Point Break on Wheels: The Fast and the Furious

With spring around the corner, car owners every where are polishing their hoods and rims, excited to take their wheels out for the first spin with the windows rolled down. If you want to get into the spirit, The Fast and the Furious is the perfect film for you: the fast-paced action-drama about an attractive group of people racing fast and shiny cars has spawned six sequels, with three more in the making, and catapulted Vin Diesel and Paul Walker to global superstardom. Here’s why you might want to watch, even if cars aren’t exactly your thing…

What’s it about? FBI agent Brian o’Connor (Paul Walker)goes undercover as a streetracer to find out who is behind a recent series of truck robberies. In order to get a standing in the streetracing scene of downtown Los Angeles, he has to gain the trust of the infamous Domenic Toretto (Vin Diesel). But when Brian becomes a member of the family and develops feelings for Dom’s younger sister Mia (Jordana Brewster), he starts to have doubts about whose side he’s actually on.

What’s it really about? Just because something is against the law, doesn’t always mean it’s (ethically) wrong

Pick if:

  • You’re looking for a thrilling, fast-paced action movie to watch with your friends –  especially”the boys”, your partner, or your sibling(s)
  • You’re into flashy cars and at least occasionally feel “the need for speed”
  • You’re interested in stories about friendship, loyalty, respect and the love of family (a term which is used in a broader sense throughout the series)
  • You’re a fan of self-referential franchises: over the course of seven movies, there are certain cyclical elements, like the good-natured competition between Dom and Brian whenever they race, Dom and Letty’s (Michelle Rodriguez) relationship, Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej’s (Ludacris) bickering and Giselle (Gal Gadot) talking smack about boys and how sometimes it takes a woman to do a job right
  • You’re a sucker for a good bromance. Although Brian and Dom don’t technically qualify as a bromance. Because unlike comedies like 21 Jump Street, or How I met your mother, F&F does not poke fun at the brotherly bond between Brian and Dom, but instead portrays their close friendship in a tasteful and sincere way without ever getting too sappy about it: they tease each other, they argue with each other, but they would take a bullet for one another when it comes down to it
  • That being said, the later sequels 5,6, and 7 are almost too action-packed, leaving little room for character development or poignant moments between Dom and his loved ones. Pity! Because as much as 1 and 4 are thrilling, they are even more interesting because of the character dynamics. So these two are the ones to watch, really.
  • You’re a fan of Point Break and/ or Ocean’s Eleven: The Fast and the Furious mixes the “undercover-cop succumbs to the allure of living among thrill-seeking outlaws” with the classic make-up of a heist movie in part 5,6, and 7
  • And speaking of Ocean’s 11: the F&F franchise also features a compelling and ethnically diverse ensemble cast, ranging from Walker and Diesel, to Tyrese Gibson, rapper Ludacris, and Sung Kang, to Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, and “Wonder Woman” Gal Gadot
  • Not to mention their brilliant antagonists: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (who joins the family later in the series), Jason Statham, and Luke Evans

Most memorable quotes:

Brian: If I lose, winner takes my car clean and clear. But if I win, I take the cash, and I take the respect!
Dom: Respect?
Brian: To some people, that’s more important.

Dom: I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters: not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullshit. For those ten seconds or less, I’m free.

Dom: Ask any racer. Any real racer. It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.

Most memorable scene: *****SPOILER***** After Brian’s cover is blown, he and Dom face off in a kamikaze street race that sees them head towards a railroad crossing while a train is fast approaching. Dom crashes his car, barely making it out of the wreckage. As police sirens sound in the distance, Brian decides to let Dom go, stating that he owes him a ten-second-car.

Magic Music Moment: Remember how in the summer of 2011 show-offs would pull up next to you at the traffic light with their windows rolled down, blasting that Don Omar song “Danza Kuduro? And then at night you would go to a club and the DJ would play that same damn song every half hour and every time he did the crowd would start cheering and you got so annoyed you just wanted to peace the hell out of there? Well, if that *is* how you remember it, it’s probably because you didn’t see Fast Five, the fifth installment in the F&F series, when it came out. Because if you had, you would forever associate the song with that brilliant joyride of a movie and thus treasure it.

The same goes for last year’s “See you again”, a.k.a. the song most millenials want to have played at their funeral now. As you may have heard, the song is a tribute to the late Paul Walker, who rose to fame in the Fast and the Furious series and, in a cruel twist of life imitating art, tragically died in a car accident in November 2013. Furious 7 marks the last F&F chapter that Walker was alive for,  which is why the movie ends with a beautiful, emotional and tasteful scene, set to “See you again”, where Vin Diesel’s character Dom says goodbye to his partner in crime and spiritual brother Brian.

Where can I watch? The Fast and the Furious is available for streaming on Amazon, Maxdome and iTunes, as well as is Tokyo Drift – but you can skip that one, since it doesn’t star any of the main characters, along with 2 Fast 2 Furious which only stars Walker and Gibson, adding Eva Mendes as eye-candy, but it’s still a terrible movie. Fast and Furious (part 4) is also available on these streaming services, as are Fast Five and Fast and Furious 6. As of 2015, Fast and Furious 7 is the latest installment in the series with THREE more in development. Here’s an overview of the countries in which the movies are available on Netflix.

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