Today, I am insane. Cracked-out and weird, bumping into walls, not sure which way is up. Why? Because yesterday (all of yesterday), I binge-watched all seven Fast and Furious movies back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back with nary a pause in between. My brain is scrambled. I am reeling.
Before yesterday I had never seen any of the Fast and Furious movies. But with the new film receiving some genuinely high praise and breaking basically every box-office record ever, I figured it was finally time. So I threw on some sweatpants and hit play on the original The Fast and the Furious. If I timed it just right, I’d be able to watch them all (with just three-minute piss-breaks) and make it to the 11:10pm showing at the theater nearby.
I entered into this a naif with eyes wide open, but by the end I was all carburetors and vroom. There are spoilers (and spoilers) ahead. You’ve been warned.
The Fast and The Furious (2001)
- Five minutes in and I think I may be watching car porn. This includes people spreading open the hood and drooling over what’s inside. Makes me feel kind of dirty. Oh, Michelle Rodriguez is in this! That can only be a good thing. Makes me feel dirty in a much better way.
- “God damn street racers!” says the pizza man, haughtily.
- The first street race legitimately raised my cortisol levels. Guys. That is not safe.
- Gang shoots the green car, it catches fire. Vin Diesel is like, “The NOS!” They run away as it explodes. I’m preeeeetty sure NOS tanks aren’t flammable. Research pending.
- Whaaat Paul Walker is five-o! Betrayal. Treachery!
- “He’s got nitrous oxide in his blood and a gas tank for a brain.” That is an actual line from this movie.
- Oil-boarding. Ted just got oil-boarded. It’s like waterboarding, but with motor oil. Man, that sucks.
- I like how they’ve made Neptune’s Net in Malibu the place where the world’s hottest women just hang around in bikinis. I’ve been to that place. I remember seeing a lot of fat guys in grease-stained shirts, not so many supermodel-types. Great fried seafood, though.
- Michelle Rodriguez punching a dude in the face is the best thing.
- There’s a botched truck hijacking which I find to be very confusing. Was he saying the driver is a fed? If so, where the hell are the other feds? And how did Paul Walker know shit was going to go wrong on this one? And why didn’t the cops show up with the med-evac chopper. This movie is stupid. I like this movie.
- Jessie’s dead. He was too good for this world. Good night, sweet prince.
- Tran’s dead. He was a dick though, so it’s pretty much okay.
Conclusion: It was dumb, but fun-dumb, and I kinda liked it. Lots of bad dialogue, and Paul Walker had frosted tips, which, no. Action was pretty good, though. I’ll give it three stars out of five to set a baseline for comparison.
Mental State: Doing just fine. I mean, it’s just watching one action movie on a Sunday morning. No big deal.
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
I don’t even hesitate. I know I’m only 1/7th of the way through this, so I buy the next movie and hit play before the first one’s credits are done rolling. Let’s do this.
- Ooh, okay we’re starting off with a hip-hop twist this time. With really bad, cheesy titles. Racial stereotypes of every color of the rainbow. Girls with a pink car, black dudes in jerseys with afro-combs, Latino dudes talking mad shit, and uh-oh here’s comes white-boy Brian (Paul Walker). And Eva Mendes is giving him the eye? I’m already worried about this movie.
- Asian street-racer Suki has an anime version of herself on a screen on her dashboard while she drives. I’m calling the Anti-Asian Defamation League.
- Jump the drawbridge. JUMP THE DRAWBRIDGE.
- Tyrese Gibson is in this? And how he’s punching Paul Walker in the face? This is the handsomest fight I’ve ever seen.
- We are off to a much worse start. Eva Mendes helps, though. Eva Mendes helps everything. It’s science.
- Oh dang, a dude just got caught under a truck and he is dead. We just saw a dude die. Nobody cares at all. These people have no respect for human life.
- This movie continues to be stereotype-y as hell.
- Our main badguy looks like the Cuban Jon Favreau. Except he’s definitely not Cuban. So it’s more like Jon Favreau with a spray-tan. Hollywood!
- I’m glad Ludacris is in this.
