The Fast and the Furious (2001 film)
|The Fast and the Furious|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rob Cohen|
|Produced by||Neal H. Moritz|
|Screenplay by||Gary Scott Thompson
|Based on||Racer X by Ken Li|
|Editing by||Peter Honess|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||106 minutes|
The 2001 film became the original of a franchise series when it was followed by 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) (chronologically the last), Fast & Furious (2009), Fast Five (2011) and Fast & Furious 6 (2013).
Elite street racer and ex-convict Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew: Jessie (Chad Lindberg), Leon (Johnny Strong), Vincent (Matt Schulze), and Dominic's girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), use modified 1992-95' Honda Civics to perpetrate a string of high-speed, semi-truck hijackings, stealing over $6 million in merchandise. LAPD officer Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) is sent undercover on a joint LAPD-FBI investigation to apprehend the gang. Brian uses his cover job at The Racer's Edge, an aftermarket parts shop, to make connections and infiltrate the local street racing scene. He enters his modified 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse RS into an illegal race with Dominic and two other drivers by bartering the pink slips, but loses and damages his vehicle in the process. Brian gains Dominic's respect and arrives in time to prevent Dominic from being caught by police responding to the race. As they flee, Dominic and Brian accidentally venture into southern California's "Little Saigon", encountering Dominic's rival, Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) and his gang, who open fire with submachine guns; rupturing the nitrous oxide tank and destroying the Eclipse in the resulting explosion.
The next day, Brian delivers a totaled 1995 Toyota Supra to Dominic's shop and offers his talents as a driver to repay the debt incurred from losing the race. Brian begins dating Dominic's sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Jessie goes to work restoring the Supra. The investigation eventually leads Brian to suspect Tran and his gang of performing the hijackings and he reports the findings to his superior, Sergeant Tanner (Ted Levine) and FBI Special Agent Bilkins (Thom Barry). However, the subsequent raid of Tran's garage prove him to be innocent and Bilkins and Tanner return to their original theory that Dominic and his crew are the perpetrators. Tanner warns Brian not to let his feelings for Mia or his friendship with Dominic cloud his judgment, and Bilkin's gives Brian thirty-six hours to break the case.
With the Supra now fully prepped to race, Brian presses Dominic for information regarding his income, citing the shop alone wouldn't pay for all his racing expenditures. Dominic gives Brian an invitation to "Race Wars", a massive street racing event held in the desert, and informs him they'll talk once Brian has proven his worth on the strip. Jesse races and loses his imprisoned father's modified 1995 Volkswagen Jetta to Tran's modified 2000 Honda S2000. Jesse panics and hastily flees the track, prompting Tran to confront Dominic and demand that he retrieve the car for him. Dominic refuses and is provoked into a fight in which he brutally beats Tran. Early the next morning, Dominic and his crew leave Race Wars to commit another hijacking.
Brian confesses to Mia his status as an undercover cop and convinces her to come with him to save her brother and his friends from the armed truck drivers. He tracks Dominic's location by triangulating his cell phone signal and they arrive at the hijacking in-progress to find Vince critically wounded, having been shot by the truck driver. Brian and Mia work together with Dominic, Leon and Letty to rescue Vince. Brian then makes the difficult decision to blow his cover to the crew by phoning in for a medivac. The revelation enrages Dominic, but he contains himself and flees with Leon, Letty and Mia as the medivac arrives for Vince.
Brian follows Dominic to his house and holds him at gunpoint to prevent him from fleeing. Jesse arrives shortly afterwards, apologizing for his actions at Race Wars and pleading for Dominic's help with Tran. Moments later, Tran and his cousin Lance (Reggie Lee) perform a drive-by shooting and murder Jesse. Brian and Dominic chase them, with Dominic driving his late father's modified 1970 Dodge Charger. Dominic forces Lance's motorcycle off the road, severely injuring him, while Brian shoots and kills Tran. Afterwards, Brian and Dominic engage in an impromptu street race, narrowly avoiding a passing train. Dominic is then badly injured when he t-bones a semi-truck; rendering the Charger unable to drive. Instead of arresting him, Brian hands over the keys to the Supra and lets Dominic escape, making good on his promise to deliver a "ten second car." Some time later, Dominic is seen driving through Baja, Mexico in a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS.
- Paul Walker as Brian Spilner/O'Conner, an LAPD officer who is sent undercover by the FBI to locate and apperhend the crew of truck hijackers. He works part-time at chop shop The Racer's Edge to connect with the street racing scene and find out more about crews, and connects with Dom. He first drives a Mitsubishi Eclipse 2G RS 420A, and later on, a 1995 Toyota Supra Mk IV.
- Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto, a professional street racer and leader of the hijackers. He lives alone with his sister Mia, and his father was an professional stock car racer, who was killed on a race by a fellow racer, when his car crashed in the wall and burned. He beat up the racer, and for that he was banished from the track for life. After that, he became a street racer and started hijacking with his crew, and he serves as a driver. He drives a red 1993 Mazda RX-7, and has a custom-built 1970 Dodge Charger in his garage.
- Michelle Rodriguez as Leticia "Letty" Ortiz, Dom's girlfriend and a part of the crew. Living on the streets, Dom was her love interest, and she became his when she turned 16. She is street-smart and a skilled mechanic and driver, using her skills as one of the drivers in hijackings. She drives a dark-faded red 1995 Nissan 240SX S14.
- Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto, Dom's sister. Although she is well aware of Dom's hijackings, she is not the part of the crew. She is also Brian's love interest, but unaware that he is a cop. She runs a little grocery store where the crew usually meets, and Vince also has a crush on her, establishing his rivalry with Brian. She is sad that her brother is a criminal, and wishes that he could become better. She is also a very skilled driver and drives an aqua-blue 1997 Acura Integra GSR 4DR.
- Rick Yune as Johnny Tran, Dominic's main rival and leader of the Little Saigon crew. He is initially the prime suspect in the case by Brian as a hijacker, but it is found out that he was wrong. He usually drives bikes with his cousin Lance, but he also has a custom black 2000 Honda S2000. He comes from a very wealthy family and he has minor offences (parking tickets, speeding etc.). He also kills Jesse at the very end, and he is shot by Brian.
- Chad Lindberg as Jesse, Dominic's friend and part of the crew. He grew on the streets and he was brought in the crew by Leon. His father is a car hijacker and old friend of Dom's who is serving time in jail, and he races in his father's white 1995 Volkswagen Jetta A3. He serves as a computer genius, as he is brilliant in math and algebra, but he is suffering from ADD, which resulted with him dropping out of high school. Although a computer expert, he also participates in the hijackings as a driver. He was killed by Johnny Tran when he escaped after losing a pink slip race to him.
- Johnny Strong as Leon, Dominic's friend and part of the crew. He grew up with Vince and he is then part of the crew. He also brought Jesse along. In the hijackings, he serves as an attacker and he usually pulls out the windshields of the trucks to get a safe passage for Vince. He drives a yellow 1998 Nissan R33 Skyline GTR. After the hijack, it is unknown what happened to him, but it's suggested that he left L.A. In the heist, he serves as a backup, destroying truck's windshields.
- Matt Schulze as Vince, Dominic's childhood friend and part of the crew. He grew up with Dom and Leon and they knew each other since they were kids. He has a crush on his sister Mia and dislikes Brian, as he suspects that he is a cop. His theories are proven right later on. He drives a blue 1999 Nissan Maxima. On the last failed hijack, he was shot by a truck driver and Brian blew his cover to save his life. It is implied that he escaped from the hospital and fled to South America, settling in Rio. In the hijackings, he serves as an enforcer, attaching himself to the truck and immobilizing the drivers.
- Ted Levine as Tanner, LAPD sergant and Brian's supervisor. He is also his mentor, who is calm and he organized the investigation with the FBI, placing Brian undercover.
- Ja Rule as Edwin, a fellow driver at the drag race.
- Vyto Ruginis as Harry, owner of the "Racer's Edge" chop shop. He is the informant for the LAPD, being under supervision of Brian to avoid the penalty of 5 years in prison for selling stolen car parts.
- Thom Barry as Bilkins, FBI agent who organized the joint operation with Tanner.
- Stanton Rutledge as Muse
- Noel Guglielmi as Hector, the organizer of the race in which Dom and Brian participated. He works with Tran.
- RJ De Vera as Danny Yamato
- Beau Holden as Ted Gassner
- Reggie Lee as Lance Nguyen, Johnny Tran's cousin, who was knocked down by Dominic. It is implied that he was later arrested and sentenced.
- David Douglas as Rasta Racer
- Peter Navy Tuiasosopo as Samoan Guard
- Neal H. Moritz as Ferrari Driver
- F. Valentino Morales as Dispatcher
Director Rob Cohen makes a cameo appearance on the first race scene as a pizza delivery man.
Production notes 
The title rights (but not the story rights) of the 1955 film The Fast and the Furious were purchased so that the title could be used on this project, another film about racing.
According to an interview found on the original DVD release, Cohen was inspired to make this film after reading a Vibe magazine article about street racing in New York City and watching an actual illegal street race at night in Los Angeles.
The film was shot in various locations within Los Angeles and parts of Southern California. Key locations included Dodger Stadium (on the opening scene where Brian tests his Eclipse on the parking lot), Angelino Heights, Silver Lake and Echo Park (the neighborhoods around Toretto's home), as well as Little Saigon (where Tran destroys the Eclipse) and the San Bernardino International Airport (the venue for Race Wars, which attracted over 1,500 import car owners and enthusiasts). The entire last rig heist scene was filmed along Domenigoni Parkway on the South side of San Jacinto/Hemet in the San Jacinto Valley in California near Diamond Valley Lake.
