The Fast and The Curious by John Seminario

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With Fate Of The Furious speeding into theaters today, I decided to finally sit down and watch every Fast & Furious film for the very first time! Buckle up, mi familia, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

The Fast And The Furious

The Fast And The Furious literally begins with a truck heist. I get that there was a greater emphasis on street racing early on in this series, but to argue that these films “actually used to be about cars” might be a bridge too far. This movie is about an undercover cop attempting to get in good with a gang of street racers to ultimately bust whoever it is stealing all of the DVD players.

Favorite Moment: Vin Diesel shouting “NOS!” right before the car blows up.

2 Fast 2 Furious

While it certainly is nice to see the unconventional method of naming these movies become a thing so early on in the series, this one has very little going for it outside of that. 2 Fast 2 Furious is bad, but definitely not as bad as I was led to believe. Roman Pearce is a fun character with some good moments, and he and Brian work well as friends/partners, but everything else is largely forgettable. Oh right, Ludacris is also in this one!

Favorite Moment: Roman Pearce shouting “EJECT-O SEAT-O, CUZ!” right before he eject-o seat-o’s one of Carter Verone’s hired goons, obviously.

The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift

Man, this movie is so much better than 2 Fast 2 Furious, and Han is still unquestionably the best character in the entire series. That being said, I understand why people would dislike it. At best, it’s The Car-ate Kid. At worst, it’s essentially The Fast And The Furious: Gaiden. Still, Han is a phenomenal character, drifting is cool, and the main character literally settles a debt with the Yakuza by winning a drift race so who gives a shit!

Favorite Moment: “Man, do you even know what ‘DK’ stands for?” / “Donkey Kong?” / “Drift King.”

Fast & Furious

Fast & Furious obviously lays the groundwork for everything that is to come, but it takes itself far too seriously. Also, they specifically went out of their way to set it before Tokyo Drift so why the heck is Han only in the very beginning of the film? The drug tunnel scenes were cool, though, and it was nice to finally see Brian and Dom onscreen together again. Oh, and Gal Gadot is in this one!

Favorite Moment: I mean yeah, the drug tunnel stuff.

Fast Five

I wish I had known going into this that it would be the last time I ever considered Tokyo Drift the best film in the series. It was my favorite for a long time and I will cherish it always… but Fast Five is so damn good. The Rock is incredible, all of the action is exceptionally well done, and the filmmakers make good on the reuinion that was only teased in Fast & Furious, pulling characters from every previous film into this one. Brian and Roman are messing with each other, Han and Giselle are flirting with each other, and Ludacris… is a hacker now? Sure, I guess that works. This was the payoff. This was the moment every longtime fan got to get up out of their seat and jump for joy. Everyone was here under one roof. It all feels like a good version of The Avengers.

Favorite Moment: I’m a sucker for a good “gathering the team” montage, and this one was real good.

Favorite Moment, Runner Up: The Rock looks over to his teammate, who is pinned under a jeep, when he sees a live grenade drop right in front of the helpless guy… and then another grenade drops next to that one. And the entire scene was in slow motion. Goddammit, that was hilarious. Rest in peace, Rock’s teammate.

Fast & Furious 6

In many ways, Fast & Furious 6 just feels like more Fast Five, but in many other ways, it also feels even better. All of the heavy hitters from the previous film return again, and even minor characters that you maybe didn’t know you remembered make a re-appearance. With so many cameos, it’s nice that none of this fan service ever feels forced and, instead, feels in service of the plot first and foremost. Also, Han essentially becomes a legitimately tragic character by the end of the film, so there’s that. I still have no idea how Ludacris got so good at hacking.

Favorite Moment: It’s a small thing, but I really enjoyed the fight scene between Han/Roman and Owen Shaw’s goon. Han is the coolest and Roman is the cockiest, so it was neat to see them be totally incompetent fighters. Not everyone can be good at everything.

Furious 7

For just how gradually the previous films ramped up in craziness, Furious 7 feels borderline too over-the-top at times. Jason Statham single handedly takes out an entire SWAT team, the Rock falls out of a three story window and has little more than a broken arm in a cast to show for it (which he will later flex out of when Dom and his crew need his help ((which ultimately leads to him driving an ambulance off of an overpass to destroy a drone pursuing Letty and Ramsey (((after which he removes the drone’s machine gun and uses it to shoot down an enemy helicopter)))))), and Vin Diesel duels Statham atop a parking garage with various repair tools and broken pieces of metal. This movie is nuts. But then you have the situation of real-life Paul Walker’s death, which the filmmakers handle super gracefully, paying their respects to both Walker, the actor, and Brian, the character he brought to life. To balance those two very different tones and to have it feel natural is no easy task, and the fact that the filmmakers have been so consistently good about getting into and out of those heavier character moments across all of these films speaks to the quality of writing that really is there.

Favorite Moment: You know what, the Paul Walker send off. That was legitimately touching and a great way to pay respect to his character.

Epilogue

Every few years, I would see yet another new trailer for yet another new Fast & Furious movie and I just wouldn’t understand it. “What the fuck do people see in these films?” I would think to myself, certain that the only people who could possibly enjoy these movies were brain dead morons who liked loud action movies, cool cars that go fast, and Vin Diesel. Those all sounded great on paper, I guess, but how do things like that keep a franchise going for years?

And hey, I’m not willing to discount the idea that there are plenty of people out there who are just in it for the super dumb shit.

I think there’s something admirable, though, about just how well everyone tasked with making these movies handles everything. These films do so many things way better than they need to. They found a way to turn paper thin characters into people with actual personalities. They went from a story about stealing DVD players to a story about, essentially super spies, and it somehow all found its way there naturally. They accidentally created a legitimately fantastic ensemble cast. These films know what they’re about, but they actively decide to be more because they care about these characters. And you know what? So do I.

Seriously though, I have no idea how Ludacris got so good at hacking.

Final Ranking

Fast Five

Fast & Furious 6

The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift

Furious 7

The Fast And The Furious

Fast & Furious

2 Fast 2 Furious

What do you know, it really is about family!

 

Follow @John_Seminario_ on Twitter to hear him talk about video games and how much he hates self-promotion!

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