- I don’t buy Paul Walker calling Tyrese Gibson “Cuz,” and not getting punched in the face. That said, I like that it’s all two-man team racing. This movie is about friendship, people!
- Sure, let’s end the movie by jumping the car onto the boat. This has gone full-on Dukes of Hazard. Where’s the General Lee?
Conclusion: This was not a good movie. Two stars out of five.
Mental State: Starting to get a wee bit fuzzy now. I get a phone call and mostly answer with grunts. It’s now early afternoon and I haven’t really moved much or seen the light of day yet, but who has time for that? I’ve got five more movies to watch. Onward!
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
Thankfully, reinforcements arrive. My friends Max and Bethanie come bearing burritos and they will join me for the rest of the grueling day, bless them. I summarize what they’ve missed and we get down to it.
- For starters, this movie definitely has the best name of any of the movies in this franchise. So that’s good.
- Wait, are we in high school now? Who is this guy with the over-the-top southern dialect? Why is this 30 year old in high school? And why is he about to fight Tim Allen’s oldest kid from Home Improvement?
- “Winner gets me,” says the blonde.
- Kid Rock is playing over the first race. I’m not going to be able to take this movie sober.
- Okay, so our yokel guy races Tim Allen’s kid, everybody crashes, and now we’re going to Japan
- Two minutes into Japan and we’re already getting to some pretty borderline racist stuff here.
- Lil’ Bow Wow is in this? Okay cool, got it. And our yokel has already angered the Yakuza. This kid is A+ stupid.
- Lil’ Bow Wow just broke the forth wall. We have a fourth wall breach, people! A wink and an eyebrow waggle right at the camera. Truly terrible.
- There is some Maverick/Iceman level sexual tension between our yokel and the Yakuza kid. Also, dang our guy suuuucks at drifting. Badguy is really, really good at drifting. And the drifting was easily the best driving in any of these series so far. Next level.
- Also, whiteboy just broke a lot of peoples’ cars and everybody seems pretty okay with it.
- These gang member who hate him are sure being nice by only speaking English when he’s around. And sometimes when he’s not around.
- Our protagonist is pretty unlikeable. But the driving in in this movie is so fun. He and his lady are going on a drifting-date. I like how drifting is insanely loud during the racing, but when it’s on the date you can hear birds chirp in the background.
- Wow, we actually got the “We’re not so different, you and I,” speech. I’m having another beer.
- Whoa, our boy learned Japanese real fast. He also learned drifting real fast.
- The Yakuza badguy nephew crashes and everybody celebrates. These people are cold blooded. Is he okay? Is he dead? You don’t care.
Conclusion: Way better driving in this movie which made it a lot more fun, and slightly less racial terribleness in this one than the second one, so that’s good, but man some very dumb dialogue and a totally nonsensical plot. I’m going 2.5 stars.
Mental State: Thank god for friends, but after three movies back-to-back-to-back, I’m starting to feel it. My legs are getting stiff. My eyes are starting to crust over a bit. The beer has helped me care less about that, and the presence of friends has given me people to talk smack with, but we have many rivers to cross.
Fast & Furious (2009)
What happened to the two “the”s in the title? Also, why don’t they just put a 4 in there and make it all less confusing.
- Oh snap, Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez are back! This pleases me. And whoa, Han is back from the dead? Oh, this movie takes place before Tokyo Drift. Man, this some advanced filmmaking.
- Aww, Han was just in the fist scene and was like, “I’ll check out what’s happening in Tokyo.” Ha, yeah, I think we were on it already, but thanks. Vin is afraid badguys will come for him, so he leaves Michelle with a wad of cash on the nightstand and says goodbye forever. Dick.
- Okay, now we’re in LA and Paul Walker’s an FBI agent. Sure, let’s go with that.
- Annnnd now we’re in Panama City. Aww man, and Michelle Rodriguez is dead now? Terrible. This is terrible news. They’d better bring her back like Han later. Wait, was it her? I forget her character’s name. To be fair, I haven’t seen that first movie in hours.
