Fast & Furious aka The Fast and the Furious 4 (2009)

(In theaters, April 2009) It’s useless to try to judge this film by most conventional standards. Its sole goal, after all, is to stroke the pleasure centers of automobile enthusiasts (a group that mostly overlaps with Y chromosomes) and its success it directly tied to how much automobile goodness it crams on-screen. The return of the first film’s cast isn’t a bad idea, but the boys have all the fun while the girls are kept off-screen or hastily taken out of the picture. At least Vin Diesel and Paul Walker have some fun rekindling their on-screen rivalry. Action-wise, the standout remains the opening chase sequence: The rest of the picture is a bit too over-edited and CGI-enhanced to make much of an impact. As for the cars, well, they’re a satisfying mixture of modern rice-burners and classic American muscle. It’s a shame that the cheerful multicultural shock of Tokyo Drift isn’t as strong here, but make no mistake: Between the colorful Southern California locale and the reggaeton soundtrack, this is still a twenty-first century motion picture for the young and licensed. It’s fun, it’s not often boring and, most of all, it shows fast cars and girls kissing girls –there’s no denying that it’s another entry in the ongoing franchise.

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