• Guy Jeffries

The Fast and the Furious Review


Director: Rob Cohen

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Matt Schulz, Ted Levine, Ja Rule, Rick Yune, Noel Gugliemi, Thom Barry, Reggie Lee, Johnny Strong, Chad Lindberg.

This is where it all started back in 2001, in the garages of LA's Hollywood which reached out to the ever growing street racing community, even inviting more than 1,500 of them to attend and showcase their cars during the Race War scenes. Can you imagine how you would feel now, having your car appear in one of Hollywood's most lucrative franchises.

Though it's not a remake, apart from obviously echoing Point Break almost entirely, and it's not the first, with The Fast and The Furious being a bought title from the Roger Corman produced 1955 film about an innocent, jail breaker racing to Mexico before the authorities catch him. Though this has nothing else in common with the new titled film apart from cars.

It's said to be inspired by a Vibe article "Racer-X" written by Ken Li who is incidentally credited as one of the writers along side Gary Scott Thompson and David Ayer. Yes! The same Ayer who has recently directed End of Watch, Fury and Suicide Squad. Other influences have been stated to included Grand Theft Auto, The Need for Speed, Rebel Without a Cause, Mad Max 2: Road Warrior and I can see films like Days of Thunder, Smokey and The Bandit, Bullett and Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) having some influence, but it's clearly a copy of Point Break in terms of story. Undercover FBI agent infiltrates a rebellious, free-spirited community, who are supposedly committing robberies. Agent befriend's alpha gang leader, having growing admiration, falls in love with one of the gang members and after blowing his cover actually lets the gang leader go.

Rob Cohen was at the helm, who had some success with Daylight and probably best known for directing Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (which is the film playing on the TV in Dom's house during the house party) who then followed up with xXx the year after, reuniting with Diesel. The action is of a high standard with some great camera work and editing, especially the truck-rolling robberies and race/chase sequences. It's probably the most believable out of the whole franchise and has one of my favourite knock out punches too. Remember this is the basic, street racing film before it escalates to unbelievable and often ridiculous levels in the later films.

The casting is on point, and could have so easily gone a different path when you look at who was on shortlist to star. Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Jessica Biel. It's fair to say this film nitro'd Walker's, Diesel's and Rodriguez's careers into the fast lane, Rodriguez having only been marginally noticed with Girlfight, Diesel with Pitch Black and Boiler Room, and Walker with Joyride, who was influenced by the film Donnie Brasco, that inspired him to want to play an undercover cop. What's quite funny and interesting is that neither Rodriguez or Brewster had driving licences at the start of production, and having Ja Rule play a street racer sets the trend as the the first rapper to join the cast, a trademark each sequential film seems to honour.

Talking of rappers, the soundtrack is deserves a massive shoutout for making soundtracks a fashionable thing again, though not saying they weren't before, it's just this film really put a Nos tank on this album with now iconic tracks like Ja Rule +other's "Furious", "Race Against Time", Life Ain't A Game" and Limp Bizkit Urban Assault Vehicle of "Rollin'" are immediately recognise as FF tracks (you can listen to my Fast & Furious playlist here.)

What was great about this film is the respect to the cars, the cars themselves being characters and of course a massive trademark of the films. The constant Muscle Vs Mod argument, the cars almost being symbolic of their driver's character. Dom being the classic, tough '70 Charger and O'Connor being the slick, cool and flashy Mitsubishi Eclipse.

Maybe it was something no one ever expected, but the road that laid ahead after this film, even with the bumps is quite an entertaining one with la familia growing beyond. It's a perfect film of mindless action, a reworked plot, and some cool cars and stunt work, so grab the coronas put your feet up and enjoy the ride.

Next up: 2 Fast 2 Furious

Running Time: 8

The Cast: 8

Performance: 7

Direction: 8

Story: 6

Script: 6

Creativity: 9

Soundtrack: 10

Job Description: 10

The Extra Bonus Point: 0

Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Already do.

72% 7/10

#RobCohen #VinDiesel #PaulWalker #MichelleRodriguez #JordanaBrewster #MattSchulz #TedLevine #JaRule #RickYune #NoelGugliemi #ThomBarry #ReggieLee #JohnnyStrong #ChadLindberg #BT #GaryScottThompson #DavidAyer