- Oh dang, it was Michelle. Vin could envision how it all went down when he visited the crash site. He’s got the touch.
- Back in LA and Vin wants revenge, and also he and Paul aren’t friends anymore. Not sure why.
- The cars are so much more high-tech now. Insta-downloaded 3D routes with hot graphics and turn-by-turn directions.
- And now we’re in Mexico. We’re really doing a lot of traveling here. Vin and Paul are both kind of undercover, but for different reasons. One wants justice, the other, revenge. Or they both want revenge. And I guess they’re friends again now. Both working for the bad guy.
- And now they’ve betrayed the bad guy and stolen his drugs. Seems like maybe a bad idea?
- Plot wise this is definitely the most convoluted of the movies. At least I think so? It’s possible this is just mental fry.
- Vin and Paul are now going rogue. Pure cold-blooded revenge murder scenario. In Mexico. That’s drastic.
- The stunning Mexican lady just said, “Vaya con dios,” to Vin as he went off into battle. Check.
- They just did the “We’re not so different you and me,” thing again. If they do it a third time you win a car.
- Bad guy dead, Vin gets 25 to life, but it’s cool, Paul and friends are going to break him out. Good god.
Conclusion: Worst plot of any of them yet, but glad Vin and Paul are back. Still, 2.5 out of 5.
Mental State: Okay! We’re past the half-way mark, but I’m definitely starting to lose it a little. I find myself alternately giggling a lot and being totally zoned out. My friend asks me a question, I don’t even hear it. I am becoming a high-octane movie-watching machine. No time to waste.
Fast Five (2011)
Okay, we’re off to a great start here. For starters, they finally just went ahead and put a number in the title. But then the movie actually picks up from where the last left off, which is a first for this series. We actually get to see the prison bus jail break that was teased at the end of the fourth one, which is still ridiculous, but whatever, it’s fun.
- Easily the best start to any of these. And now we’re in Brazil for an awesome car/train chase. Way more creative action sequences so far.
- Getting into a car is your solution to everything.
- There’s a double-cross. Three DEA agents dead. “Put your funderwear on,” says The Rock. So I guess The Rock is in this. Right on.
- The Rock is an FBI jerk. Or maybe he’s just a cocky good guy. Too soon to tell.
- Mia (Vin’s sister / Paul’s lady) is pregnant! This is poignant. Please respect the poignancy.
- Okay, so they’re going to take on Brazil’s biggest crime boss, they need to get the band back together.
- Hey Tyrese Gibson and Luda are back. The super hot lady from the last one is back, too! As is Han, back from the dead again. He is risen! Glad I’m watching this on Easter.
- The cops are in the bad guy’s pockets, except for The Rock and his hottie rookie friend. They want the same thing that Vin and his crew want, they just don’t know it yet. They’re all going to laugh about this later.
- Bad guy has hidden all his money in the police station, no big deal says our crew.
- There’s still a lot of exposition, and this movie is full on crazy, but screw it, I’m totally on board.
- “Guys, I know there’s a lot of scary important shit going on, and I know everybody wants to kill us, but let’s stop and have a street race in the middle of the city anyway. Who’s in? Everybody? Okay cool.”
- If 2 Fast 2 Furious was about friendship, this one is about family.
- Vin Diesel vs. The Rock fist fight. They both punch very hard and seem to have undentable faces. What’s not to love?
- Diesel arrest. Diesel saves Rock. Rock joins Diesel’s crew. Easy enough.
- A small coupe is now towing a large bank vault down the street at high speeds. Whoever architected this scene did not study physics.
- Vin is doing all of this for his sister’s unborn child. Nobody takes being an uncle more seriously than Vin Diesel.
- The Rock was all like, “I’ll ride with you,” and then didn’t show up until the end of the battle and shoots an injured guy who was begging for his help. Thanks for the assist, dude.
- Han, making out with his sweet lady, again mentions going to Tokyo. Don’t go to Tokyo, Han! You will die there!
Conclusion: Fast 5 is easily the best of the series so far. Super fun and with a less-convoluted (but still batshit crazy) plot. All our favorite characters. Solid action. Four stars. Woo!
