By CHRISTY LEMIRE
Noise, noise, noise. Crunched metal and shattered glass. More noise. Revving engines. Vin Diesel's giant head. Hot chicks in tight miniskirts. Even more noise. The end.
That's pretty much all there is to Fast & Furious, essentially a remake of the 2001 hit The Fast and the Furious with the same cast, except it seems to exist in some parallel universe where the word "the" no longer exists. It also seems to function outside of logic, cohesive plot structure and the laws of gravity, but hey — this being the fourth film in the street-racing series, such niceties have long since been tossed out the window and run over repeatedly.
Justin Lin, who also directed part three, 2006's The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, piles on the mind-boggling elaborate chase scenes and set pieces. (The opening, in which our rebellious heroes attempt to steal gas from a speeding tanker truck, is admittedly a doozy.) But you've seen a lot of these stunts in the previous movies — and heard the same kind of cheesy dialogue — so it's strange to witness how seriously Fast & Furious takes itself.
What's the movie about, you ask? Well, not that it matters, but Diesel's fugitive ex-con Dom Toretto is back in Los Angeles and out for revenge. He ends up reluctantly reteaming with former undercover cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), who infiltrated Dom's gang and dated his sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster), in part one. This time, their goal is to take down a drug kingpin who's behind a murder. Their strategy leads them into a series of ridiculously illegal races, which make the streets of L.A. more dangerous to drive than they already are. There's also an enormously convoluted trip into Mexico, which seems to take place only to set up the film's climactic (and claustrophobic) underground tunnel chase.
If you're into automotive minutiae, you'll probably appreciate the details. And if you're into gratuitous shots of women making out with each other, well, you may sporadically enjoy yourself, as well. But if you like use your brain . . . dude, drive on.