I felt rather sheepish tooting down the highway in my Honda Civic after seeing The Fast and the Furious, Rob Cohen's fuel-injected ode to the new and improved sport of street-racing. Obviously, I'm not part of this movie's target audience, but I can't say I didn't enjoy watching these overgrown Hot Wheels burn rubber all over L.A. The actors are pretty hot, too: Paul Walker as a "21 Jump Street"-ish cop who's gone undercover to find out who's been hijacking trucks; Vin Diesel (Vin what?) as the leader of the pack of gearheads who've probably been doing it; Girlfight's Michelle Rodriguez as Vin's main squeeze; and Jordana Brewster as Vin's sister, whom Walker's cop would like to put the squeeze on. Grease monkeys will be glad to hear that there's plenty of car talk and looking under the hood. Motorcycles, by the way, are referred to as crotch rockets. At least I think they were talking about motorcycles.
Awash in both hormones and 10-W-30, The Fast and the Furious is a throwback to the juvenile-deliquent movies of the '50s and early '60s, a Roger Corman joyride with rap and industrial rock on the eight-track. I didn't expect to like it at all, but Cohen seems to have a flair for exploitation. He fetishizes the cars up the wazoo, and I thought the screen would explode in orgasmic exaltation every time one of the racers pushed the nitrous-oxide button, which sends the car and the movie into hyperdrive. After Gone in 60 Seconds and Driven, it's nice to see a director who more or less knows how to put the pedal to the metal (although I did get a slight whiplash from all the whip pans). The Fast and the Furious will be gone from your thoughts 60 seconds after you leave the theater, but it may hang around your synapses for days, even weeks.