In 1998, Rob Cohen (Dragonheart, xXx) read an article on Vibe magazine titled, “Racer X.” A story about illegal street racing in New York City. This inspired him to make an action film. At first, the project’s title under “Redline” upon learning Roger Corman already took the title “The Fast and the Furious.” Which is an old B-Movie from the ‘50s. Luckily, Universal owns the rights to the title. Roger allowed Rob to take it. Not a straight up remake. Just, an original story.
Released in 2001, (same year the Gorillaz’ debut album came out) The first installment of “The Fast Saga” received mixed reviews from critics and movie goers alike. Regardless of divisive reception, the movie earned enough cash at the box office. The Fast and the Furious spawned a franchise consisting of nine sequels, a spin-off called, “Hobbs and Shaw,” video games, merchandise and a cartoon spin-off on Netflix. The Fast and the Furious made Vin Diesel and Paul Walker (may he Rest in Peace) household names in Hollywood.
I wanna get this off my chest. The Fast Saga is one of my guilty pleasures. Even though the action doesn’t obey the laws of physics, I immensely enjoy the chemistry between the lead characters. I can’t help, but to indulge on high octane adrenaline. Christopher Nolan’s a fan of The Fast Saga. Which means I’m not alone. He has a soft spot for “Tokyo Drift.” My personal favorite is “Furious 7.” Anyway, as a fan of The Fast Saga, I wanna share my thoughts on the first movie before I see “Fast X.”
It doesn’t matter if SPOILERS are listed. Many of us grew up watching The Fast Saga. Don’t forget the meme every time Vin Diesel says family.
Fast & Slow Aspects
Fast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez (one of my celeb crushes) & Jordana Brewster all did an excellent job for their respective performances.
Fun Fact: Eminem, Christian Bale & Mark Wahlberg were considered for the of Brian O’Conner. They all turned it down due to busy schedules.
Other Cast Members such as Rick Yune, Ja Rule & Ted Levine all did a good job for their respective performances.
Rob Cohen did a solid job directing. He also makes a cameo appearance as a pizza delivery guy. Shame he may or may not be a groper.
David Ayer (Training Day, End of Watch, Fury) & Gary Scott Thompson wrote the script.
Action Sequences were pretty good. My favorite one is when Dom & Brian barely passed a train.
Unlike future installments, the action is lacks over-the-top action and has a serious tone.
Cinematography didn’t have any technical issues.
Pacing didn’t take forever going from one scene to another.
Soundtrack contains a mix of Hip-Hop and R&B. “Area Codes” by Ludacris is in the soundtrack. Ludacris eventually played Tej Parker.
Dominic “Dom” Toretto and his crew steal DVD players inside a delivery truck. Again, this is before the action cranks up a notch.
Chemistry between Dom & Brian serves as the main highlight. As the movie progresses, Brain starts to form a bond with Dom. He also has a relationship with Dom’s sister, Mia.
Character Development involving Dom & Brian. Near the end of the movie, they earn mutual respect. They go their separate ways. Brian quits his job as a cop, runs from the law. Setting up “2 Fast 2 Furious.”
Dom asks Brian if he’s a wheelman. Vin later starred in a video game titled, “Wheelman.”
FBI HQ originally belonged to Carrie Fisher’s father, Eddie.
We learn about Don’s past. He’s haunted by his father’s death. Hence his “I live a quarter a mile at a time” monologue.”
A Post-Credits Scene with Dom driving in Mexico. Won’t be long ’til the 2009 follow up puts him back for the ride. Fast and Furious 2009 is set before Tokyo Drift.
Slow: Johnny Tran’s forgettable. He’s not an interesting villain like other notable ones from 2001 like Lurtz, (The Fellowship of the Ring) Lord Farquaad, (Shrek) Thrax, (Osmosis Jones) King Goobot (Jimmy Neutron) Randall Boggs (Monsters’ Inc) & Rourke from my number one movie of 2001, “Atlantis: The Lost Empire.”
Product Placement’s all over the place. Panasonic, Corona, Ford, GMC, Honda, Coca-Cola, Pizza Hut, Lay’s, Snapple, Red Bull & Compaq.
The Final Verdict: B, FOR BREAKOUT!
Although some people can’t stand The Fast Saga, I really enjoy the first movie. I’ll rewatch all nine sequels and spin-off in order to refresh my memory.