Rob Cohen, John Singleton
Vin Diesel earned my respect as a badass in PITCH BLACK, but then he lost it in THE PACIFIER and countless "whatever" movies like xXx and A MAN APART. Now when I watch THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, I no longer see the ass-kicking macho man that I once saw - I just see a mediocre actor attempting to play a badass. Paul Walker's a different story. JOY RIDE aside, he's never had my respect as an actor. After all, how much admiration can you have for a guy that makes Keanu Reeves look expressive in comparison? So after making movies like TIMELINE and INTO THE BLUE, I wasn't holding out much hope for the guy... until I saw RUNNING SCARED. Damn was I shocked - he actually did a good job, and managed to earn my respect. But then I watched THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS again... and now he's back where he started.
Basically, my point is this: watching this movie again was actually aggravating for me. Every time I saw Diesel on-screen, I questioned why I ever thought he was cool. And every time I saw Paul Walker, it was hard for me to sit still knowing that the hard-ass dude from RUNNING SCARED could actually suck this much at acting. Take those things, pile it on top of the unintentionally comedic script, the pathetically lame characters, and the "all glitz, no glamour" approach of director Rob Cohen, and you have yourself a laughable B-movie. Fortunately though, the impressive car stunts and mile-a-minute races do add a considerable amount of entertainment to the proceedings. This in total makes the movie perfect for your average teenager with an appreciation for Michael Bay-type action scenes and scantily clad women (but hey - I think that's something we can all enjoy, right?).
2 FAST 2 FURIOUS
It seems that audience members and critics alike hold THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS in much higher regard than its sequel. When I first saw each movie, I would've had to agree with that. But now, having watched both movies back to back, I can honestly say 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS is a whole lot better than its predecessor in almost every way, despite the fact that it has quite possibly the worst title in the history of cinema (save next to BREAKIN' 2 ELECTRIC BOOGALOO). The script is superior (still not that great), the "cheese"-factor is lower (still pretty high), and Paul Walker's acting is better (still pretty awful). The only thing it fails to improve on is the racing sequences, which were the original's strong suit. They're still pretty damn fun though, only slightly marred by a focus on CGI over practical effects (mostly during the early scenes). Luckily, the spectacular (and obviously expensive) scenes near the end look awesome. Then again, they should, seeing as how this movie has almost twice the budget of the first movie.
It is possible that the only reason I enjoyed this film was because rewatching THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS had set my standards so low that, when getting ready to rewatch the sequel, I was pretty much expecting the equivalent of seeing Kathy Bates naked in ABOUT SCHMIDT (not my fondest experience). Honestly, that's the only explanation I can think of for actually liking Tyrese in his role more than Vin Diesel... and Ludacris for that matter. Oh, and Eva Mendes too, but that's a given because she radiates hotness. Speaking of hotness, this flick has even more stunningly beautiful booty girls than the first, raising the already high eye candy rating from an 8 to a 9. Unfortunately though, on an intelligence scale from 1 to 10, this movie gets a meager 4 (thanks in large part to that insistent trash talk that goes on while the characters are actually racing). Oh well - still beats the measly 3 that the previous movie earned.
Also worth noting is that DVD version of THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS is the "Tricked Out" edition, and not the original "Collector's Edition", which was loaded with way more in-depth special features. So basically, if you're looking for the best of both DVDs, you might wanna track down the original release for THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS instead.
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (Tricked-Out Edition)
Prelude for 2 Fast 2 Furious (5:44): A sort of music video-ish short film showing Paul Walker's character moving to the Miami area, where 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS kicks off.
Enhanced Viewing Mode: An icon will appear every now and then for you to click, which will then show you small snippets of deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, or alternate angles of scenes. Nothing that special, but worth a look if you decide to listen to the commentary (because you can have both play simultaneously).
Audio Commentary (with director Rob Cohen): A decent track in which Cohen attempts to keep entertaining whilst discussing both the technical aspects of the film, as well as the settings and characters. Worth a listen for fans.
Tricking Out A Hot Import Car (19:22): A cheesy featurette that shows discusses and shows how to "pimp out" your ride.
Also included here are 2 Trailers, a Sneak Peek and a Trailer for 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, and a filmography for the Cast and Filmmakers.
2 FAST 2 FURIOUS
Roman's, Brian's, and Suki's Cars: The DVD menu for this movie is organized in a way that seems cool but is really just stupid once you get into it. As the DVD loads up, you get three choices of cars: Roman's (aka Tyrese), Brian's (aka Paul Walker), or Suki's (aka Devon Aoki). They all have their own separate menu set-up, and each menu has its own exclusive extras section. Here's an example of what you can see for, say, Brian's car... "Spotlight on Paul Walker" (2:18), "The Ride" (4:13), and "Driving School" (2:51). Each extras selection is the same, except with a different actor in place of Paul Walker.
Inside 2 Fast 2 Furious (10:03): This was way too promotional for my liking, although some of the behind-the-scenes footage was cool to check out.
Audio Commentary (with director John Singleton): A strong audio track in which Singleton loads with interesting tidbits and behind-the-scenes information. I also like how he acknowledged that the movie is just about cool cars and hot babes, proving he knew exactly what he was doing as he put this picture together.
Deleted Scenes (6:07): There are 6 scenes here, all of which include introductions from the director and film editor. Most of these aren't of much interest, although the first one is worth a look.
Outtakes (2:43): Parts of this are just annoying, while others are laugh-out-loud funny (strangely, Tyrese seems to fit in both categories).
Tricking Out A Hot Import Car (19:22): This was already featured on the extras for THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS.
Prelude for 2 Fast 2 Furious (5:44): This was already featured on the extras for THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS.
Supercharged Stunts (5:29): A short but semi-interesting featurette that explains how the movie's big finale was made. Check it out.
Making Music With Ludacris (5:00): This featurette shows a little bit about how Ludacris and co. put together the music video and other songs.
Animated Anecdotes: This is pretty much just a subtitled fact track, which is worth watching if you have the director's commentary playing.
Also included here is a Trailer for THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS video game, and a filmography for the Cast and Filmmakers.
Peek Performance (27:49): A surprisingly non-promotional feeling featurette on THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT. It's not exactly in-depth, but it does feature a bunch of information concerning the movie's car stunts, as well as just the cars in general.
Hot Off the Street (5:05): Features 6 extended scenes for THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, none of which are anything special.
More Than Furious (2:22): A really lame alternate ending for THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS.
Furious Afterburners (3:23): Included 2 extended scenes for 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, one of which was shown on the actual DVD for the movie (all-new my ass!).
Furious to the End (6:27): Features the original 8 deleted scenes from THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS which were cut from the "Tricked-Out" edition.
As far as packaging goes, it looks cool, but it's not practical and is nothing more than a container for the two DVDs. However, there is a third disc featuring (almost) all-new extras, so if that peaks your interest, go right ahead. The list price for the set is $23 (US dollars), but I've seen it featured for as low as $16. If you don't yet own either movie, that's not a bad deal.