Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fast & Furious: New Model. Original Parts.

Fast & Furious: New Model. Original Parts. Movie:
Directed by: Justin Lin
Produced by: Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, Ricardo Del Río
Written Screenplay by: Chris Morgan
Written Characters by: Gary Scott Thompson
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Gal Gadot
Music by: Brian Tyler
Cinematography: Amir Mokri
Editing by: Christian Wagner
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release date: 2 April 2009 (Malaysia)
Language: English

From illegal underground street racing in Los Angeles and money laundering in Miami to drifts on customized rides across perilous Tokyo courses, one series built on speed has become a global sensation since its origins more than nine years ago. Now, in the next chapter, the four original characters reunite for the first time and come home to where it all began.

VIN DIESEL (The Pacifier, xXx) and PAUL WALKER (Flags of Our Fathers, Eight Below) reteam for the ultimate chapter of the adrenaline-fueled franchise-Fast & Furious. Heading back to the streets of L.A., they rejoin MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ (Lost, Resident Evil) and JORDANA BREWSTER (Chuck, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning) to blast muscle, tuner and exotic cars along the crowded streets of the city and across international lines in a high-octane action-thriller from director JUSTIN LIN (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Better Luck Tomorrow).

It's been eight years since ex-con Dominic Toretto (Diesel) drove across the Mexican border, committing himself to a fugitive existence. Now, holed up in a beach shack in the Dominican Republic, and living on the run with the sole remnant of his past, Letty (Rodriguez), he tries to piece together a new life. But he knows the authorities are always just steps behind him.

When a tragic death of someone he loves brings him back to L.A., Dom reignites his feud with agent Brian O'Conner (Walker). As they are forced to confront a shared enemy, a sociopathic drug kingpin who is flooding the U.S. with lethal product, Dom and Brian must give in to an uncertain new trust if they hope to outmaneuver him and avenge the tragedy that he caused their small de facto family to endure.

Infiltrating the underground network means earning a spot on a heist squad that moves high-grade heroin across the border from Mexico through almost unnavigable tunnels carved into the caves. Two lieutenants in the cartel, Campos (JOHN ORTIZ, American Gangster, Miami Vice) and Fenix (LAZ ALONSO, Jarhead, Stomp the Yard), are the only ones who can provide the access Dom and Brian need and the answers they're after.

As Dom, his sister Mia (Brewster) and Brian rediscover the family bond that was torn apart so long ago, the unlikely allies again find themselves pitted against one another in a race that takes them to the brink. Now, from convoy heists on the mountainous countryside of the Dominican Republic to precision tunnel crawls across the floor of the Mexican desert, two men will find the best way to get revenge: Push the limits of what's possible behind the wheel.

Returning to this chapter is a talented production crew of series favorites led by director Lin and producers NEAL H. MORITZ (The Fast and Furious series, I Am Legend, xXx), Vin Diesel and MICHAEL FOTTRELL (Live Free or Die Hard, 2 Fast 2 Furious). CHRIS MORGAN (The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Wanted) writes from characters based on the work of GARY SCOTT THOMPSON (The Fast and the Furious, television's Las Vegas).

Also rejoining the series is an accomplished behind-the-scenes team, including production designer IDA RANDOM (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Suspect Zero), composer BRIAN TYLER (The Fast and the Furious series, Rambo), costume designer SANJA MILKOVIC HAYS (The Fast and the Furious series, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor) and executive producer AMANDA LEWIS (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Made of Honor).

Cinematographer AMIR MOKRI (National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Bad Boys II) joins Lin's group for Fast & Furious, along with editors CHRISTIAN WAGNER (Mission: Impossible II, Die Another Day) and FRED RASKIN (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift). SAMANTHA VINCENT serves as an executive producer.

A 1998 Vibe magazine article on street racing clubs set the wheels in motion for what would become one of the most beloved and profitable franchises in Universal Pictures' history. In 2001, we met champion underground street racer Dominic Toretto and his archnemesis, LAPD police officer Brian O'Conner. Over the course of two hours in The Fast and the Furious, we watched two men on opposite sides of the law race stunning machines, brawl together and form an unlikely, begrudging friendship.

Though they went their separate ways at the end of the film-Dom as an illegal ex-pat to Mexico and Brian to work as an FBI agent in Miami-we followed Brian's career in the second episode, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and caught a brief glimpse of Dom at the end of the third actioner of the franchise, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

With the subsequent movies, the series continued to build an international fan base and rack up impressive box-office grosses. The lasting visual of Dom thundering across the Mexican border at the end of the original, however, left moviegoers wanting more adventures from our antihero... as well as more stories about the two women in his world-Dom's girlfriend Letty and his sister Mia (who happens to be the love of Brian's life).

Eight years after filmgoers first embraced the blistering stunts performed by and passion shared between Dom/Letty and Brian/Mia, producer Neal Moritz wanted to again deliver a film that takes the pulse of pop culture. He knew it was the right moment to bring audiences the fourth installment of the popular series. It was time to come home.

It was not, however, always a given that this chapter would be greenlit. Explains Moritz: "We've had a great time and a very successful run with the first three. But if we were really going to go to the next level, we had to bring back Vin and Paul."

To make that happen would take almost a decade of planning and endless coordination. Says the producer: "We had a lot of conversations over a lot of years. It took schedules meeting up and our coming up with a great story that actually would be worthy of the two of them coming back. We were really lucky to pull it off."

Reuniting the original foursome of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster began, simply enough, with Diesel's wildly successful cameo in Tokyo Drift, directed by Justin Lin. After seeing a rough cut of the film, Diesel agreed to appear in the final act of the third episode as Han's (SUNG KANG) friend who arrives to challenge LUCAS BLACK's character, Sean Boswell, to a race.

