Sequels do no harm. Either they sink without trace, or pick up the best in the original and make adjustments. 2 Fast is an improvement on The Fast and The Furious, because there is more of a story and Vin Diesel isn't in it.

The cars are still the stars, the girls wear buttock-trim mini shorts, the scene is South Florida not South Central, Paul Walker looks like he's grown out of his pretty boy persona and improved on street cred. Tyrese (Gibson) is a rap singer from LA's black ghetto. You could say he's the real thing, rather than Mr Diesel, who is an invention. He's a huge improvement on the scowly white boy, having a sense of humour and an ability to express emotion. He looks good, too.

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Walker used to be a cop and Tyrese used to be a con. In fact, Walker was responsible for putting him inside, despite growing up together, which means they have issues. Walker is still racing cars illegally and winning. When the Feds make him an offer he can't refuse, after being arrested for driving without due everything (180mph on a freeway), he insists on bringing Tyrese in on it. If they play along and act as drivers in an elaborate sting to catch a bad guy (Cole Hauser), they will be exonerated of all present and past misdemeanours.

The bad guy's girl (Eva Mendes) is an undercover agent. She's also sexy and smart. Despite a 12A certificate, the violence steps close to the line on many occasions. There is a particular ugly scene, when Mr Nasty tortures a cop with a rat, which would upset a sensitive 23-year-old.

The car chases are exciting for those who appreciate hand/eye co-ordination and the stunts can be impressive. This is a boys' world and a mechanic's dream. The girls have to look like Barbie Goes Large and the bad guy's Rent-A-Thug crew must be foreign and stupid.

Formula rules apply. There is no originality, beyond Tyrese's refusal to play hunky without funky. As a double act, it works, whereas first time around Walker was always the wuss. Hauser enjoys himself and Mendes will give J Lo something to think about soon. John Singleton directs with a strong sense of the visual image. Coming from Tyrese's neck of the ghett, he understands the importance of flaunting it.

"Guns, murderers, crooked cops," Tyrese says. "I was made for this, bro."

Reviewed on: 19 Jun 2003
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2 Fast 2 Furious packshot
Sequel of The Fast And The Furious, with rap star Tyrese improving on the moody Mr Diesel.
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Director: John Singleton

Writer: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas

Starring: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, James Remar, Devon Aoki

Year: 2003

Runtime: 102 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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