With F9 soon approaching, I’ve decided to do the only logical thing. Going through life a quarter-mile at a time and watching the entire series from start to finish, something I haven’t done in a long time. Sit back, grab a Corona and enjoy the show.
The Fast & The Furious. Release Date. June 22nd, 2001. Director. Rob Cohen. Box-Office. 207.3 Million. Rotten Tomatoes. 56%
Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Conner must decide where his loyalty really lies when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy.
Simpler times, remember when this was just a semi rip-off of Point Break. Corona beers, an undercover cop, and a badass yet likable villain. Honestly, I can’t even say Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is a villain, he’s just misunderstood? Brian (Paul Walker) even falling for Mia (Jordana Brewster) is classic Point Break material. Going back and watching this, it’s like looking at a basic Pokemon. It hasn’t evolved yet into something so grand and epic in scale. Remember this movie revolves around street racing and stolen DVD players. Reading and writing that sentence sounds preposterous when you think about it. One DVD player (LOL) and I truly believe the whole street racing angle of this franchise was the lamest thing about it. This screams the early 2000’s, the soundtrack, the fashion, the technology (I’m not joking, there’s a floppy disc at one point), the god-awful-looking cars, and the fact that Brian and Dom actually ride in a taxi.
The cast is so young and good-looking, something that is still a reoccurring theme of these movies. Leti (Michelle Rodriguez) has come a long way from her being kind of a throwaway character. They even have a hilarious Ja Rule cameo and I could be wrong but he might have the only F-Bomb of the entire franchise (I’ll report back on this later) I’m back and Brian actually drops an F-Bomb in Fast 4!. He’s probably so pissed off that he didn’t become a larger part of this universe with the success of both Tyrese and Ludacris in future movies.
The building blocks of this whole franchise are right here in the first one. It’s remarkable, that 20 years and 8 films later those themes are still present. I’m talking about BBQs and the concept of nothing is bigger than family. Slinging back Corona’s and enjoying the little things in life, are concepts that are deep-rooted in this franchise. Even Dom sounds like normal in this. For some reason as these movies have gone on, his voice becomes more horse and unrecognizable to a certain degree.
Some things work so well from the very get-go. The perfect casing of Walker and Diesel. The immaculate chemistry between Walker and Brewster is something that is a real driving force in the movie. It hits hard when it wants to, it becomes emotional in key moments, it’s just not a movie at this point but a movement The thrilling highway sequence that is actually pulled off really well, is child’s play compared to the future, but nonetheless, the over-the-top dynamics are a part of this franchise from day one.
A tiny seed was planted in 2001 and has grown into a beanstalk. A beanstalk that is going to the moon. I can’t believe what this franchise has turned into.
Rest easy to Jesse, the first heartbreaking death of the franchise.
Final thought. Did Fast & Furious create the post-credit stinger?
2 Fast 2 Furious. Release Date. June 6th, 2003. Director. John Singleton. Box-Office. 236.3 Million. Rotten Tomatoes. 36%
Former cop Brian O’Conner is called upon to bust a dangerous criminal and he recruits the help of a former childhood friend and street racer who has a chance to redeem himself.
First things first. Amazing title. Like as sequels go, it’s one of the best ever. As for the movie? Perhaps the worst of the bunch. The only movie in the entire franchise that does not involve Vin Diesel and is iconic Dominic Toretto and that is felt without a doubt on this rewatch. This whole franchise is built upon the shoulders of Diesel and when you think back on it, maybe it was the best thing for the franchise that he stepped away for a movie. After the success of the first, Diesel felt that it was a “classic” he didn’t want to ruin the legacy of that movie and what he felt he stood for by what he called “sequelizing” the entire thing. So he decided to part ways and it wasn’t until his cameo at the end of Toyko Drift and becoming a producer on the 4th film did this franchise really understand how important he was.
