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Fast and Furious - A 2Sides Review

 
image credits: Ananda Prabhu Naveen Kumar

Side:

For the uninitiated, Fast and Furious would be a series of movies in which a bald guy recklessly drives around and throws some punches. In this article, I shall explain in some detail about what the franchise is and what it stands for.
Fast and Furious is an interesting franchise considering that it started out as a pure street racing themed franchise, that has evolved to suit its needs. It is survival of the fittest, after all.

For instance, the first four movies were car culture / illegal racing movies. The next three were heist movies and the franchise is now moving towards the spy thriller territory.

By the time the first movie was released, in 2001, Vin Diesel had already played a couple of important roles but it was his portrayal of Dominic Toretto that established him as an action star. The late Paul Walker was a nobody till he played Brian O' Conner. It would suffice to say that the cast was relatively unknown back then.

The racing movies had this huge disadvantage that only the minority of the audience, the petrol heads, could relate to the movies. The producers gave some much-required impetus by cleverly bringing in Dwayne Johnson and departing from the car-culture genre slightly to expand the target audience. The results were nothing short of astonishing.

Number crunching shows that the move did the franchise a world of good.
Averages often don't tell the whole story. But it is the central tendency that most of us can easily relate to.

The street racing movies brought in an average of $240 mn whereas the heist-themed movies raked in an eye-popping $978 mn on an average! That is a 390 percent increase in box office collections.

Speaking of popularity and critical acceptance, the racing movies have an average IMDb rating of  6.3 against the rest of them, which has a  mean of 7.1.
The popularity and box office collection surges apart, there is something that we need to take a look at. The bigger picture.

The 'family' forms the centrepiece of the movie. That is, family by bond rather than by blood. The family evolves as the franchise moves forward. The outstanding chemistry between the lead characters makes it almost a compelling watch.

Nick Cowen of The Telegraph opined that the franchise is like  The Dark Knight trilogy of racing movies when compared to other movies of the genre.
The series is renowned for the adrenaline pumping, physics-defying action. They ensure that they leave no stone unturned in producing that perfect car chase. They even got Ben Collins ( former  "The stig" of Top gear ) to perform some of the stunts. The cars they show in the movies are top notch. Bugatti Veyron, Lykan Hyper-sport and Koenigsegg lead the ensemble cast.

What makes the series so spectacular in that regard is that the cars play such pivotal roles that they become an extension of the respective character.
For instance, the burly Luke Hobbs drives an armoured military grade vehicle and lays to waste any obstacle that may have the misfortune of getting in his way. The tough and charismatic Toretto prefers American muscle whereas the affable  Brian is content with cars of Japanese make. Even when they ride the same cars, the distinctions are obvious. A Case in point is the drag race in Fast Five.

The grand scale of production is also one of the plusses. The franchise has portrayed the destruction of cars worth $512 mn on screen! In a scene in Fate of the Furious cars literally, pour down from the sky!

Needless to say, most of the movie sequences are heavily dependent on CGI. The technical finesse was apparent in the way Brian's scenes were shot in Furious 7 as Paul Walker died half-way through the shoot. You could never tell apart which scenes had Paul and which had CGI.

Flip-side

The coin has an opposite side, however. While we can appreciate the exotic locales and cars, the series could really use some ' logic'. The filmmakers apparently struggle with the concept of how time flows.  For example, a quarter- mile drag race in Fast and Furious lasts a little over 70 seconds! With the cars, they are riding and their supreme abilities, one would expect the race to be over in 10 seconds. Well, that is just one instant of "time stretch" among the many that are strewn across the eight movies.

As viewers, we are left desiring for a thicker plot and tighter screenplays. Even if you skip the first three movies, you will still be able to see and comprehend the rest.

The franchise and Chris Nolan rose to prominence during the same period of time. While Nolan could masterfully implement the intricacies of time, the series ( needlessly ) altered the timeline of the movies. This is to say that the timeline of the movies is not in the chronological order of release. For those unfamiliar with the movies, the chronology of timeline is as follows:
1,2,4,5,6,3,7,8.

The people behind the movies have a hard time coming up with good titles. For those of you who are confused about the titles, here you go. The films in chronological order of release are,

1. The fast and the Furious
2. 2 Fast 2 Furious
3. Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift
4. Fast and Furious
5. Fast Five
6. Fast and Furious 6
7. Furious 7
8. Fate of the Furious


Six movies have been named as different combinations of two words! Definitely not the most creative titles we have come across.

Besides the eight, there are two short films which technically belong to the franchise. Skipping them would make no difference at all to the viewing experience.

The eighth movie marks the beginning of ' the final trilogy' after which the series would come to an end. Spinoff movies are also expected based on the characters of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham ( Deckard Shaw).



If you love cars and enjoy some really good action, make sure you watch all of them. Otherwise, skipping the first three movies can do no harm.


~Pranav P.S

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