The Fast and the Furious (2001 film)

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The Fast and the Furious

Theatrical release poster
Directed byRob Cohen
Produced byNeal H. Moritz
Screenplay byGary Scott Thompson
Erik Bergquist
David Ayer
Based onRacer X by Ken Li
StarringPaul Walker
Vin Diesel
Michelle Rodriguez
Jordana Brewster
Matt Schulze
Thom Barry
Johnny Strong
Music byBT
CinematographyEricson Core
Editing byPeter Honess
StudioOriginal Film
Mediastream Film
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date(s)
  • June 22, 2001 (2001-06-22)
Running time106 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Germany[2]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$38 million[1]
Box office$207,283,925[1]
 
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The Fast and the Furious

Theatrical release poster
Directed byRob Cohen
Produced byNeal H. Moritz
Screenplay byGary Scott Thompson
Erik Bergquist
David Ayer
Based onRacer X by Ken Li
StarringPaul Walker
Vin Diesel
Michelle Rodriguez
Jordana Brewster
Matt Schulze
Thom Barry
Johnny Strong
Music byBT
CinematographyEricson Core
Editing byPeter Honess
StudioOriginal Film
Mediastream Film
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date(s)
  • June 22, 2001 (2001-06-22)
Running time106 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Germany[2]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$38 million[1]
Box office$207,283,925[1]

The Fast and the Furious is a 2001 American-German street racing action film starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster and directed by Rob Cohen.[3]

It is the first film in The Fast and the Furious film series. The film's concept was inspired by a Vibe magazine article about street racing in New York City.[3]

The 2001 film became the original of a franchise series when it was followed by 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) (chronologically the last), Fast & Furious (2009), Fast Five (2011) and Fast Six (2013).

Contents

Plot

In the middle of the night, on a highway in Los Angeles, California, three black modified 1995 Honda Civic EJs follow a semi-trailer truck. One of the masked pursuers breaks a windshield with a crossbow, and grappels himself to the seat. He subdues the driver and the Civics commandeer the truck, stealing it and driving away.

LAPD officer Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) is sent undercover on a joint FBI-LAPD investigation to infiltrate the local L.A. illegal street racing scene so he can find and apprehend the truck hijackers. Brian uses his cover job at The Racer's Edge, an aftermarket parts shop, to make connections and infiltrate the local street racing scene. One night, on a local street racing gathering, he enters his modified 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse 2G RS 420A into an illegal race with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Edwin (Ja Rule), and Ryo (RyoTheRapper) bartering the pink slips, due to the fact that he doesn't have enough money to bet in the race. He asks for respect and cash, in the event he should win, initially drawing criticism from the attendees, but giving Toretto insight to his character.

Brian, due to his lack of knowledge in racing, activates too much nitrous oxide, over-pressurizing the Eclipse's engine and frying it, resulting in the car losing control. Toretto wins the race in his modified 1993 Mazda RX-7 FD. Dominic also mocks him in front of the gathered racers and viewers. Suddenly, the LAPD arrives on the scene and Brian flees away, as well as Dominic with the rest of the drivers. Dominic arrives at a local parking lot and ditches his car to prevent being caught, but a squad car recognizes him. He runs into an alley, where Brian arrives and they escape the patrol, and thus wins Dominic's respect.

As they flee from the scene, Dominic and Brian accidentally venture into L.A.'s Little Saigon, encountering Dominic's rival, Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) along with his cousin Lance Nguyen (Reggie Lee) and his gang. Tran warns Dominic to stay away from his territory, and that he will smoke him at the "Race Wars", a massive street racing event held in the desert, before departing the scene. The duo tries to leave, but Johnny returns with Lance, who open fire with submachine guns, rupturing a nitrous tank and destroying the Eclipse in the resulting explosion. Brian and Dominic leave Little Saigon and hail a cab.

Later on, Dom invites Brian to a party at his house, where he encounters Dominic's friend, Vince (Matt Schulze), who dislikes Brian because of Dominic's sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster), who takes interest in Brian. At the party, Brian also meets Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Dom's longtime girlfriend, and the rest of Dom's crew, Leon (Johnny Strong), an expert mechanic and also Dom's old friend, and Jesse (Chad Lindberg), a geek specialized in electronics.

The next day, Brian is falsely arrested and brought to the cover-up house by Sergeant Tanner (Ted Levine) and FBI special agent Bilkins (Thom Barry). Bilkins is mad with the cover-up car destroyed (FBI spent $80,000 on Brian's car to tune it to look like a racing car) and ask him about the situation. Brian informs him about Tran and the attack, and also informs them that he doubts that Dom could be behind the hijackings, since he is able to control himself. Both Tanner and Bilkins dismiss this and tell him that he has only a few days to crack the case.