Mental State: God the end is almost in sight, but at this point, I’m in physical pain. My legs are super stiff, and my back is going numb. My body is becoming a part of the couch and I think I may be developing bedsores. I wanted to go for a quick run between this episode and the next but my friend Max convinced me that that would be cheating. Damnit, fine, Max. I hit play again.
Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Another good start. Love the opening credits. It’s just a big montage of all the preceding movies, except Tokyo Drift, because that happens later.
- Canary Islands, Spain. The Rock is working with Interpol now, taking another young lady detective under his wing. Also, he beats the hell out of prisoners to get confessions, apparently. Would not invite him to a dinner party.
- The Rock shows up at Vin’s place. He’s all, come help me find some bad guys. Vin’s all, no. But twist! Michelle Rodriguez (Vin’s girlfriend who died in #4) was spotted taking down a military convoy. Maybe? There was a photo of her anyway. Vin’s living with the ladycop from the last one. Shit could get awkward.
- Reassemble the whole team! To London!
- Oh man, Shaw, the superbadguy is an F1 kinda guy. How are our heroes going to flex with that? His armored F1 car is basically one of those wedge-style battlebots that everybody hates because they always win. Badguys have no compunction about playing cheap.
- Holy shit it is Michelle Rodriguez! She’s alive! And she just shot Vin in the shoulder. She seemed kinda conflicted about it, though, for what it’s worth.
- Shaw kicked their asses. They need new cars. So they strip a fancy British dude of his clothes. Or something. But now they have cars.
- Shaw’s right hand man is really good at fighting. So is Michelle Rodriguez, who has amnesia, by the way.
- Oh, Braga is back. He was the bad guy in… the 4th one? But he’s in jail in LA. So Paul Walker is going to dress up like a prisoner to entrap him. It’s the only way.
- Okay, he did it. He was instantly recognized, and then he shivved some dudes. He pretty much found out nothing. Cool, I’m sure it was worth it.
- Every single one of these movies has had a scene before a race where it’s just loud music and slow-motion close-ups of girls’ asses. At least one. It seems to be the franchise’s hallmark.
- Okay, Letty (Rodriguez) is still a street racer. So Vin is going to race her. She kinda almost remembers him but not really. Anyway, they race in London. Also, where are they racing to? How do they always know the route, even when they’ve never been there before? Anyway.
- This Shaw guy is a pretty good badguy. I mean, he’s good at being a bad guy. Anyway, this movie, too, is about family. And we know this because Shaw just said it out loud.
- “Got ass and brains,” The Rock says of his co-worker. Unsafe work environment. Get this guy some sensitivity training.
- And now we’re in Spain? I feel like I’ve traveled the world today.
- Dag yo, badguy’s got a tank. Letty goes flying off the tank, Vin jumps off his car, they both sail a couple hundred feet through the air before landing back first onto some random car. They’re both totally fine. That was maybe the most unbelievable thing yet in this entire series. And that says a lot. Anyway, they stopped the tank and got Shaw.
- God damnit, Han, stop talking about going to Tokyo! It’s a terrible idea.
- Ruh-roh, Shaw’s dudes got Mia. Shaw gets to walk. And ohhhh hwhat? The Rock’s lady-cop protegé was working for Shaw the whole time.
- Okay, our first cars chasing a plane scene. That’s fun.
- Vin Diesel flying headbutt! He just E. Honda’d Shaw’s gigantic Baby Huey guy and was fine. Now the rock and Baby Huey are engaged in fisticuffs. And Vin is fighting Shaw. Total slugfest. Bad ladycop just got harpooned in the chest and out of an airplane door. She’ll definitely have bragging rights in hell.
- Han’s lady just fell off a plane and got some serious roadrash. She might be dead. I mean, in real life she’d be dead. Shaw just got thrown out of a fast moving plane. Maybe he’s dead, too?
- Giant plane crash wiiiith a Vin Diesel in a car bursting out of the nose. Amazing.
- Han. Y’know, fine. Go to Tokyo. You keep talking about it, you obviously want to die. Go die in Tokyo. I’m tired of trying to talk you out of it.
