By Fraser Simpson (England)
Oh boy, this series. For those of you who don’t know, The Fast and the Furious is the 1st film in the still-going Fast and Furious franchise, and there have been 8 of them, with the first spin-off Hobbs And Shaw coming out later this year. It has raked in over $5 billion dollars at the worldwide box office, becoming the 6th highest grossing movie franchise ever. But when you look at the actual films, you have to wonder, how did these become popular? The first one that was actually good was 2011’s Fast Five, and that was the fifth film in the franchise, most other franchises would be dead and buried after 4 bad films. Before Fast Five, the least bad of the 4 prior was the original, The Fast and the Furious. For starters, the plot would be considered simple or safe for a first film considering all the madness the sequels get into, but it’s not enthralling.
Undercover cop Brian O Connor infiltrates Dominic Toretto’s street racing community to wonder if he stole stolen electronics. Along the way, he dates Toretto’s sister Mia, learns to be a better racer. Yeah, I’m getting bored writing this. Basically Brian and the police department arrest the villains of the film, Johnny Tran and his cousin Lance (who aren’t really villains considering how much screen time and development they receive), but it turns out Dom’s gang are the hijackers for stolen electronics. Brian goes to stop Dom’s gang who fail to rob an armed tanker, reveals he’s a cop, engage in a chase/murder of Johnny and Lance after they killed one of Dom’s gang, and the films end with Brian giving away his car to Dom, wanted by everyone. The end. Goodbye bad plot. The characters aren’t much better than the plot either. If you don’t have a good plot, or likeable characters, then your film is toast.
Whilst the cast give it their best, and also giving Paul Walker and Vin Diesel their Hollywood breakthrough, the characters are some of the most boring, clichéd, underdeveloped I have ever seen, and it barely improves as the franchise goes on. Dominic Toretto is meant to be the strict father figure in his gang but doesn’t seem to realise when the odds are against him, yet still manages to deliver some charisma to this film. Brian O Connor is fine, nothing more but nothing less. The villains Johnny Tran and Lance are boring, uninteresting and not really that much of villains. They could have had one of Dom’s gang turn traitor on them, and that would have worked much better. Even the comedy/banter between isn’t funny.
However, the worst characters are the female characters. Again, the acting is fine, but they are literally portrayed as objects, not actual people. I’m not being sexist, but they are written with terrible dialogue, given barely any development, and this applies for all of the films, all of them. You would think they would learn their lesson but no it’s awful. I’ve said enough negative for now. Let’s focus on the few positives I can think of. Mainly, the race scenes are great fun, even with some having weird camera angles, with enough to make the film fun and not overusing them either. The cast as stated earlier do a pretty good job for an otherwise lacklustre script and the music is pretty decent. The direction is also not too bad, and overall the film has a goofy so bad it’s good feel to it that some of the sequels also incorporate.
In the end, this is an interesting film to me. As a high-octane car film, I can sit back and enjoy it. As a regular film, I can’t really, with the lack of well-written dialogue, poor characters, a coherent plot, the film’s attitude towards women (which remains to this day). It’s incredible how this franchise managed to get an audience and remain around for nearly 20 years. I can only recommend this to die-hard car fans, but if you’re interested, then sure, have a look at this franchise. Just don’t expect a good film in this franchise until the 5th one.