Brian delivers a totalled 1994 Toyota Supra Mk IV 2JZ to Dominic's shop and offers his talents as a driver to repay the debt incurred from losing the race. Brian begins dating Mia, while Dom and the rest of the crew goes to work restoring the Supra. Dominic also invites Brian to his house, showing him a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, which he built with his father. Dom tells him that his father was a stock car driver and tells his story;

One day, his father was in the front row, on the last race of the season. Another driver, named Kenny Linder, tried to overtake him from the inner corner and pushed him in the wall at 120 mph. He was screaming and was burned alive, but the people there said that he was dead before the tanks exploded, and that Dom was screaming. He met Linder a week later after the crash. He had a 3/4" torque wrench and almost beat him to death, cutting his eye, and also forcing Linder into retirement, now working as a janitor at a high school, forced to take the bus to work every day. Dom was sentenced and acquired a record, and he was forbidden to return to the track for life. Dom explains to Brian: "I live my life a quarter-mile at a time...Nothing else matters, not the store, not the mortage, not the garage, not my friends or any of their bullshit. For those 10 seconds or less, I'm free."

One night, Brian is checking under the local garages hoping to find the Civics. Just as he is leaving, having not found anything, he is knocked out by Vince. He is dragged to Dom, who asks Brian to explain himself while being held at gunpoint by Vince. Brian lies, explaining that at The Racer's Edge, Hector (Noel Guglielmi), the man who organized the race the other night, ordered three T66 turbochargers with exhaust systems for the Civics, leaving him with the (false) suspicion that he is planning something big, probably for Tran. Dom takes him to Little Saigon, where they raid another garage owned by Tran. Inside, they discover that there are no engines inside the cars, but Brian notices shipments of electronics in the garage. They hide as Tran and Lance arrive, torturing the mechanic to give him the engines they requested. They manage to escape without being seen.

This convinces Brian that Tran's crew is behind the hijacks, and lets Tanner and Bilkins know. The SWAT team, along with Brian, raids Tran's house and arrests him and his cousin Lance, but it is shown up that the electronics are legally bought, and that the only charges against them are minor parking tickets and unpaid speeding fines, forcing them to set them free as their ransom is paid. Bilkins and Tanner return to their original theory that Dominic and his crew are the perpetrators. Tanner warns Brian not to let his feelings for Mia or his friendship with Dominic cloud his judgment and lead him too far from the case, and Bilkins, angered about the situation, gives Brian only 36 hours to break the case or he will be fired.

Meanwhile, with the Supra now fully prepped to race, Brian asks Dominic for information regarding his income, citing that his small store alone wouldn't pay for all his racing expenditures nor his garage, and that he wants to be in whatever he is doing. Instead, Dominic gives Brian an invitation to "Race Wars", and informs him they'll talk once Brian has proven his worth on the strip. At Race Wars, Letty wins some cash against a local racer, but Jesse, wanting to impress his imprisoned father and a street racer, bets his modified 1995 Volkswagen Jetta A3 (belonging to his father) and Tran bets his modified 1999 Honda S2000. Jesse loses, panics and flees the track prompting Tran to confront Dominic and demand that he retrieve the car for him. Dominic refuses and Tran accuses him of ratting on him, causing him to be humiliated in front of his entire family. In response Dominic brutally beats Tran and is pulled off by Vince and two security guards. That night, Brian notices Dominic and his crew leaving the Race Wars, with the former arguing with Mia.

Brian realizes that Dominic is the hijacker and confesses to Mia his status as an undercover cop. She is furious at him and demands him to leave her, but he explains that everything that he said to her about their relationship is true and convinces her to come with him to save her brother and his friends from the armed truck drivers, and they leave on the Highway 65 outside L.A. to catch up with Dominic and the rest of the group.

Meanwhile, the attempted hijacking went wrong when the truck driver fights back with a shotgun, causing Vince to be stuck on the truck's doors and Letty to spin out from the road. Brian tracks their location by triangulating Dominic's cell phone signal, and works with Mia, cutting the ropes to get Vince out of the truck. They place him on the ground just as Dom and Leon arrive (Dom's car was broken down, while Leon went to pick up an injured Letty), and Dom goes to help them. Brian, realizing that Vince could die, makes the difficult decision to blow his cover to the crew by phoning in for a medivac, revealing to Dominic that he is a police officer. The revelation enrages Dominic, but he contains himself and flees with Leon, Letty and Mia as the medivac arrives for Vince.

Brian follows Dominic to his house and holds him at gunpoint to prevent him from fleeing, but Dominic explains that he is going to look for Jesse before Tran finds him. Just when Dominic points his shotgun at him, Jesse arrives, apologizing for his actions at Race Wars and pleading for Dominic's help. Moments later, Tran and Lance arrive on their bikes and perform a drive-by shooting, killing Jesse. Brian and Dominic chase them, with Dom in his Charger. He forces Lance's motorcycle off the road, severely injuring him, while Brian, after a short chase, manages to shoot and kill Tran.

Afterwards, Brian and Dominic engage in a drag race, narrowly avoiding a passing train. Despite making the train track jump, Dominic crashes into a semi-truck and rolls his car twice. Brian pulls out Dom, and he hears the police sirens approaching, with Dom assuming that he will be apprehended, but instead of arresting him, Brian hands over the keys to the Supra and lets him escape, making good on his promise to deliver a "ten-second car". Dom takes the car and drives away, and Brian walks away, knowing that he is now a fugitive.