Now, as for this movie, well, you take out the heart of something, it will usually die. John Singleton steps into the director’s chair and he put his little spin on the franchise, but ultimately the movie is doing doughnuts. Tej (Ludacris) and Roman (Tyrese) join the party, who become part of the fast team and really the comedic duo of the franchise going forward. But with this installment, they kind of feel like replacements. With Vin Diesel sitting this one out, this movie almost felt like a soft reboot, a spin-off almost. New city, this taking place in Miami instead of LA, and these guys felt like the new crew. Obviously, at this time they didn’t know what the Fast franchise was going to be, so it’s not their fault, but when you go back and rewatch it, that’s exactly how it appears.
It’s great seeing the team being built from the early days. Very Oceans 11 inspired, each one bringing their own skills and flair to the team. Friends become enemies and enemies become friends. Not only do our characters and their skills evolve but the movies they’re in. Dom and Brian only work with the very best. James Remar even shows up and does his best asshole cop routine.
One thing that this movie does nail in my mind is the villain. One thing you can always count on with these movies – a great bad guy. They rarely miss when it comes to the people wanting to kill our friends and Cole Hauser is no exception. He brings the necessary cheese, but also the badassness. Without Mia, Brian needs someone to latch onto, he’s a pretty boy after all. So in comes Eva Mendes as another undercover cop Monica, and let’s be real, she could never replace Mia Toretto.
This just feels so disconnected from where the franchise went afterward and you can’t help but think this is the weakest of the Fast franchise.
The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift. Release Date. June 16th, 2006. Director. Justin Lin. Box-Office. 159 Million. Rotten Tomatoes. 37%
A teenager becomes a major competitor in the world of drift racing after moving in with his father in Tokyo to avoid a jail sentence in America.
The official start of the Fast Universe? Looking back it sure seems like it. Also when you look back you realize that this might have been the 3rd movie released but when you line all the movies up this takes place after the events of Fast 4, 5, and 6. Crazy right? Maybe a little loophole to bring our dear friend Han back from the dead, but also a way to make this movie, that felt like potentially the end of the franchise way more relevant. That being said, Han had already been through so much, I can’t believe we are to believe that he would give a rats ass about this high school drama. When you think about it, it’s a great idea but in the end, it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense.
This movie is probably the most immature of the bunch, seeing how this is about a bunch of high school kids, then you realize, why is Han hanging out with a bunch of high school kids? Brad Taylor from Home Improvement shows up at the beginning and he’s pushing 30 in this movie and it shows. Our new guy Sean (Lucas Black) is again a worthy addition to the crew, as we know he will pop up in later installments. He’s got heart, he can drive and he really doesn’t back down from anyone. He’s kind of like the white trash version of Brian. We even get Bow Wow in this thing, and I’m not going to lie, he does a pretty good job here. It appears that Twinkie is actually making a comeback in F9 which should please everyone.
The movie is fine, the premise is wild, but again we are talking about the Fast & Furious here. Drifting became a part of driving lingo forever and considering the first three movies are about street racing, this has by far the coolest driving sequences. They feel way less cartoonish than in the first two and it was refreshing to see. Justin Lin steps in as director and you can thank him for that.
Tokyo Drift actually holds up after all this time and again we have a worthy villain in DK (Brian Tee). We get the most forced love story in any movie between Sean and Neela (Nathalie Kelley) and again it’s just not needed in these movies.
Can’t wait for the return on Han.
Fast & Furious. Release Date. April 3rd, 2009. Director. Justin Lin. Box-Office. 363.2 Million. Rotten Tomatoes. 28%
Brian O’Conner, back working for the FBI in Los Angeles, teams up with Dominic Toretto to bring down a heroin importer by infiltrating his operation.