- And the good ladycop gave Vin Diesel to Michelle Rodriguez, and then gives Vin a classic, “The force is my family,” kinda speech. See? Family.
- Movie over. WAIT. Flashback Forward. We’re back in Tokyo! Han just got t-boned. And holy crap it was Jason Statham that done did it! Crazy.
Conclusion: Pretty good one! Second best after Fast Five. 3.5 stars.
Mental State: Utter shambles at this point. We’ve got just under an hour to get to the theater before the movie starts. I stand up. I’ve eaten nothing but a burrito, two veggie corn dogs (I don’t know why they were in my freezer, but they were), and a ton of candy. I am literally slurring my words at this point. Home stretch, though.
Furious 7 (2015)
I’m afraid my notes on this one will be far less detailed because it was a dark theater and I couldn’t see well enough to scribble notes down. Also, I could barely keep my eyes open at this point. I was literally feeling dizzy and kind of nauseous. Eating nachos and a hot dog didn’t help.
- Okay, so Jason Statham is our main heavy, and he is bad ass in that way the Jason Statham is. He kicks and punches people and is basically ruthless and unstoppable. Why did he kill Han? Why is he trying to kill Paul and Vin and their families? Turns out, Shaw (the badguy from the last one) was his brother. Oooh, we’ve got a Die Hard 3 revenge plot!
- And now Vin want revenge for Han’s murder! Double revenge plot!
- Vin gets the whole band back together. Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Luda, the Rock. And now we also have Mr. Escape From New York himself Kurt Russell as some sort of mysterious CIA-type guy. He’s all, help me rescue this hacker lady and get this hard drive back and I’ll help you get Shaw. The new Shaw, I mean. The Statham Shaw. Whatever, our heroes agree.
- Oooh, the hacker is played by Nathalie Emmanuel, aka Massandei aka Daenerys’ person assistant on Game of Thrones aka my future wife. Thumbs up. They rescue her in a crazy train heist. Cool.
- She sent the hard drive to a friend for safe keeping, but oooh sorry, her friend sold it to a prince in Abu Dhabi who wanted it installed in his gagillion dollar car. Why would he pay top dollar for a hard drive and why would he want a hard drive installed in his car at all? Who the fuck knows. But our guys crash the prince’s party, wreck his car, and basically everything else, but get the drive.
- Basically everywhere Vin Diesel goes Jason Statham shows up like clockwork. There are crazy fights. Oh, and Rowdy Rhonda Rousey is in it, and she and Michelle Rodriguez beat the hell out of each other in what is one of the best all-female hand-to-hand fights I’ve seen in movies.
- Really solid action throughout the movie, and easily the best fight sequences of the whole series. The plot is kind of secondary (as it always was) but it ends with Statham in cuffs, vowing to escape and wreak havoc, which I’m sure he will do in movies 8 through 10, which, ugh.
- And that brings us to a sad note. The movie ends with a pretty touching tribute to Paul Walker, who died toward the end of filming this movie. It’s tastefully done and actually manages to tug on the heart strings a little. It’s hard to imagine the series going on without him, and frankly, I don’t think it should. But this is Hollywood and there’s money to be made.
Conclusion: Really pretty good! Lots of fun stuff throughout. Pretty convoluted plot, but it’s fun to watch your favorite characters do what they do, again. People survive more ridiculously horribly crashes in this one than any other, but hey, whatever. This whole thing has basically blended into one big, long 13+ hour movie for me. I mean, it really kind of is the same thing every time with slightly different details, but hey, it seems to be putting asses in seats, so who am I to argue? I’ll go 4 out of 5 stars.
Mental State: Man, I do not feel well. My body and brain are both ruined. I feel like a pasty, twitchy bridge-troll. Writing these last ones up has been a real challenge. Am I even speaking English right now? I am Groot. I kept waking up throughout the night realizing that I was grinding the hell out of my teeth. I would not recommend anybody do this.
I’ve got nitrous oxide in my blood and a gas tank for a brain. I feel carsick.
Photos by Universal Pictures