The Fast and the Furious was the first big budget film to exploit the current success that car customization and street racing is at the moment. The film tried hard to be a real film with the cars as background and means to an end. To me that was the wrong approach as the story and the cast couldn't make it really work. All that anyone I know got out of it was an appreciation of the cars and the stunts involved that utilized the car. As the film was success a sequel was a given and that is what brings us here today. 2 Fast 2 Furious is the sequel and it is quite a bit different from the first film. Gone is Vin Diesel and director Rob Cohen. Vin stepping away didn't bother me (as going with Walker's character didn't warrant Vin being involved) but I was glad to see that Cohen stepped down and was replaced by John Singleton. Singleton has more an eye for action in my opinion and his film was a step up in terms of action and performance. The plot might not be that strong but the execution is better, as it seems that the crew played off the strengths of the actors and the cars and didn't bother with the heavy stuff that the first film tried so hard to accomplish. The end result is that 2 Fast 2 Furious is a good piece of popcorn that delivers in the areas that it needs to.
Where The Fast and the Furious left off then comes the prelude short that shows Brain (Paul Walker) ditching out on the cops and Feds as he makes his way across the country. He supports himself by street racing and eventually makes way to Miami. Once there he fits right into the street racing scene until he gets popped by the cops. Instead of a trial and jail time Brian gets an offer to join a Customs investigation involving a slick drug dealer. The dealer needs a pair of good car drivers to move some product so Brian is offered the job by a Customs undercover agent who is the right man (or in this case woman) of the drug dealer (Cole Hauser). Monica (Eve Mendes) is questionable though as some of the agents wonder if her loyalty has shifted to Carter (Hauser). Brian refuses the agent he is offered as a partner and instead will only work the deal if he gets choice of his partner. He decides on Roman (Tyrese), a buddy from childhood who is spending his time on probation. Both men will get clean records if they provide an arrest for Carter. The two do it and audition to join Carter. They get the job and Brian ends up flirting around with Monica which is not a good idea in the eyes of both Carter and Roman. Lots races and some high octane stunts follow as Brian and Roman work to get their records cleared and to get their pockets stuffed with some extras cash.
2 Fast 2 Furious is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is a solid effort with plenty of detail thanks to proper sharpness settings. From bright to dark scenes, the entire film features constant levels of detail and clarity. Colors are bright throughout and saturation is perfect. The film features a number of bold and striking colors, from the cars to the Miami setting, all of which are rendered flawlessly. Blacks are solid with smooth contrast. As for the print it is very clean without only a couple of specks here and there.
No DTS option so likely we will see another version of this film on DVD down the road. What is present is a highly aggressive Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track that is all about the surrounds. Few other films have ever made such aggressive use of surrounds. I personally prefer a more subtle surround track with pure discrete sounds but an aggressive and constant surround track is still a lot of fun. From the music to the shifting of gears and tires screeching, your surrounds will have something to do whenever a car is onscreen. Being that the film is all about cars, 90% of the time cars are present so the surrounds are kicking it into overdrive. Even with all the aggressive use going on channel separation is still solid and easily discernable. Being a recent film fidelity and range are top notch. Dialogue, which has little room on this track, is clear throughout and doesn't suffer. Smartly little dialogue goes on during the majority of the car race scenes so effects sounds can be maxed out. For any other film I probably would have found this track to be overkill, but for 2 Fast 2 Furious, it fits like a glove. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs are also included.
Universal has included a decent section of extras to help keep our adrenaline flowing after the film has concluded. When you first pop the disc in you get to decide which menu layout you want. You get to choose between three custom car layouts that are taken from the cars seen in the film.
Once you have made your choice and have your menu loaded, you can select the audio commentary by director John Singleton. For car nuts you can select the Animated Antecedents subtitle fact track to get some facts on the cars and some insight into the production.
Worth mentioning at this point is the prelude footage when you can select to view before the film. I recommend you do so to see how Brian goes from the end of the first film to the events taking place at the beginning of the sequel. Not great stuff but it is a cool segment that bridges the two films so that you are completely in the loop. This was on the Tricked Out DVD of the first film for those keeping score.
Moving on we find some deleted scenes that total about 6 minutes. Okay stuff but not that great. Singleton and the editor provide introductions.
A gag reel is also included which features Walker and Tyrese forgetting lines and goofing around.
Here come the features. First up is Tricking Out a Custom Car has a Playboy playmate watching a guy customize a car. This one was on the Tricked Out DVD as well. Supercharged Stunts takes a look at the final stunt sequence in the film. This is a by the books feature on the stunt but that is what you want in such a feature.
Following next is Behind the Scenes which is made up of two featurettes. One is a short promo piece that we have all seen before plus a making of the video sort of deal with Ludacris.
Other extras include a video game preview and depending on which menu you selected, a look at the specific actors' cars and their training at driving school.
I enjoyed 2 Fast 2 Furious much more than the first film. The first film took itself way too serious and given the bad acting and weak story, that film was laughable. The stunts and racing were cool but as a whole, it was not that great and had zero repeat value for me other than the great audio. 2 Fast 2 Furious suffers again a weak story and mediocre acting, but it comes across as being a touch more light with the actors having fun and not having to try to hard to display some droopy drama. The action too has been quadrupled and to me was much more entertaining. More about the cars and less anything else. Yes it is a throwaway sort of film but I easily can see myself going back to watch this one. It has repeat value. Singleton is a much better director and his film works better for the genre. Universal has done a great job with the DVD. The transfer rocks, the audio will blow out your ears, and there are a ton of supplements. DVD fans will have a lot to enjoy here. No DTS is a bummer, but given how good the Dolby 5.1 track is, the complaint is a minimal one.