that wasn't bad enough, Don't call me the Rock Johnson won't let up as he dives full speed ahead through windows and walls in pursuit of the fugitive Vincent Diesel. In a stroke of luck the other bad guys (the underworld bad guys) show up and start firing bullets at Dywane Johnson which gives Vincent and company enough time to escape the police.........for now. As the three escapees stand near a storm drain Mia drops the bomb to Paul and Vinny that she is pregnant. Vincent convesely is forced to finally drop the facade that he despises Paul and disapproves of their relationship. Like an over protective father he embraces the two in a super lame group hug.
The scene that follows is quite touching and it's the place where Vincent and Pauly reveal their true acting chops. The alpha males engage in nighttime front porch conversation that is semi lubricated by honesty juice (beer). Vincent shows us his sensitive side and talks personally and almost tearfully about a remembrance he has of his father, the man who got him into racing cars in the first place. Paul confides in Vincent that he father was never there but Vinny reassures him that he'll be a great dad. At the end of their conversation they plot to steal all of the money of the Brazilian gangster who tried to kill them. They decide they need a crew and that crew is comprised of some old favorites.
Tyrese and Ludacris are back! I suppose they are taking a break from their serious acting careers to slum it as supporting characters along with some Asians guy who I can only assume was in 3 Fast 3 Furious. Much to the teams chagrin the money they want to steal has been stowed away securely inside the corrupt police headquarters.Their only way in without being noticed they decide is to have a fast and agile car that can drive faster than the police station security cameras can move. Vincent and Paul decide that the only way to get a real fast car is to find an underground street racing gang in Rio and race them for pink slips. Predictably they return minutes later to the safe house with a shiny blue Porsche. Although every team members drives as fast as possible no one can beat the necessary time they need on the mock up track, not even the "hot girl" of the crew who posted the lowest time of them all. They decide that they need to use cop cars instead of fast agile cars. This one simple idea of using cop cars negates 20 minutes of the movie not to mention is an incredible waste of resources for the car thieves. But not to be deterred they move on with their new plan.
Once the police cars have been stolen Tyrese, Asian dude, Vincent and Paul all arrive at a stop light together. With a knowing nod and a rev of the engine they enter into a contract to race to the next set of lights. Paul like a son trying to impress his father wants to beat Vincent, and Vincent like a dad who is trying to teach his son a lesson also wants to win the race. Paul appears to win the race but the other guys put doubt in his head that Vincent let off the gas at the last second thus allowing him to win. Paul like the child he is desperately wants to impress his pseudo dad Vincent but he can never quite get the approval/recognition that he desires.
SUDDENLY, the team are ambushed by the cops again but this time Dwayne and company refuse to leave without a couple of car thieves in the back of their paddy wagon/Hummer/assault vehicle. More truthfully, the Rock is there to capture Vincent and the ambush eventually devolves into a one on one, man to man hand to hand combat situation between Vinny and Dwayne. In a fight that could only be taken seriously by a wrestlemania crowd the men violently throw haymaker after haymaker in an attempt to knock the other one unconscious. Remarkably Vincent although he seems to stand about 1/2 foot shorter than the rock and is noticeably smaller somehow wins the fight. After winning the fight Vincent immediately surrenders to the cops while the Rock tries to gather his humbled crumbled remains from the bloody warehouse floor.
At this point the movie has come around full circle with Vincent back in handcuffs being transported to prison. But on their way to incarceration the special agents are yet again ambushed by the underworld gang. This time however the bad guys fire an RPG at the lead vehicle in their caravan. Now Vincent and the Rock's team are trapped together in a desperate bid for survival. The one man army Dwayne tries to take on all the bad guys himself in spite of the pleas of Paul and Vincent to undo their handcuffs. Luckily a more easily persuaded lady cop who has had her eye on Vinnie's Shiny brown head the whole movie let's them go free. Just in time too because this is what happens next: 1) The Rock almost gets blown up by an RPG. 2) Every other special agent is killed 3) 20 gunmen descend down a hillside toward The Rock aiming their guns at him. But, just in time Vincent and Paul come running around a corner with an assault shotgun and machine gun and tear a few bowling ball size holes into the remaining baddies. When the smoke clears a slow motion Vincent is seen standing over Dwayne Johnson offering him a helping hand. Through a hail of gun fire he drags the spent and limping body of the Rock to safety.
The Rock and Vincent have a "Bro" moment and decide to team up just this once in order to hunt down and kill the big bad. What follows is a convoluted series of events whereby Vincent and Paul attach the kingpins safe (that contains all his money) to cables and then attach those cables to two cars and about 800 horsepower of American Dodge Charger Muscle. Amid a squealing of tires the cars tear out the safe and drive around town with it dragging behind them smashing through store windows and nearly crushing hundreds of people. Vincent and company are forced to outsmart and out drive a seemingly unending gang of vehicular henchmen as well as a collection of corrupt cops who are all out for blood. Guess what? They prevail and kill or outrun every last one of them. In the final climax of the final action scene Vincent nearly flings himself off of a bridge whilst catapulting his own car into the big bad's front windshield.......nearly killing him. Who kills the big bad? The Rock of course. He shows up conveniently after all of the near death experiences and quickly puts two bullets into the gangsters face. He then gives Vincent Diesel another "Bro" look before telling him "I can't just let you go." He then informs his car thief compatriot that he has 24 hours to get a head start before he hunts him down. Vincent and Paul drive off into the distance with a promise of more high horsepower antics in the future.