fast-and-furious_web.jpgWhenever I review a film, I usually watch it one night and then sleep on it. 

I don’t write my review right away because I need time to process what I’ve just seen.  A sign that a movie is good is when I wake up the next morning and certain scenes or plot points are still on my mind.  It means that the film has impacted me in some way; which is pretty much the goal of any movie, no matter how many times we have to hear about box office numbers and weekend grosses.

The latest Fast & Furious film was still with me when I woke up the morning after I screened it.  I have to admit, during a few key scenes in this film, the action was so intense, that I found myself trembling with excitement to see what happens next.  I only tremble when the action is really good.

Director Justin Lin should be granted an award for his superb use of fresh action.  This kind of new action in a film has not been seen in a long time.  It is reminiscent of the car chase in Ronin.  When Ronin first entered movie theaters, everyone was raving about its car-chase scene, which had never been done before at that level.  Then, every other action film had a car chase scene.

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with Vin Diesel, who reprises his role as Dominic Toretto from the original film in the series, The Fast and the Furious.  I also sat down with Michelle Rodriguez, who reprises her role as Letty from the first film.

I have been a fan of the Diesel since Boiler Room and Knock Around Guys.  When I first decided I wanted to work in entertainment, I always envisioned that the celebrity I would most like to meet is Diesel.  So, you can imagine my sheer excitement and nervousness when I finally got six whole minutes to talk to him.

“I love action and I love drama for different reasons,” said the Diesel.  “This film for example is high octane in action, but the director brought some dramatic truth to these characters.”

I enjoyed the second film in the series, 2 Fast 2 Furious, for its Miami setting and the fact that it included black actors such as Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris. We won’t even discuss the third installment set in
Tokyo, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.  I was a victim/audience member of that horrid film.

Fast & Furious picks up where the first film pretty much left off.

The latest film has poor Leticia Ortiz, better known as Letty (Rodriguez) getting murdered, and Toretto (Diesel) looking for her killer.  Meanwhile, FBI agent Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) is back in the driver’s seat, undercover to find the same man.  Also, Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) appears as
Dominic’s good little sister and Brian’s main squeeze, just like in the first film.

“[Stunt double Heidi Moneymaker] did the back flips and the leap from the truck into the vehicle,” said Rodriguez, whose production company, Cheshire Kat Productions, is soon releasing Tropico de Sangre (Tropic of Blood), set in the Dominican Republic.  “I did all of the landings and all of the walking.”

“It was wonderful reuniting with Michelle,” Diesel said.  “I was very, very upset when I found out that her character dies.”

Screenwriter Chris Morgan’s plot was a little on the weak side, and I can’t stand that he killed off a main character.  Letty and Dom were in such a happy, mature place.  Morgan just stomped all over their relationship and ended it, killing the softer, loving side of Dominic; which is just as sexy as when he’s driving 100 miles an hour.

Diesel, the real-life father of 11-month-old Hania, and Walker are a good pair, too.  The years apart have matured both actors and characters alike, and it shows on screen.  Their performances are well coordinated.  Rodriguez is quite likable as the loving, giving, selfless Letty.  She’s a great character for Rodriguez, who is more down to earth and girlie than her celebrity persona.

I was surprised to see Laz Alonso as Fenix Rise and Brandon T. Jackson as a fast-and- furious BMW driver.  Both actors seem to pop up into a movie when I least expect them.  I love both of them as actors, and I am grateful that they have steady work.  I just wished they could be in more films with meaty roles.  Both have been main characters in films (Alonso in Miracle at St. Anna and Jackson in Tropical Thunder), but they need more. 

I would also like to mention Liza Lapira as Brian’s partner, Agent Sophie Trinh. She doesn’t have too many facial expressions, but the ones she does use are well placed. 

In summary, the latest Fast & Furious film is so good, it takes away the stench of Tokyo Drift; which I thought I would never lose.