The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

The seventh Fast & the Furious movie is upon us. This is an exciting time. Lest we forget how this cinematic opus got started, let's take a quick look at some of its defining moments.

Brian And Mia's First Date

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

Remember how things got started, back in the very beginning? Paul Walker plays an undercover cop who's working a case that has to do with truckers being robbed by some high-tech thieving street racers. He infiltrates known car driver and muscular person Dominic Toretto by showing up at the shop repeatedly, ordering tuna sandwiches, and staring intently at her:

Once he's finally in with Dom's crew, he takes her out to dinner and once again stares at her intently:

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

He might be roughly as expressive as the cars he drives, but Mia was still caught in the headlights by that steely gaze. Neither could we.

The First Family Dinner

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

OK, technically this comes before the date scene since it provides the lead-in to Brian and Mia's date (the two of them doing dishes as he continues to stare intently at her). But it was an easy episode to overlook, because we only realised how tear-jerkingly important it would be years later.

When Dom Tried, And Failed, To Save Vince

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

The final chase scene in the original movie established one of Fast and Furious's most memorable tropes: Vin Diesel leaning precariously out of a car he's driving insanely fast while somehow still managing to steer. More on this later.

When Dom And Brian Said Goodbye

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

When Brian tells Mia during their date that his goal in infiltrating Dom's gang was to get to her, he's staring so intently that you just know he really means it. But he clearly started to care about Dom a lot, too. Their half-brotherly, half-fatherly relationship comes to a head when Brian casts his undercover cop duties aside and lets Vin Diesel get away from the incoming fuzz. Fin.

Brian handing over his last pair of keys to Dom and the two parting ways was probably just something the original film's masterminds came up with to make the ending seem dramatic and vaguely ambiguous. But it actually ended up working really well. The two of them wouldn't see each other again for quite some time.

Suddenly, We're In Miami. And Here's Ludacris!

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

2 Fast 2 Furious is more tonally in line with the original movie than the franchise's most recent incarnation, but it's still one of the oddballs of the series. It ditched Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, but added two key players: Ludacris, a guy who owns a garage for fancy cars and organises street races, and Tyrese Gibson, Brian's current frenemy but once and future bro.

I mostly remember 2 Fast 2 Furious for the awesomely tacky clothing its villain wore:

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

...and the final scene in which Brian defeated said tacky suit-wearing villain by driving a car off a crazy jump and landing it on the guy's boat:

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

Brian And Roman's Rekindled Bromance

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

One other thing about 2 Fast 2 Furious I only began to appreciate after rewatching it recently: Paul Walker says "bro" a lot in this movie. Take that as a sign that Fast and Furious was going through some adolescent growing pains, I guess.

When Tokyo Drift...Happened

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

Ah, the black sheep of the Fast and Furious series. Tokyo Drift has almost nothing to do with the rest of the movies, and only features one of the characters the series is known for — for like two seconds in the final scene. It's fun to rewatch today, though, because casting the majority of Fast and Furious lore aside meant it could have fun by playing up the playful, often adorable rivalries that drive much of the tension in each movie's plot. I mean, this one is literally a high school drama. Look at how the hero squares off against the jerky captain of the football team in its first scene:

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

What was his name again? Eh, don't worry about it.

Getting The Gang Back Together

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

I'm not gonna lie, 2009's Fast & Furious is one of my least favourite movies in the series. Maybe my least favourite. Looking back at it now, it seems like its main value is that it a) reunited the main four cast members for a Fast & Furious movie for the first time in a 8 years, and b) let us all know it was indeed OK to call it Fast & Furious instead of The Fast And The Furious.

When The Rock — And A Different Ludacris — Showed Up

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

Fast Five is where things really got going again. The original four weren't the only ones who showed up for the party. Ludacris and Tyrese came back, too. Also, perhaps most importantly of all, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stepped boldly into the series. Just look at that strut:

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

Johnson established his now integral role in the Fast and Furious canon Luke Hobbs, the cop in its ongoing cops-and-robbers shenanigans who has a comical, half-antagonistic, half-friendly relationship with The Family. Only, since this is Fast and Furious, he's not as much a cop as a towering ogre made up of muscle and military hardware.

