There exist many unwritten rules of film. One says that if a film has a different title than what was originally intended, it is not a good film.

Another says that if a film's release date shifts around numerous times, the studio knows it will probably be a bomb.

Yet another says that if there are numerous writers of the screenplay, it will have that "Hollywood touch" meaning an incoherent script.

Things are not looking good for The Fast and the Furious.The film was originally called Racer X. Later, it was changed to Redline. Still later, the film's title was Street Wars. It was originally a Spring 2001 release, but has been pushed all the way back to June 22. Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, and David Ayer are the screenwriters; however, they base their screenplay from an article by Ken Li that was once in a magazine. Yes, things look mighty well for The Fast and the Furious.

It is really a shame for Vin Diesel, who plays the gang leader Dominic Toretto. Here a fine, young actor, who was excellent in Boiler Room, gets stuck with a terribly inane film. The plot is this: Brian (Paul Walker, who seems to be a fill-in for when the studio realized they couldn't get Keanu Reeves) is a cop who goes undercover to find out who is stealing expensive electronic equipment. Naturally, this is Dominic, who accepts Brian into the gang, although slowly everyone seems to realize there is a rat.

Oh, and Brian also falls in love with Mia (Michelle Rodriguez), Dominic's younger sister. Now, what does that have to do with street racing?

It seems like the studio originally had a decent idea for a film--street racing--but was lost when it came time to find a plot to accompany it.

However, none of this really matters, as the goal of the film is simply to show some great driving action. The opening driving scene is very well done, but then it simply repeats the same effects, the same crashes, the same explosions, over and over again until the film ends.

Director Rob Cohen has a good idea of how to craft a solid racing scene -- however, he keeps re-using the same one throughout the film.

Diesel is the saving grace of the film, however. He does the best he could possibly do with very limited material, and may very well be the next big action star. And then, of course, there is the cameo by rapper Ja Rule, who proves to us just how good of an actor Ice Cube really was.

When it comes down to it, The Fast and the Furious promises some big crashes, and it delivers marginally.

The film's title is reminiscent of a line in William Shakespeare's Macbeth: "It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"


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