Fun & Fantastic
Fun & Fantastic: Why People Should Give the
Fast & Furious Franchise a Try
By: Meg Humphrey
I started writing this article before the tragic news about Paul Walker. Outside of Tokyo Drift (which really only served to introduce Sung Kang as Han for later installments), Walker was the constant presence in the franchise. Brian was also my favorite character due to my soft spot for law enforcement officers with unwavering moral compasses, even if it takes them outside the law. He’ll be dearly missed, especially when Fast 7 eventually hits theaters.
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know a darn thing about cars. I’ve driven the same automatic Saturn Ion since I was 15 ½. But I will also be the first to admit that Fast and Furious (the 4th one), Fast 5, and Fast and Furious 6 were fantastic movies. They’re cheesy dramatic, their action sometimes defies the laws of physics, and there are plenty of groan worthy one-liners, but these movies are FUN. They fit snuggly in the action genre between nail biting straight faced movies (the Bourne movies, The Departed) and movies that don’t take anything seriously (Shoot ‘em Up, Crank).* The rest of the article may be a little vague – I don’t want to give any spoilers – but I hope it’ll be enough to show that you should give these movies a chance.
Let’s talk about the diversity of the cast. These are two movies where the white guy(s) are the minority (Vin Diesel’s background is a mystery, but he considers himself a person of color). There are cast members who are African Americans, Israeli, Spanish, Puerto Rican, Korean, Brazilian and more. Not only that, but there isn’t a racial divide on who are good guys and who are the bad guys. It’s too often that you see people of color being cast as villains against an all (or mostly) white group of protagonists. In these movies, race does not show whose side you’re on or what you are capable of.
Not only is the cast racially diverse, but there’s more than just one token female character. Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Elsa Pataky, Gal Gadot, and Gina Carano are women who are definitely sexy, but their roles are more than just eye candy or meeting a female cast quota. They’re smart, they’re brave, they fight, they’re villains, they’re heroes, they make tough choices, they make bad choices, they are real people and well rounded characters. That’s something that Hollywood needs more of and these movies should be applauded for setting a good example.
Lastly, the movies have matured a LOT. I don’t deny that the first three are mainly about sexy women, sexy men, and sexy cars, but those elements are played down in the latter movies. They still exist, but more subtly and they are not the driving force. The movies care more about the characters and are essentially heist movies that feature some suped up rides. You know the Torettos and their extended family break the law and are wanted fugitives, but you also know that they are decent people with hearts of gold. They end up staging operations that do benefit them (millions of dollars and amnesty, for example), but they are more motivated by the fact that they’re bringing down people who are are doing inarguably bad things. They just want to drive fast cars, live comfortably, and be with their family. That’s something we can all get behind.
Plus, The Rock and Vin Diesel have a fight scene in Fast 5 and that’s enough of a reason to watch.
If you’re looking for movies with crazy action, ample laughs, and a great cast, give the last three Fast movies a try!
*Other movies that are in the fun action ensemble category include: Expendables 1 and 2, The A*Team (2009), and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.firstname.lastname@example.org