Is there an actor more forgettable than Paul Walker? Don’t write in, I know he’s not in this second follow-up. Instead Lucas Black has been drafted in to show Mr Walker that he’s not the sine qua non of the franchise. And though he’s marginally less handsome than Walker, Black has the edge when it comes to charisma and he’s got a swagger that goes all the way back to The Wild One. Black is, of course, playing a hot-rodding rebel born to burn rubber in the illegal street-racing face-offs around which F&F is built. Except this time the action includes learning how to drift a car round the bends. And this time everything is set out in Japan. So that’s the title explained. And the movie, to be frank. As with Walker versus Black, “marginally less” about sums up the whole thing – the race action is just ok, and the bodacious babes are not as much in evidence as you might expect, new director Justin Lin seeming impatient to get back to those cars, those drifts, those long smears of burnt rubber on the tarmac. At an hour long this might have been something – the races look as if done for real and give off plenty of grunt and squeal – but the movie runs an hour and 40 minutes and that’s more nitrous than seems strictly necessary.
© Steve Morrissey 2006