Beware the following will contain plot detail.
It’s been over a year since I saw The Fast and The Furious (TFATF) in the hope of catching up with the franchise. This one didn’t break any notable records but it set the ball rolling for what would become Universal’s biggest series (at the time of writing), and nowadays there’s a huge fanfare before the latest one’s release.
Undercover cops seem to be a winning formula and this one’s only different in that it’s about street racing. Still, an excellent premise if you ask me. O’Connor (Walker) has to find out who has been robbing lorries at high speed in modded cars. This can only mean one thing. Getting involved in the street racing scene with neon lit cars and revving engines of course. After a street race with Toretto (Diesel) and Tran (Yue), he works his way into Toretto’s squad where he becomes enamoured with his new lifestyle. Despite being titled The Fast and The Furious, there’s only one good racing sequence and the rest focuses on the police case at hand. Large chunks of TFATF are spent building the plot, so for me, it fails the ‘furiousity’ test. My impression is that it’s more grand theft auto, rather than need for speed, driving the plot which means the emphasis is on gang warfare and street cred.
Vin Diesel is great as Toretto, playing his usual alpha male type character but not falling into the pitfall of being 1 dimensional. All round there’s good character development which sowed a seed for sequels, although in this one it never reaches full bloom. In the end, I’d say it’s probably worth skipping these early ones as its focused on a wafer-thin plot and, like Grand Theft Auto, isn’t what it does best. As a result, we end up with fast, but I’m not so sure about the furious.