18 Movie Reviews in 18 Days #12: The Fast & The Furious

ff1Recently I saw the outright hilarious trailer for Fast & Furious 7. This made me want to go back and watch all of the Fast & Furious movies. Not because of their quality but because for the most part, I’ve never seen them.

Back in 2001, no one knew that Rob Cohen’s movie based on an article about Hispanic East Coast guys drag racing Japanese cars in New York would turn into a multi-billion dollar franchise. It’s clear that Gary Scott Thompson had just watched Point Break when he got the assignment to adapt the article into The Fast & The Furious because if you do those two things, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if you came up with a movie that follows the plot of Point Break but uses Japanese car races instead of cars and trades New York for Los Angeles because no studio objects to filming movies in town. I’m not the first to notice this.

I sat down to watch The Fast & The Furious knowing all of this. I also knew that this movie was going to be to street racing what the movie Hackers was to computer hacking. What surprised me was that it also seemed to have a bit of a post-apocalyptic feel to it. Sure, it takes place in 2001 Southern California, but there is a bare minimum of people who aren’t affiliated with a tribe of some sort. There’s Dominic Toretto’s crew, there’s Johnny Tran’s crew, there’s the Truckers, there’s the Cops and there’s almost nothing else. Tribe means everything and what happens on the road is all that matters.

Vin Diesel plays Dominic Toretto with his typical charismatic menace. Paul Walker does the rookie undercover cop thing, though for the most part he tends to forget that he’s a cop.  Michelle Rodriguez gets to be a bad ass as usual. And Jordana Brewster is basically eye candy as they don’t really give her much else to do.

The cast isn’t all that important though because the majority of the scenes are little more than cut scenes from a video game in between races. The races are full of super quick cuts, shaky cam, and just about everything but holding the camera still for a shot more than three seconds long. The result is a lot of excitement with an equal amount of confusion as to what exactly is happening. The opening quarter mile race somehow reaches speeds of 140mph and lasts two minutes.

It would be relatively easy to review this movie and rip it to shreds as it’s a stolen plot with minimal acting or character development and unrealistic action. However, once you realize this is a post-apocalyptic fantasy in which reality isn’t a factor, you can enjoy the movie for the popcorn schlock that it is.

The Fast and the Furious is available to purchase at this link.

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