You know what this movie feels like? Like the boys finally graduated high school and left the house for college. The very opening scene of this movie lets you know that things are about to be different. This ain’t about stealing DVD Players no more. The whole mood is different, and things have matured. This is without a doubt at this point the best-looking movie of the franchise. It’s well made and the cinematography is terrific. I wasn’t a big fan of this franchise before Fast Five, I can honestly say I hadn’t really seen any of these movies except for Tokyo Drift. But this certainly feels like the start of the new era of Fast movies. I was kind of in disbelief during the opening sequence.
Just remember, it’s ride or die!
Fans must have been so confused seeing Han pop up. But it’s quickly revealed this is taking place before the events in Hong Kong. They don’t wait long to drop an atomic bomb on you. Letty is murdered. That’s right, Dom’s woman is killed, and he ain’t too happy about it. You get the sense that after almost a two-movie hiatus, Vin Diesel is back and these movies are going to be about him. He became a producer and things revolving around the movies are very Dom centric going forward. We all know that in this universe, no one is really dead…….
On the other side of this bromance, we get our first look at Brian who is now an FBI Agent (said in a Johnny Utah accent). He’s working Shea Whigham! That’s all I will say, come on now, he’s so underused here it’s infuriating. The bromance hasn’t truly bloomed yet between Dom and Brian, in fact, it’s still Brian vs Dom. They haven’t become brothers just yet, it takes this movie and them finally putting aside their differences to come together.
They can’t do it alone, so with Dom, we get the return of Mia. Low key the most underrated character in this universe. She and Brian just work so well, and it’s great to see the band coming back together. Enter Gisele. Played by the incredible Gal Gadot. My god, what a different time this was. Gal Gadot before she became a titan. This is her coming-out party for the world and it’s crazy to think how big of a star she has become. They need to bring her back because again, no one ever really dies and makes her the villain for F10. It would be absolutely bonkers. As for this movie, she’s actually pretty great. She’s a worthy addition to the family and she adds that strong female presence this franchise needs. My guess is they brought her in to replace Letty, but Michelle Rodriguez wanted back in, so the more the merrier. Even Leo (Tego Calderon) and Santos (Don Omar) make their first appearance in the franchise, a brief introduction in the beginning, but they are part of the Fast family for life.
We get John Ortiz and Laz Alonzo as our villains and again, not too shabby. Especially Laz Alonzo has the man responsible for the man who “kills” Letty. He also has the best death scene so far in the franchise, with Dom crushing his lower half with a car, immediately followed by Dom calling him a pussy.
Without a doubt the best so far, and you can even tell by the box-office numbers. Things were on the up and up, and then they decided, let’s go all-in and bring in the Mother Fucking Rock.
Fast Five. Release Date. April 29th, 2011. Director. Justin Lin. Box-Office. 626.1 Million. Rotten Tomatoes. 77%
Dominic Toretto and his crew of street racers plan a massive heist to buy their freedom while in the sights of a powerful Brazilian drug lord and a dangerous federal agent.
They brought in the big dog for this one. In the immortal words of Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys, “Shit just got real.” Brian has decided its brotherhood over the badge. He’s no longer a cop and is on the run just like Dom and Mia. I would say they finally put their big boy pants on for this one and Fast Five really solidified this franchise into the zeitgeist for the rest of humanity. This movie knocks you on your ass on several occasions and was the real turning point for the franchise.
There’s only one person that can bring these two men to justice, and that man is Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Like this man needs an introduction. Hired to bring Brian and Toretto in, he’s oiled up and ready to kick some ass. It’s no coincidence that this is the most violent movie so far. Hobbs is snapping necks and cashing checks. A very high body count and people are just getting mowed down. The first staredown between Dom and Hobbs is glorious, it’s building to the inevitable, the ultimate throw-down. All good things come to those who wait. And wait we shall. He also drops the 3rd F-bomb of the series! Seriously though, adding Dwayne Johnson to this franchise is probably the best casting and addition to an already standing franchise I can ever remember.
