I think it would be dishonest to not fully disclose that I've recently come off a high after watching all seven of the Fast And Furious movies. Not only were all seven watched, they were watched in chronological order. That would put the third film (Tokyo Drift) between the sixth and seventh instalments. I don't want to sound like too much of a fanboy when I speak about these movies, but it's really hard to not enjoy the living shit out of them. Watching these movies solidified in my mind how good I am at predicting the next line of dialogue. There's a certain comfort and predictability that I like in my films. I don't mind knowing where they're going and where they end up - I want to take the ride with them.
If I go all the way back to the first instalment of the film, I should find myself being overwhelmed by an exceptionally bland and lifeless film. The colours are plain, the scenery boring. Enter the cars. Goddamn, the cars. I'm not a huge fan of cars. A 1968 Camaro SS doesn't turn my head and make pelvic thrusting gestures, just like a orange or yellow Veilside RX-7 won't set me to froth. That being said, the cars in this first Fast And Furious (just like all the rest) are meant to bring life to the screen. Not unlike Kansas being shot in black and white and Oz being the brightest of technicolor, these films set out to show that this street racing life is so much more. One could possibly assert that the cars are a metaphor for going off the beaten path and finding wonder outside the norm, but that's preposterous because this is a fucking awful street racing movie. Granted, it's an amazing awful movie.
Somewhat predictably, the movie really speaks volumes about the time in which it was filmed. The soundtrack is quintessentially Y2K, the wardrobes and dialogue similarly representative. It's fine though. Really, one could postulate that the film is a timestamp on civilization and a testament to a new millennium. Again with the aggrandizing. So, what is this movie all about? I guess simply put it's good versus evil and the grey areas that exist. On one side, we have tuna sandwich eating Brian (Paul Walker) as a do-gooder undercover police officer trying to solve the string of crimes perpetrated by lowlife thugs driving tricked-out Honda Civics. Those thugs are portrayed by Vin Diesel (Dominic), Michelle Rodriguez (Letty), and Matt Schulze (Vince). It should be straight ahead, but the writers throw in the curve ball of Brian falling madly in Hollywood love with Mia, played by Jordan Brewster. Over-the-top antics ensue with a frankly psychotic group of Asian thugs being wrongfully charged, Brian finding it hard to turn on the team of Civic driver crooks, and the eventual escape of Dominic in Brian's (paid for by the police) street racing Toyota.
I think as a first entry into a series, it wasn't bad. Watching The Fast And The Furious knowing the timeline and the events that take place in the other six films makes it far better. I can unabashedly say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Initially I was hesitant to jump into the series, but after about ten minutes I was sold on the next 12-plus hours of my life going to the right place. Biggest highlight for me was the awesome and series-setting "driving a tricked out import under an 18-wheeler trailer" maneuver that gets pulled off within about three minutes of the movie starting. It happens a handful of other times throughout the series and it's super awesome each time. Also, Matt Schulze's Vince character massacring the guitar at a house party makes me laugh every time. Fun fact: Matt is a guitar player in real life, having moved to Los Angeles initially to become a session musician. Another fun fact: The guitar used is a Gibson Zakk Wylde Les Paul. I'd be doing the movie a disservice by not mentioning how psychotic the Asian gang behaves throughout the movie. They completely decimate a "10 second car" with bullets causing it to explode, they almost drown some honkey-ass white guy in motor oil (40 weight to be precise), and they legally purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stereo equipment! What kind of animals are these people?!
I don't know if I would call myself a super-fan, but I sure did like this movie. For a 15 year old film, I was only distracted by the use of Limp Bizkit and other awful Y2K music. Nothing else was too excessive so as to ruin my viewing. The train stunt is still pretty great and it takes the crew behind the film three movies to pull off a better scene involving a locomotive. I recommend The Fast And The Furious to anyone looking to shut off their thinking caps for a few hours and simply enjoy post Y2K culture at its finest.