The movie focuses on Rick Merchant who starts the movie as another average wannabe boy racer with a modified motor. His life spirals out of control after the death of his brother after which he becomes embroiled in the world of illegal street racing. So you get the typical good boy goes bad after traumatic incident, followed by his burning need to avenge his brother's death. Yeah, the writers were that lazy.
So the writers were lazy with the storyline, but that was because they spent their spare time perfecting the script, right? Wrong. The actors have to take some of the blame for their unconvincing work, but the script is about as colourful as a Model T Ford. It's full of typical B movie lines, which destroy any morsel of a gripping suspense.
The opening exchange between Rick and his soon to be deceased brother tells you that Rick is on his way to college - "the first of any of us to get a real education" splurges his proud mum - reminding the family who obviously wouldn't know this information. I'm pretty sure a scene doesn't go by where we're not reminded he's going to college and is doing all this street racing to fund his education. Then there's the fact that his mum's a stripper, which we get told about a million times, so it's obviously important. Later on, we discover that his girlfriend is also a stripper, and works with his mother. Awkward. By the way you're supposed to feel bad about about his bro dying, but he makes a joke about putting money in his mum's g-string. Seriously. Way to build empathy, guys!
It's actually worth sitting through the movie just to see this guy's acting.
If you think Rick's racing pedigree is amateur, his acting is indescribably worse. According to IMDB, Jaz Martin - the guy who plays our main man - "is an aspiring actor who hopes to carve out a reputable career in the entertainment industry." We'll leave the final say to you on that one...
His acting is wooden, his speech ain't natural, and unfortunately for him, his cohorts don't exactly carry him. Special mention goes to the Hispanic gang leader who is the worst actor you'll ever see. It's so awful, that it's actually kind of beautiful.
The characters and the cliches
Here we have the full spectrum of obvious characters. The two brothers torn apart, the hot girlfriend, the bad guy who swears a lot 'cos he's so naughty, the slightly awkward geek and the old, roguish, stuck-in-his-ways policeman. Perfect dynamic for conflict and resolution, but not an iota of charisma between them.
Also present are the prerequisite 'Fast and Furious crew,' such as the big, loud and immensely fat guy running the races who reminds us of Tej, Ludacris' character from 2 Fast 2 Furious. And the awkward geek I mentioned totally isn't an Asian Jesse. Oh, and the Latina? Completely unlike Michelle Rodriquez. Need I go on?
"Come on bro, I thought you said there was an MX7 here!" Well the car they're looking for parts for is a first gen RX7, so perhaps they're confused, bless them. Hang on, where did he get that Nissan 200SX from? He drove into the 'shop in a white RX7, then left in a green 200SX?!
What's going on here? Well it turns out the RX7 was stolen during production. They swapped it for a Silvia, so throughout the movie it changes between the two cars depending on what had been filmed before the car got nicked. Now that's almost excusable on such a low budget flick, but as this car gets called an MX5, MX7 and occasionally RX7 at various points in the movie, we can't really let it slide.
The 'grid girls'
This little beauty is definitely worthy of flag dropping duties for the final race scene.
Anyone who's watched F&F or who has played any kind of street racing game knows that the girls who drop the flags are hot. Like actual slammin' hotties. Not so in 200mph. I mean seriously, did nobody involved know at least one hot girl that could do them a favour?
The races and chases
In Hollywood there are directors who specialise in chase scenes. The guy behind the famous Bourne movie chases wasn't just some bloke who got lucky. As you can see in the clip above it's pretty clear these scenes need a professional's touch. You also get to see some of the wonderful acting I mentioned earlier.
In 200mph the fast bits lack imagination and lack the clever editing nuances that impart a sense of speed. So you're left with a couple of cars just driving about SoCal, occasionally sideways and usually at 'safe' speeds. Street racing within the speed limits, yo!
By the way, the crash that kills Rick's brother is just beyond explanation. Apparently taking a hairpin too quickly in a 370Z will result in a barrel roll. The more you know...
This is at one of the key plot points. Definitely worthy.
Special shout out to the visual effects team on this one. And by 'team' one would have to assume I mean the local kid who had a decent computer and is apparently quite good with Photoshop, because the visual effects are laughable. You may have noticed them in the trailer, but the screen grab above is a particular highlight. Ever heard of texture mapping?
At least that was only visible for a few frames, the image below is pretty much the climax of the whole movie. That's meant to be a wrecked GTR by the way, which is still in pristine condition in the next frames despite the crash seriously injuring the driver. It barely puts the original Gran Turismo to shame.
Notice that they forgot to colour in the front bumper.
Grab some popcorn and switch that mobile off. You simply must watch this movie! Yeah I know, I didn't exactly 'sell it' to you, but it is by far the funniest movie you'll watch this year. Whether it's the awful acting, bland script or hilarious visual effects, there's something here for everyone. I haven't even touched on the clear lack of technological understanding throughout the movie.
Just promise me you'll take off your car geek hat for 90 minutes or you'll go insane.