Vince! Our boy Vince returns and you know that time is just a flat circle. With Vince we get the just incredible car jacking train sequence, that really let us know, these people are now full-blown superheroes. Again, this is the movie where the TEAM is finally built. Their own Oceans 11 impression and everything just falls into place so perfectly. We get the Chameleon (Han), the fast talker (Roman), the person good with circuits (Tej), the guys who will punch through the walls (Leo & Santos), and the utilities and weapons specialist (Gisele). We have our team, obviously, Mia, Dom, and Brian round it out. This is where this franchise really starts to break out and grow and truly shine. This cast and these people are having so much fun and it shows on screen. It’s terrific chemistry between everyone and tossing Dwayne in the mix makes it a tasty recipe. I’ll just say this about the team, Han and Gisele forever! We need them back together, again we need Gal Gadot back, make it happen.
Tensions build, Dom becomes involved with another lady, Elena (Elsa Pataky) and all roads lead to the ultimate showdown. Now, we all knew that this fight between Vin Diesel and Dwanye Johnson was going to go down. We also all knew that neither man likes to lose. In fact, they even have crazy things in their contracts for such movies about getting hit a certain amount of times and all that nonsense. The fight hits hard and it’s entertaining as hell. I think in the end, it goes to Dom, which makes sense, these are his movies.
We all know what happens next. A little friendship starts to blossom between Hobbs and the gang, we sadly lose Vince. Rest easy big fella and the great 3rd act that involves them driving a god damn safe through the streets of Rio. I still can’t believe how well this holds up after all this time. I think this set piece is the crowning jewel of the franchise and you know they had to take a page out of the Oceans 11 playbook with the old – fake safe trick.
Dom’s Dad LOVED BBQs just as much as anyone. We have that man to thank for all the family scenes and where Dom gets his foundational love for all things family and BBQ. Thank you, Mr. Toretto.
What a movie!
Fast & Furious 6. Release Date. May 24th, 2013. Director. Justin Lin. Box-Office. 788.8 Million. Rotten Tomatoes. 70%
Hobbs has Dominic and Brian reassemble their crew to take down a team of mercenaries: Dominic unexpectedly gets sidetracked with facing his presumed deceased girlfriend, Letty.
We get the first Fast baby! Little baby Jack enters our lives and our friends are growing up right before our eyes. He isn’t the only person coming into our lives. Dom, fresh off his retirement, is happy with Elenna living their best life when Hobbs shows up to drop a NUKE on him…..
That’s right, Letty is alive and well, and she’s running with a new crew. The hunt for Letty is on and the ultimate tag-team of Brian and Dom is once again back in action. This time the shoe is on the other foot and it’s Hobbs who needs help. He wants Dom to resemble his team and bring down Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). One of the best parts of this movie is Shaw and his team, like Roman points out, they are almost the evil doppelgangers of our heroes. Roman also drops the 4th F-Bomb of the franchise! They go all out for the villains in this, I love the mirror images of Shaw’s team, especially the brick shit-house Firuz (Thure Lindhardt). He actually manages to do something spectacular, which makes Dwanye Jonhson look small.
This is the movie that you really felt other actors truly wanted to be a part of it. We get new and old faces back in the mix, for me, most notably, Gina Carano (Riley Hicks). She plays Hobb’s sidekick, until a great heel turn in the final act which I didn’t see coming at all the first time I watched. I mention her, because sorry Fenix, she takes the crown for the most epic death yet in the series. Getting shot with a harpoon gun all while being tossed from a moving plane (Wrong team bitch). Owen Shaw can roster his own amazing team and his introduction, driving a Formula 1 car through the streets of London is as badass as it gets. He’s a formidable foe for our team and the best villain yet. He doesn’t mess around and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty himself.
One thing this movie did a great job with, the fights. They up the ante with really great hand-to-hand combat. Something severely lacking in the franchise prior to this movie. Everyone is throwing it down at some point, and it just works so well. For me, the middle of this movie is just a ton of fluff, but it all leads to a pretty remarkable last hour. It starts with the tank highway chase scene, which sets up one of the most amazing moments in the series history. Dom flying through the air and catching Letty before landing himself on the windshield of a car. That’s right, there’s a goddamn tank in this movie.
