Stop me if you heard this one before...
Vin Diesel stars in a flick where he is the anti-hero; a villain per say but his personal "street code" sets him just above the common crook and thief. He is set off to avenge a fallen friend, having to team up with his federal agent enemy in order to bring justice to those who broke his street ethics (never mind the law). Vin Diesel's film career is plagued by this kind of film, making him kind of like the fat girl who you keep in your phonebook. You flirt with her from time to time, every so often meeting her out for a drink or some pie. You and she both know it is not going anywhere more than the here and now, but who cares... its fun and as long as no one ever knows how much you enjoy it, it is a ride you can go on again and again with nary the thought of guilt. For the purposes of this analogy, Hollywood and America as a whole are the horrible guy who keeps playing with the fat girl 's emotions... and Vin Diesel... well, Vin Diesel is that fat girl .
In Fast & Furious , Vin Diesel reprises the role that made him a big box office star, playing Dominic "Dom" Toretto. Toretto, as we may recall from 2001's The Fast and the Furious, is the greatest street racer in all of Los Angeles. Not to mention he is also the greatest thief in all of Los Angeles, but his terrorizing of the streets of LA are over for Dom, as this film finds him boosting gas tankers in the opening minutes (in some of the most thrilling needless risk in order to commit a crime that Hollywood as ever put to film) along with his gang, which includes Michelle Rodriguez, Sung Kang (Han from F&F3:Tokyo Drift), and two reggeeton singers thrown in for comic relief ( Calderon and Don Omar respectively), in the badlands of the Dominican Republic.
Of course the heat starts to get to Dom and off he goes again to hide from the fate he is hoping to avoid as well as hoping to spare those closest to him that same fate. But word reaches him while in hiding of the murder of an old friend, which lures Toretto out of hiding and back to the mean streets of LA's underground racing community. It is in his quest to find his friend's killer which entangles him again with Paul Walker, back again to play Federal Agent Brian O'Conner.
From there, the film gets back to the breakneck pace it started with, featuring impressive car chases, entertaining fight scenes, and Vin Diesel being Vin Diesel- his gravelly voice and emotionless face doing nothing to diminish the performance being delivered by his monstrous man-cannons (granted it helps that Diesel is cast opposite Paul Walker, whom could easily be replaced by a cardboard cutout and no one would be the wiser). The acting leaves a lot to be desired, with Paul Walker flopping about managing to do his bad impression of Keanu Reeves while pretending to be James Bond. Diesel's acting is never good, but it is also never bad, as the script never asks him to do more than what he does best... look dreamy. And boy oh boy, does he ever look dreamy. Vin Diesel is a monster, a shimmering tower of abs and biceps made to look all the bigger and better as they put him next to the gaunt Paul Walker, looking more and more like his T-Cells are getting dangerously low.
Overall, this is a fantastic film just in time for Spring Break- a fast, flashy, and loud film that never tried to be more than what it is... a chance for Vin Diesel to remind America just how much we love it when he yells things at people and drives muscle cars out. There are plot holes Vin Diesel could drive a Ford Torino through- even with his massive man gun hanging out the side. But the movie moves along at such break neck speed that even if you notice them, you won't care. You will be having too much fun being blown away by the over the top stunts, stunning street race sequences, and the countless pieces of eye candy in tiny shorts dancing around throughout this film...
So yes, you have seen this movie before. And yes, much like the fat girl you keep in your phonebook for those lonely nights, this film too manages to do. It isn't the best thing in the world, and to be truthful no one will ever admit to this being a favorite of theirs. But much like that fat girl , there are things that Vin Diesel does well... and that is why we always come back.