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Fast & Furious (2009 film)

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Fast & Furious
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJustin Lin
Written byChris Morgan
Based onCharacters
by Gary Scott Thompson
Produced by
CinematographyAmir Mokri
Edited by
Music byBrian Tyler
Distributed byUniversal Pictures[1]
Release dates
  • March 12, 2009 (2009-03-12) (Gibson Amphitheatre)
  • April 3, 2009 (2009-04-03) (United States)
Running time
107 minutes[3]
  • United States
  • Japan[1]
Budget$85 million[4]
Box office$360.4 million[5]

Fast & Furious (also known as Fast & Furious 4)[6] is a 2009 action film directed by Justin Lin and written by Chris Morgan. It is the direct sequel to The Fast and the Furious (2001) and 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) as well as the fourth installment in the Fast & Furious franchise. It stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster. In the film, Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and FBI agent Brian O'Conner (Walker) are forced to work together to avenge the murder of Toretto's lover Letty Ortiz (Rodriguez) and apprehend drug lord Arturo Braga (John Ortiz).

A fourth film was announced in July 2007, with the returns of Diesel, Walker, Rodriguez, and Brewster confirmed shortly after that.[7] To account for the cast seeing absences from either of the previous two installments, the film was developed to place The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) as occurring beyond the events of Fast & Furious,[8] while the short film Los Bandoleros (2009) was produced and released. Principal photography began in February 2008 and concluded that July, with filming locations including Los Angeles and the Dominican Republic.[9] Lin, Morgan, and composer Brian Tyler returned in their roles from Tokyo Drift. Fast & Furious is the first film to feature D-BOX motion. It was also the first film in the franchise to be produced by Diesel.

Fast & Furious premiered at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles on March 12, 2009, and was released in the United States on April 3 by Universal Pictures. Upon release, the film received generally negative reviews from critics, who criticized its weak script, complex plot, and Rodriguez's limited screen time, but praised its reunion of the original cast, action sequences, and musical score. It grossed over $360 million worldwide, exceeding expectations to become the then-highest-grossing film in the franchise. It also grossed $72.5 million worldwide during its opening weekend, which made it the highest-grossing worldwide spring weekend opening until the release of Alice in Wonderland (2010). It was followed by Fast Five in 2011.


Dominic Toretto and his crew, consisting of girlfriend Letty, Tego Leo, Rico Santos, Cara, and Han Lue, are hijacking fuel tankers in the Dominican Republic. Dom suspects the police are on their trail, and leaves Letty behind to protect her from being caught. Months later, in Panama City, Dom gets a call from his sister Mia, who tells him Letty has been murdered. Dom heads to Los Angeles to attend her funeral and finds traces of nitromethane at the crash site. He coerces the local mechanic into giving the name of the buyer, David Park, and is informed that the only car that uses nitromethane in the area is a green 1972 Ford Torino Sport. Meanwhile, FBI agent Brian O'Conner is trying to track down Mexican drug lord, Arturo Braga, whose identity to the public is unknown; his search also leads him to Park.

Dom arrives at Park's apartment and hangs him out of the window by his ankles before Brian arrives. Brian saves Park, who in turn becomes the FBI's new informant and gets Brian into a street race. Brian selects a modified 2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 from the impound lot; Dom also shows up, in his 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS. Ramon Campos, Braga's second-in-command, and Gisele Yashar, Braga's liaison, reveal that the winner will become the last driver on a team that traffics heroin between the Mexico–United States border. Dom wins by bumping Brian's car while in nitro, making him lose control. Brian uses his power as an FBI agent to arrest another driver, Dwight Mueller, and takes his place on the team. The team meets up with Braga's henchman, Fenix, and Dom notices that Fenix drives the same Torino the mechanic described.

They drive across the border using tunnels to avoid detection. Dom confronts Fenix and learns that he kills the drivers after their work is done, and that he killed Letty when she tried to escape him. A stand-off ensues; Dominic detonates his car with nitrous to distract Braga's men, and Brian hijacks a 1999 Hummer H1 with $60 million worth of heroin in it. Brian and Dom drive back to LA and hide the heroin in a police impound lot, where they pick up a modified 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI hatchback; they drive to Dom's house and reunite with Mia. Dom attacks Brian when he learns he was the last person in contact with Letty; Brian explains Letty was working undercover, tracking Braga in exchange for clearing Dominic's record. Brian tells his superiors that in exchange for Dominic's pardon, he will lure Braga into a trap, forcing him to show up to exchange money for the heroin. At the drop site, the man who claims to be Braga is revealed as a decoy, and Campos—the real Braga—escapes with Fenix to Mexico. In the ensuing chaos, Fenix nearly runs over Gisele before Dom saves her. The failed trap results in Brian being taken off active duty.

