What was it that actually made The Fast and the Furious an enjoyable movie? I feel it was how it celebrated that underground culture of street racing and balanced it all with such a brash and sudden sense of action-violence. 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift felt like footnotes that took place off to the side whereas the first film had a certain sense of urgency (would Paul Walker's Brian have to eventually face Vin Diesel's Dom?). Consider it Point Break just replace surf boards with cars, bank robbing with car heists, Patrick Swayze with Vin Diesel, and Keanu Reeves with Paul Walker. This fourth film in the franchise (and it truly is a franchise, like as if The Fast and the Furious is a banner attached to the films that really don't require much prior viewing to understand the next installment) manages to be the either the second best or just as good as the original frankly because it features the same players and therefore it continues with that same sense of comradeship clashing with that same sense of rivalry. For some reason this feels like the most natural of a sequel, I guess there is just something about seeing the imposing Vin Diesel and pretty-boy image of Paul Walker together alongside skimpy women and rap music. As for why this takes place between the second and third installment, I'm not really all that sure, but the film's creative action scenes tend to not make one care about chronology in a series where the stories don't rely on each other. I suppose this film is successful because unlike Singleton's sequel and the Tokyo incarnation, Fast and Furious knows its limitations and knows when to take itself seriously as just a simple action flick and when to pump up the drama for maximum effect (which mostly consists of Diesel calmly boiling himself up on the inside... but that is badass enough to keep me entertained).
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