Franchise Weekend – 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Director: John Singleton

Writer: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas (Screenplay) Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Gary Scott Thompson (Story)

Starring: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Ludacris, Thom Barry, James Remar, Devon Aoki

 

Plot: Former cop Brian O’Conner is called upon to bust a dangerous criminal and he recruits the help of a former childhood friend and street racer who has a chance to redeem himself.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Sequel

 

Story: 2 Fast 2 Furious starts as Brian (Walker) is now a wanted man, he leaves LA heading for Miami to start a new life on the street racing scene. Getting his races from Tej (Ludacris), Brian has built up his own reputation on the streets.

Once Brian is captured by the FBI Agent Bilkins (Barry) and Agent Markham (Remar) who want Brian to go undercover once more but this time investigating Carter Verone (Hauser) who is recruiting street racers through fellow undercover officer Monica (Mendes), Brian one rule to make this happen is he gets to bring in Roman (Gibson).

The drop that Brian and Roman must make points them in a hard position but with friends around the town, they make their own plan to stick it to Carter and Agent Markham.

 

Thoughts on 2 Fast 2 Furious

 

Characters/PerformanceBrian fresh on the run enjoying the street racing scene, he gets dragged back into the undercover world but this time as an informant bringing in a friend from the past as we learn about his actions in the first film. Roman is the friend, who has suffered from the effects of Brian’s actions before we met him, he is rash, but brilliant behind the wheel and always talks himself into trouble. Villain wise we have Carter a rich criminal who is in need of drivers, he is deadly when you cross him but otherwise nothing unusual for the villain scene. Monica is the eye candle involved in the film who is the Brian character to the world.

Performance wise this is all good, Paul Walker is of course the highlight of the film with Mendes bringing all the sex appeal you need from her. Gibson does add a comical tone to the film which we do see get built on through the franchise. Cole Hauser is fine as a villain but you never believe he would be a threat for anyone.

StoryMuch like the first film this is a heist movie at heart, we have the street racing needed to build the team and respect but otherwise this is in the same vein as the Transporter movie. This is all fun easy to follow but tries to build the characters within the universe.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe action is all what you would expect from the first film but offers nothing new, the crime world is now Miami but again isn’t too different either if you are left wondering what will happen next.

SettingsMiami does make for a great setting as the franchise looks to expand to new locations.

Special EffectsThe special effects are few and far between and all work well without being anything special.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good second chapter of the Brian character, it is a shame that we didn’t see Vin Diesel return because we did see the franchise revolving around him. This isn’t anything new but is easy to follow.

 

Overall: Solid sequel is all good but not great.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Fast of the Furious (2001)

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, David Ayer (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Story)

Starring: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Matt Schulze, Ted Levine

 

Plot: Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Connor must decide where his loyalty really lies when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Begins

 

Story: The Fast and the Furious starts as we meet Brian (Walker) a want to be street racer trying to find his way into the good books of street racing icon Dominic Toretto (Diesel). Earning the respect of Dom after saving him from the police, Brian finds himself welcomed into the world.

This opens the door for us to meet Dom’s enemy on the street, Johnny Tran (Yune) before we learn the truth about Brian’s involvement as an undercover police officer trying to uncover who is behind the crime spree behind the street racing thieves.

The deeper Brian gets into the family the greater the respect both sides have towards each but with his superiors running out of patience Brian must learn what is really going on before Dom’s crew get hurt.

 

Thoughts on The Fast and the Furious

 

Characters/PerformanceThe characters we have all come to love start here with Brian the undercover police officers trying to up his ranking in the police force while growing the respect of the underground street racers. Brian fits this world as the outsider as the way in for us the audience too. Dom is the alpha male of the group that everyone respects and once you earn his you become untouchable. He is the best racer, the loyalist friend and brother. Johnny Tran makes for a good starter villain who is just a racing rival to Dom. Letty is the girlfriend of Dom that does have control over him but we don’t see too much from, Mia is Dom’s brother that becomes a love interest for Brian. The rest of the characters are all small parts to the big world Dom controls.