The Rock's debut highlights a funny aspect of Fast Five, Fast And Furious 6, and now Furious 7: how the series switched gears and started adding more and more standard blockbuster action movie motifs. The camera is given far less time to pan around parties and zoom in on butts, and focuses more and more on big explosions and tank-sized vehicles. Brian, Dom, and co. aren't just criminals anymore. They're international super thieves. The best crew in the world — i.e., one only The Rock can hope to stop.

Fast & Furious doesn't bother trying to explain the way its characters and storylines keep changing. "How did Ludacris go from owning a garage in Miami to being the dude who sits behind a screen and talks to Vin Diesel and Paul Walker on the radio during chase scenes?" you might find yourself asking. Don't think about it to hard, the movie responds. Just come along for the ride.

When Dom Proved His Love For Letty By Jumping Out Of A Car And Over A Bridge

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

Probably the craziest single chase scene in Fast & Furious history, except for maybe the one that concludes Fast & Furious 6 in which a car bursts out of the front of a plane. It's hard to call anything involving a tank and half a dozen cars chasing each other across a bridge "subtle." But remember that first final chase scene, from so many years ago?

Think about Dom's motivation in this scene: he remembers how he failed Vince, and how that failure must have played its part in encouraging Vince's departure from The Family and his ultimate betrayal in Fast Five. He won't let that happen to Letty, the only woman he's ever truly loved. And that's why he leaps out of a speeding car just as it crashes, so he can rocket himself over a bridge:

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

...catch Letti while they're both flying through the air:

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

...and then crash into another car on the opposite of the bridge:

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

That's "I love you" in Fast & Furious-speak.

The Second Family Dinner

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

Well over a decade after Vin Diesel first slapped someone on the wrist and told them to say grace as punishment, the team finally makes it all the way back home. Who else teared up during this scene? I started bawling, personally.

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

Fast & Furious (The Fast and the Furious? Fast and the Furious? I have no idea...) has been so successful for so long (14 years!) that it's had to perform a number of clever, strategic pivots already. Say, when a star character drops out for a time, or The Rock decides to come in. Looking at the all-star cast and grand spectacle of Furious 7, it's easy to forget where it all started. Or how old this series is. I mean, the token tech guy in the first one used floppy disks:

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

Floppy disks! This is what constituted "high-tech" for the original movie:

The 11 Moments That Defined Fast And The Furious

Man, that makes me feel old. Well, at least it's been a wild ride.

Given lead actor Paul Walker's tragic passing, the Fast & Furious series once again finds itself at a crossroads. Where, exactly, will it go next? Who knows. But regardless of which direction they head in, it's a safe bet that Dom and the rest of The Family will head there very, very fast.


Comments

    What granny shifting loser made this list? Where's Han and Gisele? Their love will stand the test of time.

    I love the unexplained skill-up of these characters throughout the movies. Ludacris is just a race promoter in 2F2F but come F5, he's like Q from Bond ("I had a life before you knew me.") Letty is just a street racer but come F6 she's a world class brawler. Brian is just undercover FBI who eats crappy tuna sandwiches but in these latter movies, he's practically Jason Bourne.

      Yeah it's kind if amazing that they didn't even attempt a little bit of explanation in those regards. You almost feel like you've missed a few scenes or a whole movie at times.

    I have only ever watched the first one - should I bother?

      Having just watched 1-6 in the last month (basically because the What Say You? Podcast was talking about them and I would rather watch them then listen to them talk about stuff I can't see lol) I can say whole heartedly yes you should. I am not into how cars tick at all, but there's enough to keep me interested... and as a cheesy action film fan these are awesome. 5 and 6 are pretty OTT and crazy as far as the action is concerned. Don't expect anything grounded in reality, and do expect plot holes.

    My highlight for the series is leaving the cinema after any fast and furious movie and everyone getting to their car in the car park and reving the engines and peeling out as fast as possible. The best was after Tokyo drift watching some spaz collect the guard rail trying to drift the circular ramp down from the multilevel carpark.

    im never going to understand the love that this franchise gets, i guess its because im not a car nut

    honestly it's been a long time since this series catered to "car nuts". It's been moving more towards over the top action peices and crazy fistfights over cars for a while now.

    It only dawned on me that the new movie is coming out, and that's why there's been this sudden influx of FF in social media.

    I've only ever seen Tokyo Drift and I thought that was pretty funny/silly.

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