The Fast and the Furious Review
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With the long-awaited seventh film in the Fast and Furious franchise poised and ready to take box offices by storm, it seems that I was long overdue to sit down and watch the movie that started it all: 2001’s The Fast and the Furious. And now that I have, the billions of dollars and loyal fan base make so much more sense.

The franchise opener stars Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner, a police officer who’s working undercover with both the FBI and the LAPD to investigate a series of hijackings committed by a team of street racers. Thanks to his perseverance, guts, and boyish good looks, Brian soon finds himself welcomed into the fold by street racing godfather Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel). As he continues the investigation, Brian finds himself growing closer to Dom and his team—especially Dom’s sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster). But as his bosses to put more pressure on him to solve the case, his loyalties are tested.

It’s not hard to see why The Fast and the Furious kicked off an extremely successful (and remarkably lucrative) franchise—because it started everything off with a solid (albeit sometimes silly) foundation. While it certainly has its flaws—its cheesy dialogue and overacting—it also has a cool cast, tons of hot cars, and a story that’s more than just an afterthought.

The Fast and the Furious is, to put it plainly, a cool movie. It’s tough and edgy and testosterone-fueled. The cars are fast, the music is loud, the girls are all gorgeous, and the guys are exactly the kind of guys that you’d want to have on your side. They’re troublemaking tough-guy misfits, yet they’re extremely loyal—and each one has his own affecting back-story to add a little bit of depth to his personality.

Of course, when these guys (and some of the girls, too) get behind the wheel, little else matters. The races may be over in a quarter mile, but that doesn’t make them any less tense—and when races turn into high-speed chases, they’re guaranteed to get anyone’s adrenaline pumping. Yet, despite the high speeds and high risk of the stylized action sequences, they’re typically seasoned with touches of humor—to keep the film from taking itself too seriously.

Still, there’s more to this racing classic than just the cars. While many action movies tend to see the plot as secondary (or maybe even tertiary), The Fast and the Furious offers a basic but memorable story about good and bad, friendship and loyalty. And the characters and their conflicts manage to turn a fun, fast-paced thriller into something that has brought fans back over and over again for fourteen years.

While many other films have tried to capture the energy (and the box office dollars) of the Fast and Furious franchise, there’s just something about the spirit of the films and the chemistry of the characters that makes it an impossible task. So whether you’re eagerly awaiting the release of Furious 7 or you’ve managed to avoid the franchise all these years, now’s the time to watch (or rewatch) The Fast and the Furious. It’s a fun-filled introduction to the cast of characters who have become action movie icons.

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