Wow, how times have changed. 'The Fast and the Furious' sets the ground for what could have been a fantastic franchise and, well, we're stuck with this sh*t now going into its ninth film. I mean FGS, it really should have stopped at 'Fast Five'. I have to be wholeheartedly honest here and say I actually love this film. It is one of the very first films I remember watching and it inspired my passion for exotic cars, too. We are introduced to the Toretto family and Brian Spilner (O'Conner to be later revealed) in this film, and it sets out on a truly intriguing story. The franchise was based on hijacking cars, illegal street racing and rival gangs. It is pretty much GTA as a film. What I love about this is how it inspired a generation of people to enjoy films about cars because let's be honest, some are pretty rubbish. In this, there isn't any standout acting but a young Paul Walker and Vin Diesel carry the film for the most part and set themselves miles ahead talent-wise. For me to say this is great would be a stretch too far, but it is a good film. The corny humour is to be expected and the shockingly horrendous CGI just about fits in with the film's personality. "By an inch or a mile", winning is winning, and this film certainly won over the hearts of many all around the world for it to still be going strong even now, nineteen years later.
One thing that I find particularly interesting in this film is the balance between the story and not just getting carried away with performance cars. There are very few in the film to get excited about, to be honest, but the Dodge Charger R/T and Toyota Supra are now cult classics and this is largely down to this. Both are icons in movie history, whether people like the films or not. It is a shame that the franchise has gone down the route it has because this, alongside the second instalment and even the third stay true to this theme. However, from the fourth onwards, we can see the change gradually happen and by the sixth instalment, it isn't about racing anymore.
There are so many reasons I am bitter towards the more recent films but the original two in particular, along with 'Fast Five', really hold special places in my heart. I wish that there was a better outcome for what could have been, but I suppose one can wonder what actually could have been had they stuck down this route. I agree that change was going to be needed along the way as street racing and 'family' in every single film would get repetitive and, ultimately, the franchise would lose out. Yet, we have strayed so far away from this and it's such a shame. I love the original, I always will, nor will I ever tire of watching it, but I just wish that some of the others in this film series hadn't ruined that image for me.
Duration: 1h, 46mins.
Released: 14 September 2001 (UK).
My Rating: 7.6/ 10.