Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fast and the Furious 3

Let's face it, a movie like The Fast and the Furious and its sequels are much like soft-core pornography. Racing replaces screwing, it's what everyone wants to see when they decide to watch. It's hilarious gay subtext to watch two dudes get really close and say, "Let's race," in some animalistic need to get off on one another. Decide to add some extras like a lame subplot or delay people's "orgasm" by kicking the racing aspect to the curb for a long stretch, then you'll lose the audience.

For the first twenty minutes or so of the third Fast and the Furious, the movie gives the audience what they need--seriously reckless dick-swinging and even more reckless driving, with a kicking soundtrack--gotta love macho visuals matching up with Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba" any day. An appealing southern drawler in Lucas Black takes the reins from Vin Diesel (who makes a cameo) and Paul Walker, and he's got serious risk addiction--he can't seem to stop racing no matter what kind of threat--jail, death, or even getting banished to Tokyo, where he learns about how racing is done the Japanese way--driving in hazardous semicircular turns wherever they may be--a twisty mountain or a giant parking garage. He befriends token black guy Twinkie (Bow Wow) and philosophical gangster Han (Sung Kang), who is in business dealings with the big rival of the movie, "Drift King" (Brian Tee), who just so happens to be in one of those on-and-off-was-it-ever-on relationships with the movie's romantic hottie lead, Neela (Nathalie Kelley). Conflict!

If only it were that simple--Drift King has an uncle (Sonny Chiba) in the Yakuza, and their dealings with Han make for a subplot that helps sink the movie. In the world of camp, you've got to give the audience what it wants--and you get it for the most part, but adding unnecessary baggage to the whole thing makes it a tiresome process. This should have been an hour and a half long, if that, and just been wall-to-wall racing, getting more ridiculous and reckless all along. Nobody here has paid for a plot, or a reason to care about anything other than seeing cars go at absurdly high speeds and terrain, the extras should not be plot--but babes, lots of them, hanging out of their clothes and making remarks about dipsticks and gearshifts. We've got babe overload here, but not in a meaningful B-movie way.

By the way, the two supposedly romanticly-linked characters in the movie played by Black and Kelley--never kiss once. Never get physical, never race against each other in the movie's lone hetero "love scene," or anything. So what gives? I can't be too harsh because the movie delivers on a couple of its promises--but I think there should have been consciousness that this isn't Shakespeare and just went for the throat. That's all this adrenaline-deprived moviegoer asks.


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