With Gisele's help, Brian and Dom travel to Mexico to catch Braga in the Subaru and Dom's rebuilt 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, and apprehend him at a church. As Braga's henchmen try to rescue him, Brian and Dom drive through the tunnels back to the United States. Brian is chased by Fenix ahead of the others until he is T-boned and pushed out of the tunnels. Before Fenix can kill him, Dom drives out of the tunnels and into Fenix, killing him. As police and helicopters approach the crash site on the American side of the border, Brian tells Dom to leave, but Dom says he is tired of running. Despite Brian's request for clemency, the judge sentences Dom to 25 years to life without parole. Brian resigns from the FBI and Dom boards a prison bus that will transport him to Lompoc penitentiary. As the bus drives down the road, Brian, Mia, Leo, and Santos arrive in their cars to intercept it.


The central cast is rounded out by Sung Kang as Han Lue, Ron Yuan as David Park, Braga's right-hand man, while Puerto Rican singers Tego Calderón and Don Omar feature as Leo and Santos respectively, members of the oil heist team. Shea Whigham plays Brian's snarky colleague Michael Stasiak, and Liza Lapira portrays Sophie Trinh, an FBI agent who works closely with Brian. Jack Conley features as Richard Penning, Brian's boss, a scout of street racers for Braga. Greg Cipes, Neil Brown Jr., and Brandon T. Jackson play Dwight Mueller, Malik Herzon, and Alex, respectively, the other members of Braga's street racing team.



After positive reception from audiences to Vin Diesel's cameo in Tokyo Drift, Universal was confident in effectively reinventing the series with its original stars.[10] The film was announced in July 2007, with Diesel, Paul Walker, and several other cast members of the original film reprising their roles.


Filming began in 2008. The movie cars were built in Southern California's San Fernando Valley. Around 240 cars were built for the film.[9] However, the replica vehicles do not match the specifications they were supposed to represent. For example, the replica version of F-Bomb, a 1973 Chevrolet Camaro built by Tom Nelson of NRE and David Freiburger of Hot Rod magazine, included a 300 hp crate V8 engine with a 3-speed automatic transmission, whereas the actual car included a twin-turbo 1,500 hp engine and a 5-speed transmission.[11]

The original Dodge Charger 426 Hemi R/T that was used in the original movie was a 1970, but the car in this movie was a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T 426 Hemi with a slightly modified front grill and rear tail lights to appear as a 1970 car; the original 1970 Dodge Charger was in pieces, being totally disassembled for restoration.

The original red 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS seen in the end credits of the first Fast & Furious movie, also makes an appearance but is later highly modified for a street race.

The most radical vehicles built for the film were the Chevy trucks constructed for the fuel heist. Powered by 502ci GM big block motors, the '67 had a giant ladder-bar suspension with airbags using a massive 10-ton semi rear axle with the biggest and widest truck tires they could find. The '88 Chevy Crew Cab was built with twin full-floating GM 1-ton axles equipped with Detroit Lockers and a transfer case directing power to both axles and capable of four-wheel burnouts.[12]

Another vehicle built for the film was the blue Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 owned by an uncredited owner which brought a 241-mile per hour top speed at the Bayshore Route Highway in Japan. It was a hard car to build by the production so they made clones by acquiring Nissan Skyline 25GT's and made them look like the original car. The Skyline that was also used at the desert was actually a dune buggy using a Skyline R34's shell.


The score to Fast & Furious was composed by Brian Tyler, who recorded his score with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox.[13] The score album was released on CD by Varèse Sarabande Records with over 78 minutes' worth of music.

The trailers for the film feature the track "We Are Rockstars" by Does It Offend You, Yeah? and a Travis Barker-remixed version of "Crank That" by Soulja Boy Tell 'Em.

The official soundtrack was released on March 31, 2009, on Star Trak, with production handled primarily by The Neptunes. Singles include "Blanco" and "Krazy" by Pitbull and "Bad Girls" by Robin Thicke.[13] The soundtrack also features the song "G-Stro" by Busta Rhymes featuring Pharrell Williams, a leftover track from Busta Rhymes' album Back on My B.S. Star Trak and Interscope Records released the soundtrack for the film with "Crank That" not included. Another song omitted was "Rising Sun" by South Korean group TVXQ.

