Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Action The Fast and the Furious (2001)

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

You have seen this film before. It might not have been called “The Fast and the Furious,” and it might not have been about racing really fast cars, but you’ve seen it. A cop gets in deep with a criminal organization, finds out that there are parts about them that aren’t so bad, and has to pick between the law and his new found friends. The cop in this case is Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), and the criminal organization is a group of street racers led by Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel).

Oh, and the cop also has to fall for the leader’s sister, because then there is even more of a reason for him to stay with the “bad guys.” The sister in this case is Mia (Jordana Brewster), who works at the local food join serving terrible tuna. Brian initially gets off on the wrong foot with Dom, but after saving the group’s leader from the cops following a race, he’s the new best buddy. Despite being a cop, which we don’t find out about until after the whole cop incident takes place, but will be surprising to probably nobody watching the movie.

The reason that Brian has gone undercover: A group of people have been driving up to large trucks carrying expensive cargo and robbing them mid-transport — without slowing down the truck, either, which is pretty impressive even if it seems less efficient than just knocking the driver out (which they do anyway) and letting the truck come to a stop. Regardless, the higher ranking authority figures think that Dom is behind it, even though Brian isn’t so sure. Of course, Mia might be clouding his head in that regard, but does that really matter?

No. No, it doesn’t. It’s all an excuse for a bunch of car races and chase scenes. The plot doesn’t matter whatsoever, and that’s why it’s so simple and not at all involving. You are watching this movie to watch cool cars, and that’s it. The filmmakers know this, the actors know this, and hopefully you know this, too. If you don’t, well, you do now. If you want a film that will challenge you even the slightest bit intellectually, you will be disappointed by this movie.

I’ll admit that I was impressed by the cars in this film. They’re shiny and they move fast. Real car fans will understand more of the jargon and really appreciate what’s shown here, but I liked how pretty it all was. Oh, sorry, “pretty” is probably an offensive word to lots of the people who would appreciate the cars I’m describing with it. Let’s see. Would “cool” be better? I wouldn’t want to inadvertently make fun of the cars by calling them “pretty,” although that’s exactly what I was saying when we saw lines and lines of cars.

It’s also kind of thrilling to watch these cars race or be involved in chase scenes. Cars chase other cars. Cars are chased by motorcycles. Cars are shot at. Cars are crashed. Cars get blown up. We see the interior of cars which ends up being a blur of the actor and whatever environment is outside the car he or she is sitting in. Cars. Cars. Cars. They’re the star of this film. It’s not about humans or even a plot; it’s about letting expensive cars have their own film.

As a result, it’s really hard to care about any of these people. Okay, so Dom isn’t as terrible a person as the authority figures have built him up to be, but does that make him someone to emulate or become good friends with? Well, no, not really, but what does Brian care? He’s an emotionless block who happens to be good at driving a car. There aren’t a whole lot of occupations that he’d be good at, although street racing would make the list. His relationship with Mia doesn’t work at all. Paul Walker isn’t charismatic enough, and the filmmakers don’t really seem to care about it.

There’s a secondary plot — if you can call it that — involving a rival gang of Chinese men, but it doesn’t get enough focus to really matter. There seemed to be quite a history between the leaders of the two groups, but it doesn’t get expanded upon apart from a few quips back and forth. I wanted to find out exactly why there was a history, as that would have been interesting. But the single-minded focus on cars made that impossible, unfortunately.

There are some fun action scenes, and the races are genuinely thrilling, but I just wanted more depth. That’s probably not what I should have expected, but it’s what I hoped for nonetheless. Sometimes, these action movies bring more to the plate, and I was hoping that The Fast and the Furious was one of them. That’s not what I got. Instead, I got a sometimes fun action movie that has no real characters and a plot that you’ve seen a dozen times before.

The Fast and the Furious is a dumb, shallow action movie. It’s all about the cars, and if you’re someone who likes seeing fast, expensive cars race around the street, then you’ll probably want to give this a whirl. Even if you don’t, some of these races and chase scenes are quite entertaining, even if there isn’t going to be anything within that will challenge your intelligence. A lot of potentially interesting developments are ignored so that the cars can be the stars, although I have a feeling that the people the filmmakers are targeting with this release won’t care anyway.

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