Prior to filming, both Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez did not have driver's licenses, so they took driving lessons during production.
In one scene at Toretto's home, the gang is seen watching Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, another film directed by Cohen.
For the climactic race scene between Brian and Toretto, separate shots of both cars crossing the railroad and the train crossing the street were filmed, then composited together to give the illusion of the train narrowly missing the cars. A long steel rod was used as a ramp for Toretto's car to crash through the semi-truck and fly in mid-air.
The film's score was composed by music producer BT, mixing Electronica with Hip-hop and Industrial influences. Two soundtracks were released for the movie. The first one features mostly hip-hop and rap music. The second one, titled More Fast and Furious: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture The Fast and the Furious, features alternative metal, Post-grunge and Nu metal songs, as well as select tracks from BT's score.
The Fast and the Furious was released on DVD on January 2, 2002. A second print known as the "Tricked Out Edition", released on June 3, 2003, featured Turbo-Charged Prelude, a short film that set the tone to the film's sequel. An abridged version of the short film is also on the DVD of that sequel.
The film was released on HD DVD along with 2 Fast 2 Furious on September 26, 2006, along with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift on DVD, and on Blu-ray disc on July 28, 2009 along with Fast & Furious on DVD and Blu-ray.
The Fast and the Furious was met with mixed reviews, with a score of 52% based on 145 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Todd McCarthy of Variety called the film "a gritty and gratifying cheap thrill, Rob Cohen's high-octane hot-car meller is a true rarity these days, a really good exploitationer, the sort of thing that would rule at drive-ins if they still existed." Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "an action picture that's surprising in the complexity of its key characters and portents of tragedy." Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today gave the film 21⁄2 out of 4 stars, saying that Cohen "at least knows how to keep matters moving and the action sequences exciting." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C, saying it "works hard to be exciting, but the movie scarcely lives up to its title." Rita Kempley of The Washington Post gave the film a scathing review, calling it "Rebel Without a Cause without a cause. The Young and the Restless with gas fumes. The Quick and the Dead with skid marks." Paul Clinton of CNN wrote that Cohen "created a high-octane, rubber-burning extravaganza" but he criticized the film for "plot holes you could drive the proverbial truck through" and an idiotic ending.
Video game 
Toys and model kits 
Racing Champions released diecast metal replicas of the film's cars in different scales from 1/18 to 1/64. RadioShack sold ZipZaps micro RC versions of the cars in 2002. 1/24 scale plastic model kits of the hero cars were manufactured by AMT Ertl.
The film has spawned five sequels: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Fast & Furious (2009), and Fast Five (2011) with the sixth installment to be released in May 2013. Paul Walker returned for 2 Fast 2 Furious, teaming up with Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris. Diesel was never approached to reprise his role in this film. Lucas Black starred in Tokyo Drift, his only appearance in the series. Diesel had a small cameo at the end of the film, and Walker never appeared. Fast & Furious was the first true spiritual sequel to the original - Diesel, Walker, Rodriguez and Brewster all returned to reprise their roles. Fast Five also featured Diesel, Walker and Brewster, as well as Gibson and Ludacris, who both reprised their 2 Fast 2 Furious roles in the film, along with the new addition of Dwayne Johnson. Eva Mendes and Matt Schulze also returned to the franchise, reprising their roles from 2 Fast 2 Furious and the original film, respectively. Rodriguez also made a cameo in a post-credits scene in Fast Five. Diesel, Walker, Brewster, Gibson, Ludacris and Rodriguez are all confirmed to return for the 6th film.
See also 
- "The Fast and the Furious (2001)".
- "The Fast and the Furious". British Film Institute. London. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- Elvis Mitchell (2001-06-22). "Getaway Drivers, Take Note: This One's Made for You". The New York Times.
- Cinema.com - The Fast and the Furious Production Notes
- "The Fast and the Furious". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster.
- McCarthy, Todd (June 21, 2001). "The Fast and the Furious". Variety.
- Los Angeles Times - The Fast and the Furious Review
- USA Today - Car Hoods Rev Up in The Fast and the Furious
- Entertainment Weekly - The Fast and the Furious
- The Washington Post - Fast Leaving Logic in the Dust
- CNN - Review: The Fast and the Furious Runs on Empty
- The Fast and The Furious arcade video game official website
- Racing Champions Ertl Company Press Release
- Micro RC Cars - RadioShack ZipZaps
- AMT Ertl - The Fast and the Furious
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- The Fast and the Furious at the Internet Movie Database
- The Fast and the Furious (2001 film) at Rotten Tomatoes