This Fast & Furious Spy Racers review contains no spoilers.
There’s something undeniable about Fast & Furious: Spy Racers season 2 (subtitled Rio). No matter how wild the action gets, no matter what weird situations it has its lead characters land in, and no matter how many jokes come off as just plain bizarre, it’s just hard to shake how fun the show is. A few times throughout this second season I felt myself losing interest only for the show to do something that immediately brought it back with full force. It’s not appointment viewing but the newest season of Fast & Furious Spy Racers has a certain charm.
Picking up after the first season, Tony and the rest of the Spy Racers get a new assignment down in Rio. There’s not much to say about the plot except that it allows the gang to try out new spy gear, show off cool cars, get in plenty of races, and of course save the world. It’s not complicated and while I wish the show had reached for something more I’m willing to accept fun shenanigans over the first season’s misguided message that redistributing the wealth is a bad thing.
Since Spy Racers doesn’t have to defer to any of its male stars’ ego (although we can only wonder what Vin Diesel is like to work with for this show) the full cast gets to shine this season. Echo thankfully gets more focus than she did before and she’s the highlight throughout. Every time she’s on screen she’s either saying exactly what the audience is thinking (often pointing out Tony’s stupidity) or just getting the work done. One can’t help but smile and think of all the kids watching and how cool they’ll think she is.
For any of the adults watching the main source of enjoyment will easily come from Ms. Nowhere and her assistant Gary. These two get the best comedic banter in the show and it’s wonderful how the writers keep finding ways to top themselves with these two. Ms. Nowhere is a force of nature and Gary leads a very rich life you wouldn’t expect. If any of the characters in this series could show up in the films, these are the two I’d want the most. Have Ms. Nowhere tell Dom off; I’d pay big money to see that!
The biggest strike against the season is that it mostly loses any sort of connection to the Fast & Furious films. The first season, while very much an over the top version of what we’d seen in the films, still felt like it had some connection to that world. The second season feels like its leaning into Speed Racer style influences. They even have a monkey sidekick now! This isn’t all bad, Speed Racer is a classic and it allows the show to have way more fun than even the F&F movies can be at times.
Losing that connection though means the show feels a little more like a generic action series that occasionally name drops Dom and says “FAMILY” a lot. A lot a lot. It’s fun but it lacks the characters or strong plot to make it stand out on its own. It mostly gets by with its action and just how fun it manages to be despite these issues.
Fast & Furious: Spy Racers Rio is not going to change your life. It’s not going to take the place of the films nor can it fill the vast gap left in 2020 after the delay of F9. It’s not going to be for everyone and it’s probably best for kids. However, if you give it a chance and accept its Speed Racer like vibe and endless surface level references to the films you may find yourself strangely pulled in by it.