A look at one of the greatest film franchises of all-time. The Fast and The Furious.
12 long, dirty years have gone by since “The Fast and The Furious” hit the big screen in North America. In those 12 years, we have seen governments fall and champions crowned, but its also given us 5 more big screen releases that at least bare the (sorta) same name as the original, and seems to be the only source of employment for Paul Walker for the last decade.
With Fast & Furious 6 being released on May 24th, let’s take some time to see just how the hell we got to this point.
2001: The Fast and The Furious – debuts to everything teenagers delight. The movie had fast, flashy cars and a ton of scantily clad race wenches. The perfect combination for a successful summer movie, and a sure fire bet for a sequel… or 7.
The first movie in the series centers on Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) an ex-con released from prison for beating a pit crew mechanic half to death with a wrench, but he feels bad about it, so that’s fine. Dom, as they call him, is the leader of a rag tag group of street racers/petty thieves that spend their lofty amounts of free time stealing DVD players from cargo trucks and street racing souped up Honda Civics with flashy decals on the side.
Enter FBI Agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) who is assigned to bring Dom down and stop the crazy racing at the same time. After being a good guy for about 15 minutes, he meets Dom’s sister Mia Torretto (Jordana Brewster) and falls in love with her. Naturally this screws up the FBI’s plans and O’Conner helps Dom escape arrest and lets him go after loosing a street race to him. Make sense? No? Good.
If 2001 didn’t get your gears lubed up, just wait –
In 2003 we were gifted “2 Fast 2 Furious” (and if the title is any hint at the story, I bet 20 rappers are cast in it.)
Here we go again, Brian O’Conner is on another FBI mission after totally screwing the pooch and letting Dom go in the first movie. This time he is tasked with going undercover and taking down a drug lord named Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) in exchange for having his record cleared for screwing up the first movie. Brian agrees, but on the condition that he gets to choose who his partner is.
After a short trip to the nothingness that is known as Barstow California, Brian convinces his old friend Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) to come along and join him in this crazy adventure. Right about now your thinking – Where is Vin Diesel? Well, he’s not here. I assume he is filming another horrible movie at this point in time, Chronicles of Riddick I would guess. So they just replaced him with Baby Boy and kept on rockin’. Did I mention Ludacris was in this movie? He serves no real purpose except to be a walking advertisement for Year One Parts. Brian and Roman save the day and rob the drug lord they are after, making sure they have enough money to set up the next story.
2006: Tokyo Drift AKA WTF Is This? AKA Not A Real Sequel.
Easily on my list of terrible ideas that shouldn’t have been acted upon is this gem. With no real ties to the original story, no return characters, and a completely different country it is obvious that Universal just needed some money in 2006, so they released this.
Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) enjoys street racing, but he isn’t very good and ends up crashing his car. His momma freaks out, whistles for a cab that might have been weird, with some dice on the mirror…. Sorry. Anyway he gets sent to live with his father who is a Navy officer on deployment in Tokyo. In school he quickly realizes everyone hates him, except for a kid named Twinkie (Lil Bow Wow), who is also living in Tokyo while his parents are on deployment. Twinkie shows him the world of underground drifting (like racing, but sideways and with a lot of smoke) and naturally he talks big and gets owned by a seasoned Japanese drifter named Takashi (Brian Tee). The usual saga unfolds where Takashi has some family in the Yakuza, and Sean screws up and owes them money and needs to race for his life. Sean ends up winning and becoming the Drift King, he end’s up getting challenged by a no name racer, who turns out to be Dominic Torretto.
2009: Fast & Furious
Now let’s just forget about the Tokyo Drift story line completely, and pick back up with Dominic Torretto. I’m sure by now he is reformed and probably a youth pastor at a summer camp somewhere.. no? He’s… Oh, well I guess old habits die-hard.
Dom is right back to his old tricks, robbing freight trucks and taking some serious measures to ensure he gets gas in his car, but this time he is in the Dominican Republic. Dom in the Dom, who could ask for something better? Well, The writers for one. Back in LA Dom’s obviously lesbian girlfriend Letty (Michele Rodriguez) gets killed, you guessed it, street racing. Dom finds out about her death from his sister Mia, who Brian O’Conner is still in love with, and he’s also still in the FBI.
A drug dealer ultimately kills Letty, so Dom and Brian go undercover and try to take down the drug lord and get vengeance for Letty. Dom finds out that Letty was working for Brian in the FBI as an informant, and he kicks Paul Walker’s ass because it’s his fault she’s dead. Cry.
After taking down the drug lord and having another race that leaves cars in pieces, Brian tries to let Dom go again, but Torretto has had enough of running and turns himself in to the FBI. He is sentenced to 25 to life in prison and as he loads a prisoner transport bus, Mia and Brian pull up and break him out. So much for the FBI.
2011: Fast Five: Or The Greatest Film OF ALL-TIME
It’s very strange to think that someone green-lit 4 of these movies before this one, and this one seems to be the best one yet. How the Franchise survived the first 3 movies is really beyond me, but after the 4th one (Fast & Furious) it seems to have gone through a rebirth. No longer are these movies full of jabronies, and candy assed FBI agents, no sir. We are now looking at the birth of The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment.
Enter: The Rock.
Ill go on record here and say that no, I haven’t watched wresting since long before the WWF became the WWE, and that has no baring on my opinion of the man formerly known as The Rock, The Brahma Bull, Dwayne Johnson.
It is clear that the street racing aspect of these movies has taken a back seat and given way to the action and high flying stunt show that is now a power house franchise for the 18-35 year old crowd. Brian and Dom are back in the mix, doing what they do in Brazil. They get called up for a simple job by, you guessed it, a drug lord. They are tasked with stealing 3 cars off a train that is being guarded by DEA agents. Things go wrong, and the drug lords’ henchmen kill the DEA agents, but the crimes are pinned on Brian, Mia, and Dom.
We all know the USA doesn’t take too kindly to outsiders killing their agents, so they send in DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) to find and capture or kill those responsible for the deaths of the DEA agents. Hobbs captures Brian, Dom and Mia and is transporting them back to the USA, when the drug lord Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) sends his men to kill them all. Hobbs escapes with the help of his one-time prisoners, and then joins their team to take down Hernan Reyes and steal all of his money.
Even though Hobbs sides with his fugitives for the battle against Hernan Reyes, ultimately he is a true patriot and can’t let them go. But he does give the gang a 24 hour head start before he begins hunting them again.
2013: Fast 6: The Chupacabra.
I can think of very few movie franchises with a part 6, even less of those that I actually want to see. With the exception of James Bond and Harry Potter, anything after 4 is normally horrible. Halloween is a key example of this.
However in 2013, something amazing has happened. Universal has managed to make a trilogy that rocks, out of a trilogy that was a little flaccid. While this is actually part 6, it gives you the feel of a part 3, a highly anticipated part 3 that is sure to thrill and entertain you for the entire summer. No, I don’t expect any kind of Oscar worthy acting performances from Paul Walker or Vin Diesel, or The Rock for that matter. What I do expect is about 95 minutes of limited edition cars, ass kicking, and more explosions then even Michael Bay could handle. With a larger budget, more extravagant locations and from what I’ve seen – an amazing stable of cars, that sadly have little chance of making it out alive – I cant wait to buckle up for another ride in the Torretto Wagon.
With part 7 already in the works, could this be The Neverending Story we’ve all hoped for?