Fast and Furious – Franchise Catch Up

Up until last weekend I hadn’t seen any of the Fast and Furious films, other than Hobbs and Shaw. They had never appealed to me. And even though I enjoyed the spin-off I didn’t dive into the main series. Seeing the trailer for the 9th one in the cinema, I decided to watch all of them. After watching them I’ve written a short initial thought on each one. These were written after watching the film, and not knowing what was coming next and haven’t been edited or added to in any way, so these are my initial thoughts from as soon as the film ended.

If you’re interested in the series and feel intimidated by the amount of films, or maybe you’re just interested in my thoughts as a newcomer to the series, I hope you enjoy.

The Fast and the Furious

I didn’t expect much from this one. I didn’t want to watch it when I was younger and didn’t really know what to expect. I was surprised to find a decent undercover cop/crime story about underground racing and robbery. It’s entertaining as hell with a great set piece later in the movie with the truck heist that goes wrong. It’s filled with tension and thrilling to watch. The music is almost laughable with how early 2000s it is. Really cements itself it that time with the soundtrack, especially since it includes Limp Bizkit. The ending is poor, without much resolution. I don’t know if they planned on more films at the time, but it doesn’t feel finished. Hopefully, the sequels will tie up those lose ends. Overall better than I expected and wish I’d seen it a lot sooner. 

2 Fast 2 Furious

Replays a lot of the beats of the first film. Entertaining but not much else. Forgettable. At some points it feels almost like a straight-to-video release. The racing at the start looks really poor. New characters is a nice plus but missing characters from the first one. Nothing spectacular.

Tokyo Drift

From the opening scene you have a lot of misogyny. Women are nothing more than meat prizes to be won. The only female characters that get any screen time are used as prizes in the races. The plot is unbelievably stupid. It gets better when the plot moves to Tokyo, but it’s still really poor.  The racing looks a lot better than the 2nd one, but it’s still not a very good film. Takes itself way too seriously to be fun and entertaining.

Fast and Furious

I’m surprised the franchise survived the last 2 films and didn’t just disappear. Michelle Rodriguez is back, which is good. But she dies very early on in the film, which isn’t. Paul Walker’s character who I still haven’t learnt the name of, is an FBI agent now? Re-instated? When was he with the FBI, wasn’t he with the LAPD in the first one? Why did they re-instate him. He’s not very good at keeping to the law. At least the characters from the first one are back. These feels like the first actual sequel to the first one, but it’s just not very good. It feels long and is boring in places. It might be because I’m binge-watching these though. A massive improvement on the previous 2, but I did enjoy the first one quite a bit and none have stood up to it just yet.

Fast 5

The prison bus break out at the beginning of this one is just insane. So over the top and I’m pretty sure they just straight up murdered most people on the bus. This is where things get crazy. The films have been ramping up from the 2nd one, but this is where they go off the rails. Insane stunts and a lot less of a focus on racing. This is a heist film and it works. The best sequel and a rival for the first one as the best of the bunch so far. The Rock is also in this one, and you just can’t go wrong with him. The actual heist at the end and driving through the streets with the bank vault tethered to their cars is both stupid and entertaining.

Furious 6

Again it’s ramped up. This time the gang is in London, working for the US government to help take down an international criminal. The stunts are crazier, there are more laughs and more of The Rock, what’s not too like? Letty somehow survived her death in the 4th one. The explanation makes little to no sense, but at least we have her back. It’s not as good as the 5th one, but still entertaining to watch. Good ending as well that sets up the next one. There isn’t really much to say about this one, it’s more of the same style as the 5th one and it works well. 

Fast and Furious 7

This is my favourite so far. It’s beyond insane with how over the top it is. It’s funny as hell. This feels like a Mission: Impossible film. The stunts are ridiculous with some of the most outrageous set pieces imaginable from parachuting cars to driving between buildings. It also have some nice quiet moments. I’ve grown to like all of the characters and the send off to Paul Walker is perfectly and tastefully done. The Rock is put on the bench for most of this film, hospitalised by an explosion in the opening act. In his place is Kurt Russell, with no complaints from me. This is also where Jason Statham joins the cast. At this point, the cast list is massive. Highlight is The Rock flexing his arm out of a cast when he’s back in the game for the final act. I had a smile on my face for the majority of this one. It’s stupid, dumb fun with likeable characters that we’ve spent a long time with by this point and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. One more to go.

Fate of the Furious

These films get crazier and crazier with each instalment. This one starts with a race where Dom’s car is in flames by the end of it and ends with the gang outrunning a submarine. Again this feels closer to a Mission: Impossible film than the first Fast and Furious. The Rock and Jason Statham are really funny and bounce off each other perfectly. It’s no wonder they got their own spin-off series after this one. I think this one may be the funniest. Statham rescuing a baby while taking out a group of terrorists is brilliant. I still think that number 7 is my favourite, but this one is a thrill-ride all the same. Now it’s time for number 9 in the cinema.

Final Thoughts

I had always put off seeing these films. They never appealed to me when I was young and the first few came out. I don’t care about cars or racing. I turned my nose up at them to be honest. It was only when I saw the trailer for the Hobbs and Shaw film that I started to take notice. That film is great, even though it could be 20 minutes shorter. After hearing that the later films in the main series are just as crazy, I was tempted. Then seeing a trailer for number 9 in the cinema, made me want to give them a go. I wish I had earlier, I was missing out.

The first one is genuinely a good film. Number 2 is dumb, fun and forgettable. 3 and 4 are not as good, and to be honest can probably be skipped. 5 is where the series really gets into gear and then it becomes insane stunts and high octane action from there on out, out-doing themselves with each subsequent film. I’m a big fan of the Mission: Impossible films, with their insane stunts and this is more of that. The biggest difference is that instead of Tom Cruise, F&F has a whole cast of likeable characters that I care about after spending so much time with them.  

If you are tempted to give them ago, I would recommend it. If you’re into big budget, dumb but seriously entertaining action films, then F&F is worth your time. They are not mind-blowing films, but seriously good popcorn films and sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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2 Responses to Fast and Furious – Franchise Catch Up

  1. thane62 says:

    Hi. Like you, I’ve never been tempted by these–car racing not my thing–and am daunted by the idea of watching them to review. Plus I don’t know anyone who has them in their collection, there’s no vid store nearby (living in Port Angeles, Washington), and I’m not about to plunk down to stream-rent, let alone buy them. So, they’ll have to wait: The Slow and the Incurious. I do like the Rock, though. I appreciate your rundown. Cheers, Mark

    • Hi, thank you. I managed to get a boxset cheap enough online and thought it would be interesting to watch them like this. Definitely not the best films in the world, but entertaining if there isn’t another option.

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