As far as follow ups go, 2 Fast 2 Furious is probably as good as it could be while missing half of what made the first film work so well. Still, they at least found a game replacement for Vin Diesel in Tyrese Gibson.
We catch up with Brian O'Connor (played by Paul Walker) hiding out in Miami after letting Dom go at the end of the end of the first film. He is making ends meet street racing when he's pinched by the cops. Instead of throwing him in jail, they recruit him to go undercover working as a Wheelman for drug runner Carter Verone (played by Cole Hauser). Failing to find a suitable partner among the FBI's offerings, Brian elects to recruit childhood friend Roman Bridger (played by Tyrese Gibson), a demolition derby driver currently under house arrest, as his partner in crime. The two are put in contact with Monica Fuentes (played by Eva Mendes), an undercover customs agent working in Verone's organization and helps the two get introduced to him.
The two join several other drivers in an audition to fill the two open spots on Verone's team. The gambit is to retrieve an item from Verone's impounded Ferrari. Following a particularly smashy car chase where among other things one competitor is crushed along with his Mustang by a tractor trailer, Brian and Roman are the first to arrive and manage to retrieve the item, earning a place on Verone's crew. However, Brian and Roman find themselves in a tight spot between the cops, who may not hold up their end of the deal to wipe Brian and Roman's criminal records clean and Verone and his crew of violent thugs who may very well murder the two of them after the job they've been hired for is complete.
2 Fast 2 Furious is a fairly straight forward sequel. It takes what worked in the original film and does it bigger and flashier. Perhaps that is also it's fault as well. The plot is fairly straight forward with few real surprises. Hauser gives us the same Drug Kingpin villain we've seen a couple dozen times before with no real variation to the other discount Scarface wannabes we've seen populating action thrillers since the 80's. What really injects some life into the film is the friendship between Brian and Roman. Gibson and Walker play off one another well with Gibson having fun in his role as the third wheel at times to Walker and Mendes, frequently acting more like a jealous boyfriend, much to the delight of this reviewer. In addition to Gibson, the film also introduces another frequent series star, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges as Tej, a mechanic and garage owner friend of Brian's.
This film was still part of the series in it's infancy. It plays close to the first film in sense of style and story. The crazy car stunts and over the top car chases that defy the known laws of physics really begin here, in particular a jumping car that lands on a moving yacht that damn near redeems any problems the movie may have had as far as I'm concerned. From it's ludicrous title to it's over the top action 2 Fast 2 Furious may not be one of the best in the series, far from it actually, but it still has it's moments. One can't help but wish it tried a little harder to do something new. Judging by this entry, it's a miracle we got a Part Three, let alone Four, Five, Six and Seven.