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 Fast and the Furious is a 2001 American action film directed by Rob Cohen and starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster.  The film is the first installment of The Fast and the Furious series. Distributed by Universal Pictures. The film follows an undercover cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) who must stop semi-truck hijackers led by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) from stealing expensive electronic equipment. The film's concept was inspired by a Vibe magazine article about street racing in New York City.
Filming locations include Los Angeles and parts of southern California. The Fast and the Furious was released on June 22, 2001 to financial success. The film's budget was an estimated $38 million, grossing $207,283,925 worldwide. Critical reaction was mostly mixed, according to review aggregators Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. The 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 franchise's seventh film), Fast & Furious (2009), Fast Five (2011) and Fast & Furious 6 (2013).
Outside Los Angeles, a semi-truck loaded with electronics is approached by three heavily modified Honda Civics. The occupants of the Civics immobilize the truck driver, steal the cargo and escape.
Undercover LAPD detective Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) is assigned to find the gang responsible for these crimes. Brian uses his cover job at an aftermarket parts shop to make connections and infiltrate the local street racing scene. While visiting a tobacco shop, he flirts with the shop's patron, Mia (Jordana Brewster), the sister of a street racer, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). Dom's team includes Jesse (Chad Lindberg), Leon (Johnny Strong), Vincent (Matt Schulze), and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). Vince gets in a fight with Brian over Mia, but Dom breaks it up.
Brian enters a race with his Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX against Dom with his Mazda RX-7 and wagers the pink slips for his car. During the race, Brian gains an advantage while using nitrous, but Dom uses nitrous too and beats him. After the race, Dom mocks Brian.
The LAPD arrives, forcing everyone to flee. Dominic leaves his car in a parking garage and leaves the scene on foot. He is spotted by the police and is nearly caught, but Brian arrives just in time to rescue him, gaining Dominic’s good graces and respect. They venture into the territory of Dominic's racing rival, Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) and his cousin Lance, who blow up Brian's car. Dominic informs Brian that he owes him a “ten second car”.
Brian brings a totalled 1994 Toyota Supra to Dominic's shop and offers his skills as a driver and mechanic. As the crew settles to repair the car, Brian starts dating Mia. Brian investigates Hector and Tran, convinced that Tran is behind the truck hijackings. After investigating a suspicious purchase from Hector at the parts shop, Brian discovers electronics, similar to the ones stolen, at a property owned by Tran. Brian informs his handlers, and the FBI organizes a raid on Tran. However, the electronics on his property were legally bought. It now seems that Dominic and his crew are the true culprits.
Dominic invites Brian to a street racing event, Race Wars and says that they will talk once Brian has proven his worth there. At the race, Jesse loses his father's Volkswagen Jetta to Tran, fleeing after the loss. Tran confronts Dominic and demands that he retrieve the car for him. It is then revealed that Dominic and his friends are responsible for the truck hijackings. To absolve Jesse’s debt, Dominic and his crew decide to commit another hijacking the next day.
When Mia divulges the crew’s plan to Brian, they rush to stop them as Brian is aware that the trucks will be heavily guarded. The driver of the truck injures Vince with a shotgun, but the team retrieves him. Brian blows his cover by phoning for an ambulance as a police officer. The revelation enrages Dominic, but he contains himself and flees with the rest of the crew as the medivac arrives.
Brian heads to Dominic's house to arrest him, but Jesse pleads for Dominic's help to protect him from Tran. Moments later, Jesse is shot in a drive-by shooting by Tran and Lance, prompting Brian and Dominic to chase him, which leads to Dom injuring Lance and Brian accidentally killing Tran. Brian and Dominic engage in an impromptu street race, narrowly avoiding a train. Dominic is badly injured when his car clips a truck. Instead of arresting him, Brian hands over the keys to his own car, making good on his earlier wager to deliver a "ten second car" and allowing Dominic to escape from the police.
Some time later, Dominic is seen driving through Baja, Mexico.
- Paul Walker as Brian Spilner/O'Conner, a Los Angeles Police Department detective who is sent undercover by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to locate and apprehend the crew of truck hijackers. He works part-time at chop shop The Racer's Edge owned by Harry, to connect with the street racing scene and find out more about crews, and connects with Dom after he prevents Dom from being arrested. He also saves Vince at the end by getting him off the truck and blowing his cover calling a medivac as a police officer. He first drives a green Mitsubishi Eclipse 2G RS 420A, a red Ford Lightning and later on, an orange 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.. His father was a professional stock car racer, who was killed on a race by a fellow racer named Kenny Linder. His car crashed in the wall and burned. He beat up Linder, and for that he was banished from the track for life and Linder is a janitor at a school who has to take the bus to work everyday. 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 and always into cars. 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 1998 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, an L.A.P.D. sergant and Brian's supervisor. He organized the investigation with the F.B.I., placing Brian undercover.
- Thom Barry as Bilkins, the F.B.I. agent who organized the joint operation with Tanner.
- Ja Rule as Edwin, a fellow driver at the drag race who drives a red 1997 Acura Integra.
- Vyto Ruginis as Harry, owner of The Racer's Edge chop shop. He is an informant for the L.A.P.D., being under Brian's supervision to avoid serving 5 years in prison for selling stolen car parts.
- Stanton Rutledge as Muse a L.A.P.D. officer who works with Brian, Bilkins, and Tanner.
- Noel Guglielmi as Hector, the organizer of the race in which Dom and Brian participated. He works for Tran.
- RJ De Vera as Danny Yamato a fellow driver at the drag race who drives a white Honda Civic.
- Beau Holden as Ted Gassner A car part owner who is tortured by Tran to give him engines for his cars.
- 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 Who races Letty at Race Wars with a RX-7 but loses.
- Peter Navy Tuiasosopo as Samoan Guard A guard at race wars. He and Vince break up Dom and Tran after they fight.
- Neal H. Moritz as Ferrari Driver (film producer) who races Brian.
- F. Valentino Morales as Dispatcher
- Rob Cohen as taxi driver (film director, cameo as a taxi driver) who drops off Dom and Brian to Dom's house.
Development and filming
Director Rob 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 plot is essentially the same as that of the 1991 film Point Break, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, and starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. The film 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.
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 southern side of San Jacinto/Hemet in the San Jacinto Valley 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. 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 film. 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 received generally mixed reviews from critics, earning a score of 53% based on 146 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as a metascore of 58 on Metacritic from 29 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews. 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.
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 sequel's DVD release.
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 Disc. Most recently, in 2011, for the release of Fast Five, all five films were released in a complete series box set. In 2013 after the release of Fast & Furious 6, all 6 were released on DVD and Blu-ray disk in a complete series box set.
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 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.
- Interview found on the original DVD release
- Cinema.com - The Fast and the Furious Production Notes
- "The Fast and the Furious". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster.
- "The Fast and the Furious Reviews-Metacritic".
- 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