Fast and Furious Retrospective: Part 1


So here’s the thing…I’ve been invited to the local premiere of The Fate of the Furious. To many people this would be a joyous occasion but for me it’s not a big deal. I haven’t really watched any of the other movies in the series. They look like movies about driving cars really fast and that doesn’t interest me. At all. Not even a little.

But it’s hard to to ignore just how damn popular this series has gotten in spite of it’s attempts to shoot itself in the foot during the early years. In order to give the eighth and possibly final film in the series a more dutiful review I’m going to burn through the first seven and review them one after the other. So without further adieu…

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

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Director: Rob Cohen

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriquez, Jordana Brewster

Plot: Brian O’Conner is an undercover cop who is trying to infiltrate the underground racing circuit to take down a gang hijacking cargo trucks. He forms a tight friendship with some of the races and his loyalties come into question.

Review: Right, so this is basically Point Break? It is the exact same plot but with street racing standing in for surfing. Except without Point Break‘s life philosophy being the centre of the character development and their relationship, the game of cat and mouse that takes place once they work out each other’s real identity and the excellent script. Instead we have bland dialogue, dull exposition and no characters development. Toretto’s (Diesel) big motivation is that he doesn’t want to go to jail. Deep.

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I guess the big selling point of the movie is the car racing, but I do not get it. They’re going in a straight line down the road, so there’s very little going on cinematically. There’s never much at stake, so it doesn’t contribute to the story. They always bang on about how much money has been spent on the engine with the implication being that the winner is the one who spends the most on their car. Whenever they go to a drag race scene the movie grinds to a complete halt. 

Instead the movie hinges on the relationship between O’Conner (Walker) and Toretto, but this is as thin and off-putting as a puddle of frozen urine. They know each other for a couple of days and they’re about to start weaving friendship bracelets. Out of the blue O’Conner is blabbing to everyone that he’s a cop because he has feelings for Toretto’s sister, and there’s a hackneyed attempt to make ‘respect’ a driving theme. The film keeps dropping in extra plot threads about rival gangs and a ‘Race War’ to pad things about because the story alone is barely worth mentioning.

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The movie gets by on the charisma of the cast and the rare interesting action sequence. More time spent on the hijacks would have helped because they’re the only scenes with any imagination. The drag races try to inject some flavour with some CGI cuts through the engine but these only serve to make the movie look dated.

I’m hoping that the series starts to improve quickly from here because this is a very lacklustre beginning.

Rating: THREE out of TEN

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