The Fast and the Furious (2001)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Better than imagined.

I’ll be honest…I have avoided The Fast and the Furious collection like it was the plague. I’m not your typical guy that watches football and dreams about beautiful racing cars. That’s just not me, and to be honest, this series looked so dumb when I saw previews for it, and every subsequent sequel that came out looked like the same thing falling victim to the age-old description of a Hollywood sequel…made just to make money and advertise for pretty cars. My attitude for the last 12 years has been consistently the same thing – it said, “Dave, don’t watch that movie, because you’ll end up regretting it.” Then Paul Walker died, and the guy wasn’t just best known for this series…but practically everything else he ever did has fallen sharply off of the radar. People rave about the man, so I thought I’d give a little respect by watching the movie that put him on the map, The Fast and the Furious. I was pleasantly surprised how much I didn’t hate it.

The story goes a little something like this: on the road, there are moving heists taking place by these dark cars with green lights on the bottom, they gang up on a semi-truck carrying goods and hijack it before escaping. Officer Brian O’Connor (Walker) is tasked to go undercover into an illegal street racing gang to infiltrate and find the people responsible for these road-heists, if you will. Meanwhile, I guess he just takes these people in as family…and sooner or later – he needs to make up his mind as to where his loyalties lie.

IMDb makes me laugh. The plot description it has says, and I quote, “Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Connor must decide where his loyalties really lie when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy” – Call me a stickler, but that’s not the plot. That is the subplot…important, definitely, main plot – no. The main plot was mostly about those semi-trucks, because hijacking a truck while it’s in motion is honestly pretty cool, and I’m sure back in 2001 – nothing could touch that. This film kind of revolutionized the way we saw street racing.

Then again, I do rate this based on a modern audience. For the most part, I am aware that the latter parts of this series did amp it up and made this one look puny…from what I’ve heard at least. I can’t say I agree or don’t, because this is the first time I’ve seen any of the films. I would hope a modern audience would at least start at the beginning, like me, because if they did – they’d realize…the movie isn’t half bad.

My main concern was because I’m not a car guy, I’d have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about throughout the film. For the most part, that’s actually 100% true. They could be lying their tails off and I’d have no clue, but that’s when I realized that the same exact thing applies to any science or medical shows on TV. Think about it, you got Bones now, and in the past, you had House, M.D., ER, CSI, Grey’s Anatomy…you name it. Most of us aren’t rocket scientists or doctors, and half of what is on these shows is pretty much foreign…but we enjoy them anyway. We enjoy them because of characters. We don’t need to understand technical terms to like a story. All we need is a story that we can understand what’s going on and characters we can love, and The Fast and the Furious provides that.

The entire cast, regardless of the fact that it is built of people we’ve seen in other things, works so well together, and you totally buy that they are the “cool” criminals. I can’t exactly say the acting is top notch, but it is far from terrible. The acting isn’t the most important aspect, because the characters and action of the story are. The way this film is shot and put together is different, but just different enough for me to enjoy it.

Now, this is far from my favorite car movie, because most would consider the Transformers series just as much of a commercial as this was, and of course, there is the Transporter series. No, I don’t like any of them because of the car…if I’d like anything because of a car, it would be the TV show Supernatural, the only form of media that I can actually say what the car is (1967 Chevrolet Impala)…anyways, we’re getting off topic. If I watch a “car movie”, I want a story that I can like, and the mystery, suspense, and action of this film was just enough to make me really appreciate it. Can’t say I loved it, but I definitely liked it.

The Good:

I definitely liked this film a whole lot better than I originally thought I would. I’m not a car guy, and I thought the whole thing would be a big fat car commercial, in which it isn’t. It has a solid story, great suspense, amazing characters, and nonstop action. It’s a guy movie, for sure, but a pretty decent one.

The Bad:

The stuff I was worried about in the film were obviously still there. You got way too much focus on the pretty cars. They do a good job at telling a story, but let’s face it, this really is a car-centric film. So there is a lot of confusing dialogue for people that aren’t automobile-savvy.

Memorable Quote:

Dom: What are you smiling at?

Brian: Dude, I almost had you!

Dom: You almost had me? You never had me – you never had your car… Granny shiftin’ not double clutchin’ like you should. You’re lucky that hundred shot of NOS didn’t blow the welds on the intake! You almost had me?

6 thoughts on “The Fast and the Furious (2001)

  1. I might have to give F&F a go! Like you, I’ve been put off it because it just seems to be about cars, like how Street Dance is about dancing (plot? who knows?) and I’m not keen on these ‘niche’ genres, but I’ve been surprised at the outpouring of grief since Paul Walker sadly passed away, and it’s made me think that if he was that important to so many people, then maybe I should give them a try. Great read by the way… 🙂


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