Performance wise, you can see the draw of Paul Walker to this role where you can argue his is the bigger name for the time and he is great, in this film you can see how early into his career Vin Diesel was and he just doesn’t have the screen presence we know from him now. The rest of the cast all do well playing the parts how you would expect them to be.

StoryThe story side of this movie is easy to follow, uncover cop gets drawn to the world he is investigating because of the excitement it gives him. We have the checklist for story here offer us just flashy races to make this different than for example Point Break.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe races are all good to watch, as well are the heists being pulled off which show us both the crime sides of the story because of the illegal racing and they keeps us all on edge for the thrilling side of the story.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in LA which makes for the style the film has because it is away from the glitz and glamor of the world we know.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all here for the races and showing how certain elements of the engine work to increase speed.

Final ThoughtsThis franchise is the go to for nonsense action, but it didn’t start that way and this film shows us the street racing, beginning of a friendship and just how far these guys would go.

 

Overall: The true fans will always love this one over any sequel because of the importance this film gives us to the future franchise.

Rating

 

 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)

Director: Patrick Hughes

Writer: Tom O’Connor (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson, Gary Oldman, Selma Hayek

 

Plot: The world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Watchable Fun

 

Story: The Hitman’s Bodyguard starts as we see how our triple A bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) lose his reputation after losing a client, we learn that Vladislav Dukhovich (Oldman) the former President of Belarus is being charged with war crimes but his witnesses keep going missing but now Darius Kincad (Jackson) a hitman comes forward to seal his fate with Sonia (Hayek) a deal to get his wife released from prison.

When the transport goes wrong Michael gets bought in to become the bodyguard for Darius but the history between the two brings us the comedy as the enemies must work together to get from Manchester to the Hauge to being Dukhovich down once and for all, as we learn the skills both men have.

 

Thoughts on The Hitman’s Bodyguard

 

Characters – Michael Bryce might as well just be Van Wilder grown up as he likes the perfect plan but feels free like it comes together naturally, his by the book style clashes with Darius which adds to the comedy as he believes he can manage this job alone if Darius can follow instructions. Darius Kincaid is the hitman that has racked up a lot of kills, he has crossed paths with Michael before and now he wants to help set his wife free from jail, his is deadly with a gun and reluctantly works with Michael to make everything work even if his style is carefree. Dukhovich is the tyrant dictator bring charged with the crimes, he does seem to believe he has ultimate power but spends most of the film just in the court room being evil looking. Sonia suffers the same fate, she is in prison most of the film just ranting about Darius and wanting to be free.

PerformanceRyan Reynolds gives us the fast taking character we know he can here with Samuel L Jackson also give his more aggressive fast talking style. Oldman is always a great villain but here he almost feels wasted as is Salma Hayek.

StoryThe story is a by the books two men from different worlds must come together for the greater good but things don’t go as planned along the way, we have generic characters that offer little to the bigger picture and in the end the story does feel flat at times, but we do get arcs to the Michael and Darius characters similar to what we saw with Hobbs and Shaw in Fast & Furious 8 but outside this we have nothing new.

Action/ComedyThe action does come off great, we have designed chases that have bullets flying all over the place but then lose the comedy in these moments, the comedy is fine but does feel like it is just the two shouting at each other most of the time, and if it was more action based it could have been a lot more enjoyable.

SettingsThe settings bring the film to Europe, well England and Holland which is fine, the chases feel more compact which the highlight being in Amsterdam.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well at times, most are used for comedy moments or flashbacks.

Scene of the Movie – Amsterdam chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It felt like it wanted to be a comedy when it seems to play out better as just an action film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an action comedy that is fine but doesn’t take any awards for best action or comedy this year.

 

Overall: Fine but nothing overly special.

Rating