The Fast and the Furious (2001 film)
|The Fast and the Furious|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rob Cohen|
|Produced by||Neal H. Moritz|
|Edited by||Peter Honess|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$207.3 million|
The Fast and the Furious is a 2001 American street racing action film directed by Rob Cohen and starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster. This is the first installment in The Fast and the Furious franchise and was distributed by Universal Pictures. The film follows undercover cop Brian O'Conner (Walker) who must stop semi-truck hijackers led by Dominic Toretto (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, though both Diesel and Walker were praised in their roles and became household names both in the U.S. and internationally. 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), Fast & Furious (2009), Fast Five (2011), Fast & Furious 6 (2013) and Furious 7 (2015).
On docks outside Los Angeles, a semi-truck is loaded with electronics, but a corrupted dock worker informs an unknown person about the truck shipment. During the night, while the truck drives on the interstate, it is approached by three heavily modified black Honda Civics with green underglow. The occupants of the Civics immobilize the truck driver, hijack the truck and escape, passing through a roadblock and stealing thousands of dollars worth of shipment.
The next day, undercover LAPD officer, Brian O'Conner, is assigned to find the gang responsible for those crimes. Brian uses his cover job at a mechanics shop to infiltrate the local street racing scene. While visiting Toretto's Market, a local drugstore, he flirts with the shop's patron, Mia Toretto, the sister of a well-known street racer, Dominic Toretto, who is sitting in the back. While eating, Dom's crew, consisting of Letty, his girlfriend, and the rest of his crew, consisting of Leon, Vince and Jesse, arrive. Vince, who has a crush on Mia, starts a fight with Brian. Dominic scolds Vince, but sends Brian away.
One night, during a local racing gathering, Brian arrives with his 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX, and Dominic arrives in his 1993 Mazda RX-7. Dominic organizes a drag race with a local betting schemer called Hector, and two other drivers. Brian, out of money, wagers pink slips for his car. During the race, Brian gains an advantage by using a nitrous boost, but loses it when Dominic uses his nitrous to catch up to Brian. Brian races too fast and overheats his engine, handing the victory to Dominic. Afterwards, Dominic mocks Brian in front of the crowd.
However, as Brian prepares to give the keys, LAPD arrives, forcing everyone to flee. Dominic drives into a local garage and parks there, intending to walk home, but he is spotted by a police cruiser. However, Brian arrives and saves him from the cops, earning Dominic's respect. However, they venture into Little Saigon, the territory of Dominic's old racing rival, Johnny Tran and his cousin, Lance Nguyen, who later blow up Brian's car. Afterwards, Dominic informs Brian that he owes him a "ten second car" (a car that can drive a quarter mile in under 10 seconds, from a standstill).
Brian brings a totaled Toyota Supra 2JZ to Dominic's safehouse, where he offers his skills as a driver and a mechanic to fix the car. As the crew settles to repair the car, Brian starts dating Mia, much to Vince's dismay. Brian investigates Hector and Tran, convinced that Tran is responsible for the truck hijackings. After investigating a suspicious purchase from Hector at the parts shop, Brian is cornered by Vince and Dominic, who demand an explanation. Brian lies about checking the cars of his rivals for the upcoming Race Wars, a street racing event in the desert. Convinced, Brian, Vince and Dominic check Tran's garage, and Brian notices a shipment of electronics in the garage. Afterwards, they leave.
Brian reports the shipment of electronics to his superiors at the LAPD and FBI, and they arrest Tran and Lance. However, they are released on bail and the raid proves to be a bust, since the only charges are illegal owning of small weaponry and all the electronics are bought legally, and they will be released on no charges. Clearing Tran's name, Brian is forced to assume again that Dominic is the actual perpetrator of the truck heists, while having doubts. His FBI superior, Bilkins, gives him only 36 hours to find the perpetrator or he will be fired.
Meanwhile, with the Supra done, Dominic invites Brian to Race Wars, and says that they'll talk once Brian has proven his worth. At the race, Jesse loses his father's Volkswagen Jetta to Tran, fleeing after the loss. Tran confronts Dominic, demanding that he must retrieve the car for him, but Dominic mocks him, causing Tran to shout that Dominic ratted him to the police (and unknown to him, it was Brian). In response, Dominic beats him up. Later that night, Brian notices the crew leaving, and realizes that Dominic is the perpetrator. He reveals his true colors to Mia, who is furious with him, but at Brian's pleas, reveals the location of the Civics and aids him in his plans.
Meanwhile, Dominic, Letty, Vince and Leon are driving to their latest target, also their last heist. However, they are forced to act without Jesse as a spare driver. Vince blows the truck's windshield and hooks to the seat, but when he jumps to the truck, the driver shoots at him with his shotgun and swerves with the truck, causing him to fly over and smash against the side door, also jamming his hand within the hook wires, and sustains another gunshot wound. Dominic and Letty try to save him, but Letty is knocked over and flips from the highway, later saved by Leon, and Dominic's car is totaled when the driver shoots through the hood. Brian arrives with Mia, who is commandeering the Supra, and Brian rescues Vince. When Dominic arrives, Brian is forced to blow his cover and calls for a medivac to rescue Vince. Dominic is furious, but manages to control himself, and leaves with Mia and the rest after Vince is saved.
Brian heads over to Dominic's house to arrest him, but Jesse arrives and pleads for Dominic's help to protect him from Tran. Moments later, Jesse is killed in a drive-by shooting by Tran and Lance, prompting Dominic and Brian to pursue them, which results in Dominic injuring Lance and Brian killing Tran. Brian and Dominic then engage in an impromptu street race, narrowly avoiding a train; Dominic is injured after his car clips a truck. Instead of arresting him, Brian gives him the keys to his own car, making good on his earlier wager to deliver a ten-second car and Dominic is able to escape the police.
In the post-credits scene, Dominic is seen driving through Baja, Mexico.
- 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.
- Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner, a Los Angeles Police Department detective who is sent undercover by the FBI 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. Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Eminem were considered for the role of Brian.
- 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 offenses (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. He is an old friend of Dom's who is serving time in jail, and he races in his' 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 1996 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. sergeant 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 Gugliemi 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 an RX-7 but loses.
- Peter Navy Tuiasosopo as Samoan Guard, a security 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 Pizza Hut Delivery Guy (film director) during the first race scene.
- Bob Brackman as head coach for a Pop Warner football team in SoCal.
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. Some critics have noted that it is essentially an unofficial remake of the film and that it swaps surfing for street racing. 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, 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 June 22, 2001 in North America and ranked #1 at the box office, earning $40,089,015 during its opening weekend. Its widest release was 2,889 theaters. During its run, the film has made a domestic total of $144,533,925 along with a foreign total of $62,750,000 bringing its worldwide total of $207,283,925 on a budget of $38 million, making it a financial success.
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." Vin Diesel's portrayal of Dominic Torretto won praise In particular with Reece Pendleton of the Chicago Reader writing "Diesel carries the movie with his unsettling mix of Zen-like tranquillity and barely controlled rage." 
Other reviews were more mixed. 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. In 2011, for the release of Fast Five, the five films were released in a series box set. In 2013 after the release of Fast & Furious 6, all six were released on DVD and Blu-ray 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-Box Office Mojo".
- "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
- "The Fast and the Furious" by Reece Pendleton – Chicago Reader
- 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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