The Japanese version of the movie features the song "Before I Decay" by Japanese rock group The Gazette.



It was originally set to release on June 5, 2009,[14] but pushed back a week later on June 12, due to another Universal film Land of the Lost.[15] The date was rescheduled for two months earlier on April 3, 2009.[16] It was the first motion-enhanced theatrical film to feature D-BOX motion feedback technology in selected theaters.[17]

Home media[edit]

Fast & Furious was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 28, 2009.[18] The DVD is a two-disc set that includes:

  • Digital copy of the film
  • Under the Hood: Muscle Cars & Imports
  • High Octane Action: The Stunts
  • Shooting the Big Rig Heist
  • Driving School with Vin Diesel
  • Original short film Los Bandoleros, the never-before-seen short film that reveals the events leading up to the explosive beginning of Fast & Furious. It is written and directed by Vin Diesel and was produced in the Dominican Republic.[19] This was released on the iTunes Store as a free download.

As of June 2021, the DVD and Blu-ray sales have sold 4,616,164 copies generating $77,846,318 in sales revenue.[20] It was re-released in Australia on Blu-ray including a digital copy and re-titled Fast & Furious 4 on March 30, 2011.


Box office[edit]

On its first day of release Fast & Furious grossed $30.6 million, and peaked at the top spot of the weekend box office with $72.5 million, more than Tokyo Drift earned in its entire domestic run.[21][22] The film had the sixth-biggest opening weekend of 2009 and was double what most industry observers expected. Additionally, it surpassed The Lost World: Jurassic Park's record for having the largest opening weekend for any Universal film.[23]

It also held the record for the highest-grossing opening weekend in April[24] and of any car-oriented film, the record having been previously held by Cars, which grossed $60.1 million. Both of these records were broken two years later by Fast Five, which grossed $86.2 million.[25] Fast & Furious also held the record for the highest opening weekend for a spring release, until it was broken by Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Its worldwide gross on its opening weekend stands at $102.6 million[4] with $7.2 million coming from the UK, $8.6 million from Russia, $6 million in France and $3 million from Germany.[26]

The film ended its theatrical release on July 2, 2009, with a gross of $155.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $205.3 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $360.4 million,[5] making it the 17th highest-grossing film of 2009.[27]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, Fast & Furious holds an approval rating of 29% based on 178 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "While Fast and Furious features the requisite action and stunts, the filmmakers have failed to provide a competent story or compelling characters."[28] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 46 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[29] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[30]

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+ and wrote, "Fast & Furious is still no Point Break. But it's perfectly aware of its limited dramatic mission ... it offers an attractive getaway route from self-importance, snark, and chatty comedies about male bonding."[31] Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt called it "the first true sequel of the bunch. By reuniting the two male stars from the original and ... continuing the story from the first film, this new film should re-ignite the franchise."[32] Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times considered it a "strange piece of nostalgia, where, without apology, fast cars still rule and fuel is burned with abandon."[33] Roger Ebert, who had given positive reviews to the previous films, considered the story, dialogue, and acting to all be perfunctory: "I admire the craft involved, but the movie leaves me profoundly indifferent. After three earlier movies in the series, which have been transmuted into video games, why do we need a fourth one? Oh. I just answered my own question."[34]


Award Category Nominee Result
Teen Choice Awards[35] Choice Movie: Action Fast & Furious Nominated
Choice Movie Actor: Action Paul Walker Nominated
Choice Movie Actress: Action Jordana Brewster Won
MTV Movie Awards[36][37] Best Male Performance Vin Diesel Nominated


Fast & Furious was the last film of the franchise to feature street racing, before transitioning into "more accessible action elements" with Fast Five (2011). It received praise and surpassed the box-office take of Fast & Furious, as did Fast & Furious 6 (2013). They were followed by Furious 7 (2015) and The Fate of the Furious (2017).[38][39][40] The pictures each earned more than $1 billion, respectively becoming one of the highest-grossing films of 2015 and 2017.[41][42] After F9 (2021) being delayed multiple times from an original 2019 date,[43][44] Fast X (2023), and untitled eleventh and twelfth films are scheduled to be released as the final mainline films of the franchise.[45]


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External links[edit]