Monday, June 16, 2003

Dumb Movies

Okay, I went to see 2 Fast 2 Furious. Compared to this movie, the original The Fast and the Furious is high realism. However, ignore the ludicrous plot (which many critics have greatly enjoyed making fun of - suffice to say this is one of those Hollywood movies where a crime lord who needs an illicit cargo transported from point A to point B chooses to have it transported in the most conspicuous way imaginable, in this case by hiring street racers to drive it at 150 miles per hour down public roads). Just enjoy the speed, and the setting.

Yes, we are in that American world that exists in Southern California and Florida, where hip hop music is the order of the day, and everyone is unclassifiably post-ethnic. There are no blacks and whites, but just shades of brown. People speak clearly enunciated English but switch to Spanish if they are really upset, and moustaches, sunglasses, and epicanthic folds are optional.

Personally, I find this sort of setting pretty cool. So, apparently do lots of audiences. And whatever may be said for it, this film isn't bland, and a lot of Hollywood studio product is these days very bland. And the fact is large portions of America are actually evolving into this sort of place, although in reality the cars are less fast, the music is less loud, and the English less well enunciated.

What is interesting is that this kind of movie does none the less come out of Hollywood, which is run by deeply neurotic white people with MBAs who never leave the right parts of Los Angeles unless they are going to New York. The most important thing to bear in mind is that this is a sequel, and the original was low budget and a complete surprise hit, despite that fact that its target demographic was large and growing. That is, it slipped in under the radar. As did the original Rush Hour, another movie that in some ways belongs to the same milieu. And films aimed at teens have for some time been seemingly closer to America's new cultural reality than films aimed at adults. This is probably because these are the films that have fewer studio executives' eyes on them.

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