I had such an unexpectedly good time at the most recent Fast and Furious movie, despite some reservations about its overbearing plotting, that I took advantage of some sales to acquire the previous films, three of which I had not seen, and marathoned through them over the last couple of days. Of the ones I'd not previously watched, the best was this third film, an aberration in the franchise that suddenly introduced a whole new cast to go with a whole new location and, most importantly, a whole new style of racing. Justin Lin's first foray into the series falls into the same pitfalls of the earlier movies (the self-parody of its neon underworlds, a diverse set of faces placed under the whitest man the casting people could find), but he charges the series with new energy, meshing his style with the racing like not even Singleton did and making a case for this franchise as one of the most shamelessly giddy in a Hollywood increasingly defined by dour, self-serious blockbusters. It's not great cinema, but it's often damned delightful, and I'll revisit it as much as the last two installments.
My full piece is up at Movie Mezzanine.