Movies We Like
2 Fast 2 Furious
The Fast And The Furious is a guilty pleasure of mine; this amped up, goofy remake of Point Break is actually a ridiculously fun adrenaline rush. As a sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious is pointless (it’s sorely missing the presence of the first film's co-star, Vin Diesel). As an exciting action film it’s just lacking. As a fun-dumb genre movie, it doesn’t deliver. HOWEVER, as apparently lame a movie as it is, it does work as a touching gay love story between two men whose macho cultures suppress them from revealing their true feelings and stop them from acting on their apparent lust. In that context this is powerful, beautiful film. 2 Fast 2 Furious is like a sexless, jacked-up Brokeback Mountain on speed.
Returning from the first film Paul Walker (a not very impressive pretty boy actor) plays Brian O’Conner, once an undercover cop who used his love of cars and drag racing to do some deep cover, infiltrating a ring of racing crooks. Now pushed by the Florida State cops to crack a ring of drag racing drug dealers led by the evil Carter Verone (Cole Hauser, star of the entertainingly awful Paparazzi, channeling fellow actor James Remar in his younger 48 Hrs days). Brian recruits Roman Pearce (Gibson), his childhood homie and the love of his life. Roman blames him for his prison stint some years ago, but after seeing each other for the first time, they roll around on the ground together and Roman completely agrees to work with Brian. As Monica, Eva Mendes is the low-cut top wearing, undercover Fed who tries to come between them.
Brian fights his urges by pretending to show Monica sexual attention, however every time he encourages Monica, it sends Roman into a tizzy. Roman continually gives Brian a hard time for trying to be straight, or he over compensates and pretends that he is turned on by all the bikini hotties around him, but like Nick & Nora (of The Thin Man series) the dialog between the two men borders on snappy. Like when Roman complains, “When I needed your ass, you were nowhere to be found.” Brian flirts back. “Alright Rome, I got something for your ass!” It’s really adorable and actually moving seeing these two reunite and rekindle their love under such intense circumstances.
The look of the film is truly annoying, a color cross between Speed Racer and TV’s Miami Vice. But what is amazing is that director John Singleton (Oscar-nominated for directing Boyz N The Hood) is able to disguise his gay love story with every crime clichÃ© in the book. If you can look past what appears to be, at first glance, a trainwreck of a movie, you will find a sweet relationship at work between Walker and Gibson’s characters. Like an old married couple, Brian gives Roman a hard time for eating too much. Or when Roman gives him back some grief by observing, “You’re always getting in trouble over a female, Brian!” These two lovebirds never stop with the antics.
I’m not sure if this was scripted or if the actors just ingeniously improvised it, but instead of calling each other the obvious “sweetie” or “honey,” literally in almost every single exchange of dialog they call each other “bro” or “man.” It’s really cute.
One of their more romantic exchanges goes something like this…“What you checking her out for?” “I’m not checking her out, bro.” “Yes, you were.” “No, I wasn’t.” “Yes, you were.” “Okay, shut up.” “You shut up.” It really captures, I’m sure, the challenges of being gay and in love and living in a world of fast car driving creeps who may not understand or appreciate the tension between them.
After his promising (but overrated) debut John Singleton has not ended up being an important director. But he has not been forgettable. As a “late night on cable” director, he more or less delivers. Four Brothers, his Marky Mark remake of the dull John Wayne opus, The Sons Of Katie Elder, was solid exploitation. And his uncalled for remake of Shaft at least had a cool bad guy team of two fantastic actors, Jeffrey Wright and Christian Bale (replaying his American Psycho character, made slightly more lovable), making it more than watchable.
Assuming that the 2 Fast 2 Furious producers were not setting out to make a Derek Jarman movie, somehow the subtext was beautifully slipped in. As these two men stare into sunsets together, try to one-up each other with their driving stunts, and giggle at each other’s antics, it really is deeper than 12-year old male bonding, thankfully. What would otherwise be a completely ignorable film now has a secret reason to actually find it watchable. And frankly, if Love! Valour! Compassion! or The Boys In The Band had had some fast cars they may have had the same magical impact on audiences that 2 Fast 2 Furious has.