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Tyrese stars as the reckless Roman Pierce in 2 Fast 2 Furious.
The makers of the classroom film, Mechanized Death, released in 1961 and shown in American high schools to thousands of doubtlessly agog students, probably thought they were doing the nation's youth a favor by passing off as curriculum 30 artless minutes of footage, both audio and video, of real-life car accident victims breathing their last. It was thought that a good old-fashioned appeal to fear might give aspiring hot-rodders life-saving pause. There's no way to know who, if anyone, involved in the production of 2 Fast 2 Furious were once treated to a showing of Mechanized Death or its ilk, but perhaps now, forty years later, it should be mandatory viewing for anyone contemplating another Fast and Furious sequel, if only to reacquaint Hollywood space-cadets with our earthen ways and laws of physics.

Much of 2 Fast's running time is taken up by scenes in which our heroes and their pursuers drive flame-spewing autos of dubious street legality at triple-digit speed through crowded highway traffic. Amazingly, not a single innocent bystander is clipped and sent flying over a guard-rail. Why? Because shots of paramedics using the Jaws of Life to free from wreckage a soccer mom with a steering column where her ribcage used to be isn't sexy? Content-free, 2 Fast exists for purposes of visual stimulation only, like a video game, so, of course, anything approaching

Dir. John Singleton; writ. Michael Brandt; feat. Paul Walker, Tyrese, Eva Mendes (R)
dirty reality is stricken from the record. Yes, there's a story somewhere, something about disgraced cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and his buddy, convict Roman Pearce (Tyrese), having their Infinite Jest sized rap-sheets expunged courtesy of the Feds if they can infiltrate a money-laundering cartel, but really, it's more of an excuse than a plot. Like many similarly minded films, this one will taut the "white knuckles" and "sweaty palms" it produces. Among some of the other things that bring about similar reactions: hornets in a frenzy, root canals, heart attacks. In other words, the unceasing growl and flash of 2 Fast does nothing but aggravate. At least Mechanized Death had a sense of purpose. •

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February 24, 2021

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