The first one was pretty good, but this sequel is meh for the most part. The opening race is pretty damn cool, and it’s awesome to see that women have a larger, more meaningful presence than in the first movie (at least comparatively), but there’s both too much and not enough going on throughout the movie. The main villain, played with sleazy perfection by Cole Hauser, is effective but his motivation is underwhelming, and there’s also a scene involving his Mafia-style tactics that comes out of nowhere and sucks the energy out of the room. Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson are poorly matched on-screen, with neither demonstrating much charisma or ability along the way (with Gibson in particular being a charisma cypher), but they have a few nice scenes here and there that suggest a superior buddy-cop movie. In some ways the screenplay feels like it was written for a different movie then later shoe-horned into a sequel to the 2001 original, but I have a feeling the movie’s built-in audience probably loves every minute of it.
Rating: ★★ (out of 5)