The Fast and Furious franchise has been around for 14 years now and in terms of public opinion it has enjoyed different levels of success during these years, some movies did really good, others not so much. I, personally, only had watched two and half of all the seven movies but this changed in the last two weeks or so and now I can say that I have watched all the movies of the franchise.
On April 3, Universal Pictures officially released Furious 7, the latest installment of the franchise and the movie broke all kinds of records worldwide, for example: it was the highest opening for a movie of all time in China. it also holds the record for the most successful opening weekend of all time in 29 regions around the world and if it wasn’t enough it reached the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office after only 17 days! Some might say that such records were only broke due to the passing of the star of six out of seven movies, Paul Walker, who died in a car crash in November of 2013, and that this tragedy raised the profile of the latest movie but I don’t think it is fair to say that. The last three movies of the franchise were increasingly performing very well at the box office and for me the success of Furious 7 is just the result of a very well orchestrated franchise reboot that started at the fourth movie. Because of all this buzz about the seventh movie, I decided to give the franchise another chance and after I watched all the seven flicks I’ve tried to break down them for you. Enjoy!
The Fast and the Furious (2001)
I watched this one from start to end when it came out. It was actually a big deal back then, everyone was talking about it but, re-watching it now, it seems really dated though, the clothes, the slangs and the soundtrack are very 2001, very “Limp Bizkit”. On the other hand, the action is really great and the special effects are also pretty good for a 14-year-old movie. It definitely gets the adrenaline going. So, mission accomplished!
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Well, so that is the one I've only watched half, probably not even that. I remember reading about it on the internet when it came out and, boy, people were not happy. I probably watched it on some cable channel late at night, not paying attention at all because I only recognized some parts of it this time around. The movie is bad, really bad. Believe it or not I missed Vin Diesel and his white trash gang, the movie’s villain is super boring, the "hot chick" is also boring and has zero chemistry with Paul Walker’s character. Paul's new sidekick, Tyrese Gibson, didn’t work as well as it was supposed to, but the rapper Ludacris was actually a good comedy relief. The story is dull and unoriginal. I felt like I wasted two hours of my life.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
What have I just watched? This is dreadful! Nothing makes sense on this flick. There is no one from the two previous movies, its a completely new cast and the storyline - "A teenager becomes a competitor in the world of drift racing after moving with his father in Tokyo to avoid a jail sentence in America" it’s stupid as it sounds. And why the Yakuza is doing business with Japanese high schoolers? Seriously, this is terrible! Apparently they tried to reboot the franchise with younger actors but that is a big, fat fail!
Fast & Furious (2009)
Whoa! That, my friends, is how you reboot a franchise. I will be even bolder and say: If you never watched any Fast And Furious movies you can even start with this one. Vin Diesel is back and he has a new gang and wait, is that the same Japanese dude from the third movie? Oh yes, it is and he is playing the same character (Han). So apparently the fourth movie happens before the third one, interesting. The story is the same old, same old. Paul Walker’s character is working for the FBI in LA now and has been searching for a drug lord named Braga and Vin Diesel comes back in town looking for some revenge, needles to say they team up once again. Whatever, what matters is that the racing scenes are lots of fun and the truck-jacking sequence featuring three of the best players in the franchise: Dom, Letty and Han, is Awesome!
Fast Five (2011)
So that is the other movie from the franchise I had previously watched. Fast Five assembles old favorites from the previous flicks together, Roman (Tyrese Gibson), alongside Tej Parker (Ludacris) from 2 Fast 2 Furious are back. So is the Japanese dude (Han) from the terrible The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift; and Gal Gadot from Fast & Furious as Gisele Yashar, the action scenes of this movie are insanely good, they spend lots of time running around the favelas in Rio de Janeiro and the final sequence with the safe is incredibly well done. Dwayne ’The Rock' Johnson was a great addition to the cast and the movie is hella fun!
Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Boooo the Fast & Furious “family” are the good guys on this one, not cool at all! It is much more fun when they are breaking all kinds of laws and running away from the police. Also I had a hard time to understand the reason why they got involved in this mission in the first place, but it ended up being a good movie. Shaw is the best villain of the franchise so far, he is a ruthless adversary for Dom and his crew. I don’t want to spoil the end of the movie so I will only say that something happens after the final credits (Marvel style) that not only gives the third movie of the series (the Tokyo one) a reason to exist but also teases the seventh one.
Furious 7 (2015)
So that’s it, I made it to the final (so far) movie of the series. And, wow, this is action packed and also ties in the story from the previous ones pretty well. Jason Statham is a bad-ass villain but the story again is the weakest link here. Basically they have to save a Hacker that invented some kind of “Big Brother” program from a Somalian terrorist dude and at the same time deal with Statham, who is seeking revenge for the death of his younger brother Shaw. Obviously, they made a very touching tribute to Paul Walker in the end of the movie. For me, they dealt very well with the whole situation. They honored Paul Walker with the love and respect that he deserved without being sappy.
Well, that was a hell of a fun experiment. Am I proud of that? Nah, mixed feelings. These movies are definitely not Oscar material, they are just popcorn flicks but hey, they are definitely fun to watch.