The high-speed sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious delivers more noise and more flash.

2 the Extreme 

The high-speed sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious delivers more noise and more flash.

Whenever the stars of the adolescent street-racing fantasy 2 Fast 2 Furious were feeling balky or temperamental on the set, as movie stars are wont to do, the cure was probably easy -- an oil change and a tune-up. John Singleton's adrenaline-spiked sequel to 2001's surprise summer hit The Fast and the Furious comes furnished with two-legged actors (including blond, blue-eyed Paul Walker, a holdover from the first flick), but its sexiest attractions move on four wheels. The customized yellow Nissan Skyline T-34 Walker drives and the mostly purple Mitsubishi EVO 7 convertible piloted by R&B singer Tyrese will wind up on a lot more overheated teenagers' bedroom walls than, say, beautifully constructed leading lady Eva Mendes, who plays an undercover U.S. Customs agent. Her paint job isn't as good.

Let's dispense right now with the trifles of plot, character and motivation. Screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas give us an interracial pair of outlaw buddy-heroes obsessed with horsepower (Walker and Tyrese), a nasty Argentinean drug dealer (Cole Hauser) and a wide assortment of cops, good and bad. There are six bags stuffed with cash. There's Miami, complete with bikinis and palm trees. That's all you need to know. Because these minor elements exist for only one reason -- to prop up the frantic car races and chases, spectacular crashes and heart-stopping drawbridge leaps that are 2 Fast's real substance -- if you want to call it that. This is low-rent summer fun, exuberantly mounted, so leave your IQ in the glove compartment.

The story here is about bottom line. Following the phenomenal success of The Fast and the Furious, now enjoying a second economic jolt on special-edition DVD, producer Neal H. Moritz and company mean to cash in again. The aptly named Vin Diesel and his foghorn voice have moved on to higher ground, original Fast director Rob Cohen has been replaced by Singleton (Boyz N the Hood, Shaft), and the street-racing scene has been shifted from L.A. to Miami. But this sequel assaults the senses even more relentlessly than its predecessor, and the cars are flashier.

Along with an exotic, wildly-painted array of import "tuner" models, expensively customized Hondas, BMWs, Toyotas and Mitsubishis, there is an equally eye-popping fleet of American iron -- hot new Dodge Vipers, Chevrolet Corvettes and Ford Mustangs as well as a sprinkling of nostalgic Detroit muscle cars from before the emissions-control era, including a 1969 Yenko Camaro and a 1970 Hemi Dodge Challenger that figure prominently in Singleton's climactic chase scene. Suffice it to say that this extravaganza deploys many, many vehicles -- not just a fireworks-style finale of 200 or so custom racers, but various helicopters, SUVs, white police cars and yachts. When Steve McQueen first hurled his dark-green Mustang over the crest of a San Francisco hill in Bullitt more than three decades ago, he could scarcely have imagined what havoc he would wreak. Car-centric movies like 2 Fast 2 Furious are, if not the logical conclusion of McQueen's and director Peter Yates' handiwork, then its inevitable metastasis. Singleton's filmography could now include the entry Noyz Nder the Hood.

Every last delightedly reckless, nerve-smashing, hormone-crazed moment of this unbridled summer fun, further jumped-up by ear-splitting music tracks by UGK, Big Reese, Trick Daddy and K'Jon, is bound to enthrall the vast armies of teenagers and emotionally underdeveloped twentysomethings at whom the movie is aimed. Who feels like arguing with their tastes? But count on one thing: When the kids get back to school in September, they'll give unholy fits to their drivers ed instructors.

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