After the credits, Dominic is seen driving through Baja California, Mexico, in a red 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, while he narrates the words that he explained to Brian before he disappears into the sunset. His last narrations are; "I live my life a quarter-mile at a time. For those 10 seconds or less, I'm free."

Cast

Director Rob Cohen makes a cameo appearance on the first race scene as a pizza delivery man.

Production notes

The title rights (but not the story rights) of the 1955 film The Fast and the Furious were purchased so that the title could be used on this project, another film about racing.

According to an interview found on the original DVD release, Cohen was inspired to make this film after reading a Vibe magazine article about street racing in New York City and watching an actual illegal street race at night in Los Angeles.

The film was shot in various locations within Los Angeles and parts of Southern California. Key locations included Dodger Stadium (on the opening scene where Brian tests his Eclipse on the parking lot), Angelino Heights, Silver Lake and Echo Park (the neighborhoods around Toretto's home), as well as Little Saigon (where Tran destroys the Eclipse) and the San Bernardino International Airport (the venue for Race Wars, which attracted over 1,500 import car owners and enthusiasts).[4] The entire last rig heist scene was filmed along Domenigoni Parkway on the South side of San Jacinto/Hemet in the San Jacinto Valley in California near Diamond Valley Lake.

Prior to filming, both Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez did not have driver's licenses, so they took driving lessons during production.

In one scene at Toretto's home, the gang is seen watching Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, another film directed by Cohen.

For the climactic race scene between Brian and Toretto, separate shots of both cars crossing the railroad and the train crossing the street were filmed, then composited together to give the illusion of the train narrowly missing the cars. A long steel rod was used as a ramp for Toretto's car to crash through the semi-truck and fly in mid-air.

Music

The film's score was composed by music producer BT, mixing Electronica with Hip-hop and Industrial influences. Two soundtracks were released for the movie. The first one features mostly hip-hop and rap music. The second one, titled More Fast and Furious: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture The Fast and the Furious, features alternative metal, Post-grunge and Nu metal songs, as well as select tracks from BT's score.

Release

The Fast and the Furious was released on DVD on January 2, 2002. A second print known as the "Tricked Out Edition", released on June 3, 2003, featured Turbo-Charged Prelude, a short film that set the tone to the film's sequel. An abridged version of the short film is also on the DVD of that sequel.

The film was released on HD DVD along with 2 Fast 2 Furious on September 26, 2006, along with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift on DVD, and on Blu-ray disc on July 28, 2009 along with Fast & Furious on DVD and Blu-ray.

Reception

The Fast and the Furious was met with mixed reviews, with a score of 52% based on 145 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.[5] Todd McCarthy of Variety called the film "a gritty and gratifying cheap thrill, Rob Cohen's high-octane hot-car meller is a true rarity these days, a really good exploitationer, the sort of thing that would rule at drive-ins if they still existed."[6] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "an action picture that's surprising in the complexity of its key characters and portents of tragedy."[7] Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today gave the film 212 out of 4 stars, saying that Cohen "at least knows how to keep matters moving and the action sequences exciting."[8] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C, saying it "works hard to be exciting, but the movie scarcely lives up to its title."[9] Rita Kempley of The Washington Post gave the film a scathing review, calling it "Rebel Without a Cause without a cause. The Young and the Restless with gas fumes. The Quick and the Dead with skid marks."[10] Paul Clinton of CNN wrote that Cohen "created a high-octane, rubber-burning extravaganza" but he criticized the film for "plot holes you could drive the proverbial truck through" and an idiotic ending.[11]

Merchandising

Video game

The Fast and the Furious (video game).

The film series has spawned a couple racing video games for arcade, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable.

The Fast and the Furious arcade video game was released by Raw Thrills in 2004.[12] In 2006, The Fast and The Furious (ファスト・アンド・フュリアス) was released for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable.

Toys and model kits

Racing Champions released diecast metal replicas of the film's cars in different scales from 1/18 to 1/64.[13] RadioShack sold ZipZaps micro RC versions of the cars in 2002.[14] 1/24 scale plastic model kits of the hero cars were manufactured by AMT Ertl.[15]

Sequels

The film has spawned four sequels: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Fast & Furious (2009), and Fast Five (2011) with a sixth installment in the works. Paul Walker returned for 2 Fast 2 Furious, teaming up with Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris. Diesel was never approached to reprise his role in this film. Lucas Black starred in Tokyo Drift, his only appearance in the series. Diesel had a small cameo at the end of the film, and Walker never appeared. Fast & Furious was the first true spiritual sequel to the original - Diesel, Walker, Rodriguez and Brewster all returned to reprise their roles. Fast Five also featured Diesel, Walker and Brewster, as well as Gibson and Ludacris, who both reprised their 2 Fast 2 Furious roles in the film, along with the new addition of Dwayne Johnson. Eva Mendes and Matt Schulze also returned to the franchise, reprising their roles from 2 Fast 2 Furious and the original film, respectively. Rodriguez also made a cameo in a post-credits scene in Fast Five. Diesel, Walker, Brewster, Gibson, Ludacris and Rodriguez are all confirmed to return for the 6th film.

See also

References

External links