I love that no matter how big or how small your role is in one of these movies it matters. You’re a piece of a puzzle and you need all pieces to complete it. Callbacks to previous movies are always a theme in the Fast franchise and that’s what makes it so special. It means they care.
All roads in this movie lead to the never-ending airstrip sequence. But we don’t care about things like that when it comes to these movies. Everyone is doing their part and everyone is throwing down. Dom’s the fucking Terminator in this scene, from his epic headbutt to him walking away from his horrific car wreck, Dom truly is a superhero here. We also have to say goodbye to Gisele, with her tragic passing, as she sacrifices herself to save Han. Again, we do not see her or her body, and no one is truly dead, we have to bring her back. It’s by far the most emotional death of the team so far and it sucks they decided to kill her off.
Can’t have a Fast movie without a street race and a good old fashion family BBQ. Family, BBQ’s and ride or die, are the staples of this.
Setting up the ultimate stinger, where we finally see the other side of Han’s death and none of than Jason Statham walks out of the car, setting up F7……..and we all know what happens next.
Furious 7. Release Date. April 3rd, 2015. Director. James Wan. Box-Office. 1.516 Billion. Rotten Tomatoes. 82%
Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for his comatose brother.
Good guy or bad guy, never mess with another man’s family. The movie opens up with our new beloved brothers, Owen, and Deckard Shaw. Owen is somehow alive and well, after his tumble out of an airplane and big brother is by his side declaring war on whoever did this. The biggest foe our team has ever faced, Jason Statham enters the chat and my god is he unbelievable in this! He gets just a rip-roaring introduction, after an onslaught in a hospital.
This movie comes with a very heavy heart, Paul’s farewell. It was emotional at the time and still is on a rewatch. He has a lot to do in this movie, showcasing all of his skills and this movie just feels like the perfect sendoff. From kicking Tony Jaa’s ass to his crowning moment in the series, his amazing, slow-motion run up the bus while it’s falling down the cliff. The team is doing well, but Letty needs some time to herself to find herself, leaving Dom heartbroken, and without any women in his life.
The movie doesn’t take long for us to realize the stakes are at an all-time high. Deckard goes to get the information he needs and comes face-to-face with Hobbs. Now when Dwayne has a busy schedule it’s obvious because he kind of takes a major back seat in this one. But nonetheless, it didn’t take long at all, well, one scene really, for fans to witness the amazing chemistry between Johnson and Statham. They have a kick-ass fight scene, where we see Round 1 go to Shaw (He fights dirty). Shaw gets what he needs and it leads him to Tokyo, and we all know how that ends……….
Shaw “kills” Han and almost blows up the entire Toretto family and now Dom means serious business. The Shaw brothers do not mess around, and when Dom and Deckard finally meet, Deckard lets Dom know that he isn’t playing any games here. Again, Dom has gone from DVD stealer to now need the government’s help. Kurt Russell ladies and gentleman, that’s right, this legend is in a Fast movie. Wild times. Acting as Mr. Nobody, he needs the help of Dom and his team to acquire something known as “God’s Eye.”
He brings the team together once again, and it’s obvious that they are a little short-handed, so Roman is trying his best to carry the load of comedic genius and plan maker. I think this is Tyrese’s best performance out of any of the films, he’s almost the best part of the entire movie. He decides that falling out of a fucking airplane in a car, strapped with a parachute is a good idea. This leads us into our flying parachute mountain car sequence, and that is a mouthful to say. We see the team recuse Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and she instantly feels like part of the family.
