A series that just keeps getting better and better.
I just saw ‘Furious 7’, but before reviewing that, I wanted to make a post with my thoughts on the series so far. (Minor Spoilers)
‘The Fast and the Furious’
The movie that started it all. When I was little, I really had no interest in seeing these movies. I remember watching about half of this original one a few years after it was released. I thought it was okay, but I really just thought that the series as a whole was dumb. And at the time, it really was a dumb series.
When it was announced that the 4th installment would bring back the characters from the original, I thought “Wow, people actually care about these movies”. Otherwise, they wouldn’t really be making them. I decided to watch the first three movies to see what they were all about.
The original left me entertained, and I grew to really like Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto. It kept my interest, and the characters were honestly really awesome.
There’s really not much else to say about this movie for me, other than it’s a good introduction to all the characters that would be showing up for future installments, in a series that would eventually get better.
‘2 Fast 2 Furious’
But it didn’t get better just yet. The second movie, in my opinion, is a huge step down from the original, and probably the worst in the series over-all.
However, it has a lot of great things going for it. The chemistry between Paul Walker’s character (Brian O’Connor) and Tyrese Gibson (Roman) is actually really good. The whole movie is really a buddy-cop story.
The villain, played by Cole Hauser is another awesome thing about this. He’s still one of the best villains in the series so far.
The reason why this is a step down from the original though, is that it’s all around just really stupid. Don’t get me wrong, all of these movies are. But this movie was made before the series used its stupidity to their advantage to make for more entertainment. It takes itself a little too seriously. However, looking back, even though it’s hilariously ghetto, it makes for an enjoyable movie.
‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’
This is where the series got a bit better. But at the time, we didn’t know just yet. When I first watched this one, I hated it. I thought it was the stupidest thing ever, and I was really really mad that it had absolutely nothing to do with the first two.
Years later, some minor connections have been made. This movie actually takes place chronologically after the 4th, 5th, and 6th movies.
We’re introduced to the character of Han in this one, who ends up getting killed in a crash. Because of this, all future installments hint at this set-up for Han to eventually live his life in Tokyo, and get killed.
The leading character, Sean Boswell was a character that I absolutely hated the first time seeing this. After awhile though, he kind of grows on you.
Now, ‘Furious 7’ is the first film to take place after these events. For the longest time, this bothered me so much. ‘Tokyo Drift’ truly had nothing to do with the series as a whole and felt like the black sheep of the family.
A few films later though, I am now able to go back and enjoy it for what it is. It’s ‘The Karate Kid’ with cars, and it makes for an entertaining movie. It currently feels like a spin-off to the overall series, but I’m hoping that now that it has a stronger connection, we can see the character of Sean team up with Dominic Toretto’s crew for all future installments.
Rating (1st viewing): C
Viewing again after seeing the series grow: B-
‘Fast & Furious’ …… 4
Don’t ask me what went wrong with the way they decided to start giving these films really stupid titles.
The fourth in the series brings back the original cast. For me, this was the one that sparked my interest in seeing these movies. After seeing the original crew back together again was purely awesome, and a great step in the right direction.
It still took itself a bit too seriously, but the chemistry of the first movie was all there, and you will never beat it between Brian and Dom.
The ending leaves you hanging for the chapter that would truly re-invent everything.
The film opens with Brian O’Connor tripping a prison bus with his car.
Dom and his crew (along with Brian) are now wanted fugitives. Then The Rock comes into play.
What’s their plan?
To pull off a heist, and basically rob Brazil of its money so that they can run away and be free.
This is the movie where they decided to stop being SO serious and have fun with everything. It’s as if they embraced the stupidity of the series and just rolled with it.
What comes out is so incredibly entertaining. It’s like blue-collar ‘Ocean’s 11’. This is where you start to see what makes the series so successful. They almost change up the structure of each film and borrow from different genres.
It brings back characters from all previous films (including Tokyo Drift). Everyone meshes together and forms great chemistry, and the humor truly works.
‘Fast & Furious 6’
And it continued to get better.
Stepping away from being a heist movie, this one was more of a rescue mission story. The Rock was no longer chasing Dom and his crew like he did in ‘Fast Five’. This time, he offered them a chance at true freedom, and to go back home if they helped capture the villain Owen Shaw.
What worked with the fifth film stayed intact. However, all action was bumped up a notch. It was after this one where you really had to tell yourself that you must suspend all disbelief when seeing these from now on.
The action became so over-the-top and ridiculous that it was almost funny. But with that said, it was still action that had you sitting on the edge of your seat. It’s absurd, but it’s awesome and insanely well done.
I enjoyed some of the chemistry a bit more in ‘Fast Five’, but it was still there in this one. I think that it actually just focused a bit more on other characters other than having Dom and Brian being the whole spotlight.
The final verdict of this series is that, even after all of these films, this is a franchise that has yet to lose any traction. They truly get better with every film, and it’s because they stick to a great formula. The creators know what they are making. They are fully aware that these are over-the-top ridiculous action films, and they play on that so well. This self-awareness and the great chemistry between all of the characters is the reason why this is such a great and entertaining franchise.
My (in depth) review for ‘Furious 7’ will be posted next!