On this third day of the Fast & Furious week, I am finally going to talk about the films! The films will be discussed in chronological order, so we start with the first film, The Fast and the Furious and we continue this article with the first sequel : 2 Fast 2 Furious. These are the films where we meet six major characters. These are also the films in which there is a clear line between the police and the criminals. This line becomes thinner as the franchise progress and the so-called criminals start helping the police and FBI, and the aspect of family and loyalty becomes more important.
The film The Fast and the Furious from 2001, is the one which started it all. The film is loosely based on the article Racer X, which is written by Ken Li. This article was about a street racing club from New York who were racing in Japanese cars after midnight. However, this film is set in Los Angeles and shows how one team uses their racecars while hijacking moving trucks. Rob Cohen was the director of the first film and that was also the only film he directed in this series. However, Cohen worked again with star Vin Diesel in the film XxX from 2002. Writer Gary Scott Thompson is, however, a fixed value within the crew, who worked on all films. The main characters in The Fast and the Furious are played by Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez. The latter two didn’t had driver’s licenses or even learner’s permits before the production of the film started. There were also used some stuntmen and professional drivers during the races.
In this first film we see a very young Paul Walker as the police agent Brian O’Conner. Brian loves fast cars and to drive them as well. Because of this it doesn’t take long before Brian goes on an undercover mission. Brian needs to infiltrate in the world of street races to find out who’s responsible for the hijack on trucks. During his mission Brian meets another very important character in the franchise: Dominic ‘Dom’ Toretto – who’s getting more muscled as the years go by! Brian and Dom become very good friends, but Dom’s childhood friend Vince is not happy about that since he doesn’t trust Brian. Vince’s disapproval becomes bigger when Brian gets on good terms with Dom’s younger sister Mia as well. During Brian’s mission he gets deeper and deeper into the world of street races and the friendship between him and Dom and Mia becomes much stronger. Brian still believes Dom and his crew – where Letty is also part of – have nothing to do with the hijack, despite of the evidence. When it’s all or nothing, Brian has to tell who he truly is to save the lives of his newfound friends. This leads to a race between the two men and Brian eventually needs to make a choice: Letting Dom go or arrest him…
The second film, 2 Fast 2 Furious, came out in 2003 and adds the characters of Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson to the franchise. During the franchise, both characters became more important. Unfortunately the sequel wasn’t as popular as it’s predecessor. It could be that the fans were less interested because of the absence of Diesel, Brewster en Rodriguez. However, the duo Gibson and Walker worked very well. Gibson added a lot of humor to the story, which can also be seen in the other sequels. It’s nice to have some laughs as well! John Singleton is the film’s director, but just like Cohen, 2 Fast 2 Furious was the only film he directed in this series. Just like the first film, the sequel uses a lot of stunt drivers. But the biggest star, Walker, did a lot his own stunts since he used to drive and race a lot in his spare time. But how does the story continues?
Unfortunately we don’t see Dom return in 2 Fast 2 Furious. This means he’s still on the run for the FBI. Brian however does have some trouble with the FBI for letting Dom get away. To get his good reputation back he needs to go undercover again. This time he gets to pick a partner and he chooses his childhood friend Roman Pearce. Roman is under house arrest, but in return for his help Roman gets a clear record and together they go to Miami. With the help of undercover agent Monica Fuentes ( Eva Mendes ), Brian and Roman need to bring down drug exporter Verone. But first they need to become part of his drivers crew. It wouldn’t be a true Fast & Furious film without a proper street race. On the day of the arrest, Tej organises a race – where he’s also part of – what is meant to confuse the cops. After a lot of effort and hard work, Brian and Roman got what they wanted: clear records.
Both films show how agent Brian O’Conner works with the FBI and fights for justice. However, the first film shows that Brian has some issues regarding the ‘arrest’ of his newfound friend Dom. Out of loyalty he lets him go, but this does have an effect on Brian’s position. In 2 Fast 2 Furious we see how Brian works with the FBI once more to restore his reputation. It’s a shame that with the absence of Diesel’s character, we don’t know anything about Dom’s whereabouts. We know he’s a fugitive, but Brian has already started working on a new case without any words about Dom. This way it looks like the second film is more of a stand-alone film. The film is very entertaining though and we meet some other charismatic characters: Roman and Tej. From these two films, the first one is clearly the better one and shows better what the Fast & Furious is all about: Fast (pimped) cars, races, friendship and loyalty. Since I describe the films in chronological order, tomorrow the fourth, fifth and sixth film are on the agenda! Stay tuned.