When you watch these movies you almost feel like you’re on vacation. Great cars, beautiful women, amazing music, and exotic locations around the globe. We head to Dubai where our team needs to recover the God’s Eye and we get the bat shit crazy skyscraper scene. It’s moments like these, why I love this franchise so much. It’s always something new and fresh and just when you think they have gone off the deep end, you end up watching Dom and Brian drive a car through three different skyscrapers and things just don’t make sense anymore. They legit fly and somehow manage to not kill anyone and not kill themselves and it’s without question one of the most iconic most in the entire franchise. Meanwhile, Letty is throwing down with Ronda Rousey and she may be a terrible actor, but this fight goes hard!
Dom and Deckard play a few games of cat and mouse, we see Kurt Russell being an absolute badass. We finally head back to the streets of LA. Where chaos ensues, we get Hobbs FLEXING his way out of an arm cast and carry a mini-gun through the streets. Dom literally shows us once again that he is a Terminator when he Hulk smashes the pavement with his foot causing it to break and we watch as Deckard falls to his untimely capture.
James Wan really brings it with this one and it’s no wonder why it made 1.5 BILLION fucking dollars. This movie goes so hard and it’s just so much fun. It even leaves you at the end wiping away those tears. We watched Paul Walker literally grow up before our eyes with these movies and they do a beautiful job honoring him at the end.
The Fate of The Furious. Release Date. April 14th, 2017. Director. F. Gary. Gray. Box-Office. 1.236 Billion.
When a mysterious woman seduces Dominic Toretto into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.
Don’t mess with a man on his Honeymoon. Dom and Letty are trying to peacefully enjoy their time alone, Dom is even street racing. In a sequence that involves him driving a flaming car, that’s right, Dom has once again upped his game and is driving a car that is literally engulfed in flames. Happiness doesn’t last forever has Dom soon realizes that the world that he once knew is about to be shattered and changed forever when Cipher (Charlize Theron) enters the chat.
Again, the Fast franchise is like, you thought Deckard Shaw was a great villain, well, get a load of Cipher. Charlize won an Oscar, but she doesn’t care, she’s having so much fun here and she’s quite terrific. She does the one thing the world isn’t ready for, turn Dominic Toretto rogue. Dom vs. The Team, something I didn’t think I wanted, but something we desperately needed.
Hobbs is back! This time we get more of his Dad side as he is the ultimate Soccer coach, it’s great having him full-time unlike the last movie. This is where we all realized he and Shaw needed their own spin-off. From the amazing prison fight scene, to their terrific chemistry, every time they are together on screen. These two just elevate the franchise so much and Deckard becoming a good guy is such a great move for the franchise. His mom even gets involved and it’s the LEGEND Helen Mirren. I love it, everyone loves it, Helen herself loves being present. She even drops an F-Bomb and the term “Devil’s Butthole.”
Dom turns his back on one family to save another. Dom is a Dad! Elena has his kid, but Cipher has them both. We get the soul-sucking Elena’s death which is going to haunt Dom forever, but we get his son Brian and that is something. The airplane sequence that involves the Shaw brothers rescuing the baby is one of the most fun scenes in the entire franchise.
The New York chase scene is one of the most insane things I’ve ever seen. Dom somehow getting away when the rest of the team shoots harpoons into his car is to this day perhaps the craziest thing I’ve seen in any of these movies. It’s short-lived when the team forms a car circle around Dom at the end of the movie to protect him from a giant explosion. But, it’s these kinds of things that keep our fans coming back. We get cars driving on ice our running an iceberg, with Hobbs stopping a torpedo with his arms and passing it along the ice like a goddamn hockey puck. These are things we need in our lives and this franchise is the only one willing to give it to us.
It should be illegal to end a Fast movie without a family BBQ. In fact, all movies should end this way, it just feels so right.
The latest entry was epic and I can’t wait for F9. I’m not doing Hobbs and Shaw because it just doesn’t fit the mold and isn’t fair to the rest of the family. In no time we will all be gathering around like family and watching F9 and it will probably be the highlight of the summer.
Remember. Nothing comes between family, ride or die, and always live your life a quarter-mile at a time.