Over the course of several hours on set, the director and Diesel established an easy rapport. Lin's attention to minutiae, coupled with his ability to layer characterization amidst powerful action, appealed to the performer who has made a name for himself by developing characters in additional acting hits such as xXx and the Pitch Black/Chronicles of Riddick series.

Based on the audience response to Diesel's cameo, Moritz knew that fans were eager to revisit the Dom-Brian saga. Of the partnership, the producer notes: "The combination of the two of them and seeing how they approach the same scene together is something we can't invent. That rapport and chemistry either happens on screen or it just doesn't."

Echoes producer Fottrell of the connection Diesel and Walker infused in the characters: "A brotherhood still exists between the two. One is brought up on the bad side of the tracks, the other on the good side. Brian is now blending into Dom's world, and they have each other's backs. That blood ethic exists between the two of them so that they protect one another, no matter who's right or who's wrong."

Recalls Diesel, who returns as both American muscle car junkie Dom Toretto and as a producer of the film: "I like to do sequels that feel like they are a continuation of the original story. This Fast & Furious script met that criteria."

He also listened to fan feedback as they reacted to him back in his signature role. Diesel says: "After doing the cameo in the third film, it became clear to me that people were almost saying, 'Hey Vin, don't be too precious on the story... get in there and do the movie. We want to see it.'" The added incentive of reuniting with old friends didn't hurt. Reveals Diesel: "It's rewarding to make this movie with people who were a part of my introduction to Hollywood."

To bring the series full circle, the filmmakers looked to screenwriter Chris Morgan, who previously worked on 2006's Tokyo Drift and, more recently, 2008's box-office smash Wanted. Like Moritz and Fottrell, Morgan was keen to reunite the brotherhood. "I'm all about the cars and the culture and the action." admits the writer. "but what set The Fast and the Furious apart from its limitations was the relationship between these two guys. To be told that you can go back and play with all that is a dream come true."

What followed was an intense development process in which Morgan was charged with creating the premise that would bring our four heroes together again. As the screenwriter got to work, the filmmakers focused their energy on recruiting Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster to commit to a sequel. It was evident that reassembling the cast was an imperative if the producers were to fully realize their story. Diesel, Moritz and Fottrell commitment galvanized the others into action.

"I didn't think I was going make another one," recalls Walker, of reprising the role of undercover cop/foreign car-aficionado Brian O'Conner for a third time. "And then Neal told me about the master plan. I thought 'Why not? I'll have a good time doing it, and I'll be hanging out with people I like spending time with."

Brian and Dom have different styles that mirror their personalities and perspectives on life. Walker felt those distinctions underscored the real-life dynamic between Diesel and him. "It's a fun contrast," he says. "It's East Coast meets West Coast. He's straight up New York, and I'm as California as it gets. But for some reason, we get along really well. It's the same thing with Brian and Dom."

Director Lin also sparked to the idea of bringing back the core characters. In 2001, he was a film student who enjoyed the ride along with the opening night audience. As a filmmaker, this project gave him the opportunity to make a movie that respected the series he had helped to develop, and to introduce the franchise to a new generation.

On his participation, Lin explains: "It was a no-brainer. Vin and Paul were coming back, and both Michelle and Jordana's deals were about to close. It's exciting to have the opportunity to revisit the past, but at the same time explore and build upon a lot of elements with these characters. There was a generation of kids that embraced The Fast and the Furious. It's exciting to up the ante on something like that."

His approach to the material dovetailed well with Diesel's and Walker's ideas. Because they'd lived with the characters for so long, they both had very specific ideas for the story, cars and action. This shared vision of recapturing and elevating the character-driven action film made Lin the right choice to direct them.

Dom and Brian, who first developed a kinship over a car's engine, are bound by a shared code. This sense of family, complicated by his respect for Dom's freedom, is what Brian has been seeking but has been unable to capture. And though he recognizes the danger of tangling with Dom and facing Mia's wrath, Brian is willing to head down that road again when Dom returns to L.A.

Last seen crossing the Mexican border, Dom has made his way to the Dominican Republic, where the underground car culture flourishes amidst the tropical heat and pulsing beat of reggaeton (a melding of Jamaican dancehall, reggae and Latin hip-hop). With Letty at his side, Dom has a new life... but one filled with the uncertainty of living as an international fugitive.

Rodriguez looked forward to developing Dom and Letty's relationship in the latest chapter. "The stakes are higher," she offers. "Letty and Dom are on the run, breaking the law wherever they go. There's a slight Bonnie and Clyde feel to it. The lingering question now is if Dom will risk his love for her in the name of this rush that they're both addicted to."

For Jordana Brewster, the chance to revisit familiar terrain with old friends was a welcome one. Agreeing to return with her crew turned out to be even more of a homecoming when she learned Lin would be directing. The actor had worked with the director on the drama Annapolis and looked forward to working with him again.

Despite losing both a brother and her lover, the heartbroken Mia has been able to persevere in L.A. Brewster soon realized that reprising the role wasn't as easy as she had anticipated. She expected the character Morgan wrote to be riddled with bitterness when faced with the simultaneous return of Dom and Brian. But her director envisioned Mia differently.

"As an actress, you always lean towards the dramatic," remarks Brewster. "After losing so much, I wanted Mia to hold on to her anger. But Justin intended to keep the women in the film strong and resilient, so Mia has moved on. It's a testament to his ability as a director, because he puts in as much care into these characters as he does with all the action."

Thanks to Malaysian TODAY (The Borneo Sun Sdn Bhd
Rating: 4.5 / 5

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