The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Dom and Brian at it.

Dom and Brian at it.

Readers may remember that I have seen Fast 6 and that I didn’t particularly like it. I have considered it could very well be the result of not having seen any of the past Fast and Furious movies. For that reason, I decided to give the first one a shot.

The Fast and the Furious followed Officer Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) of the LAPD as he pursued a gang of street racers hijacking trucks. The trail leads him to the underground racing circuit, where he meets Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster).

As anyone may know, The Fast and the Furious movies are generally very thin on plot. Events more or less serve as excuses for the characters to hop in their tuners and start driving. However, The Fast and Furious did not just have a typical mindless action movie plot. It had next to no logical progression from scene to scene.

What hurt the movie most was the fact that, despite the fact that they were cardboard cutout stereotypes, it had more characters than it could honestly handle. Johnny Tran (Rick Yune), despite the fact that the movie leads you into thinking he would be important to the plot, ultimately was just a convenient non-denominational Asian stereotype with a rich dad, an obsession for family honor, and a fetish for fast cars. I think it’s important people know that as soon as Yune walked off the set of The Fast and the Furious, he stepped right onto that of Die Another Day, which is generally agreed to be the single worst film in the James Bond franchise. Michelle Rodriguez (who was dressed in some pretty unfortunate costumes) and Jordana Brewster served no purpose besides being pretty faces; they hardly had any time onscreen at all.

To me, it was pretty obvious what the movie’s target audience is. That is to say, not terribly intelligent teen high school boys of 2001. The really lousy rap soundtrack did little to help things.

The dialogue was such that if I heard it in a television program, I would’ve found it so embarrassing that I would have no choice but to flip the channel. Not only that, but the acting (particularly from Walker) was absolutely horrendous all around.

The movie did pick up in the third act, when there were some legitimately spectacular car scenes. However, it was too little and too late for me. As much as it pains me to say it, Fast 6 was in a better movie in almost every way. I’m almost tempted to go back and revise my review to give it a better score. As a foolish 17-year-old, I probably would’ve really enjoyed Fast 6 if it had come out 5 years ago. I cannot say the same for Fast 1, though. To me, all The Fast and the Furious was was the vehicle (no pun intended) that really helped the sales of Need for Speed: Underground, a video game that was a lot more enjoyable than this movie.

Score: 1/4

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