THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS
Glamorizing Vicarious Thrills
Release Date: June 22, 2001
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker,
Michelle Ridriguez, Jordana
Brewster, Rick Yune, Matt
Schulze, Chad Lindberg, Ted
Levine, & Ja Rule
Genre: Action Adventure/Car Racing
Audience: Teenagers & young adults
Runtime: 107 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Director: Director Rob Cohen tries to
tell too many stories in THE
FAST AND THE FURIOUS. The
movie opens with three fast
black cars, helmed by
anonymous drivers with
motorcycle helmets, hijacking
a truck full of electronics
products. The story then
shifts to Brian O’Connor, a
young man who’s fighting
with another man, Vince, over
Mia, the sister of Diesel’s
character, Dominic Toretto.
Executive Producer: Doug Claybourne & John Pogue
Producer: Neal H. Moritz
Writer: Gary Scott Thompson, Erik
Bergquist & David Ayer
Address Comments To:Stacey Snider, Chairman
Ron Meyer, President/COO
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
Phone: (818) 777-1000
Web Page: www.universalstudios.com
Director Rob Cohen tries to tell too many stories in THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS. The movie opens with three fast black cars, helmed by anonymous drivers with motorcycle helmets, hijacking a truck full of electronics products. The story then shifts to Brian O’Connor, a young man who’s fighting with another man, Vince, over Mia, the sister of Diesel’s character, Dominic Toretto.
Brian is eager to join the outlaw sub-culture of street racing which Dominic rules like a strutting rock star. As Brian begins to gain Dominic’s confidence and friendship, the movie reveals that Brian is actually a cop who’s undercover to solve a series of big-rig hijackings like the one in the movie’s opening scene. Brian, however, begins to bond not only with Mia, but also with Dominic, a prime suspect in the hijackings. As the pressure to wrap up the hijacking case intensifies, Brian must decide where his loyalties lie and what his limits really are.
The story of THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS falls back on too many summer movie cliches. Instead of focusing on the street racing milieu as its advertising suggests, the movie gives viewers a silly, formulaic story about a young cop going undercover and the misunderstood ex-convict he befriends. The movie plays this story by the numbers. Thus, as the affection between Brian and Mia and the friendship between Brian and Dominic grow, Brian’s emotions start affecting his judgment, and his friendly boss, played by Ted Levine, starts confronting Brian about this. This contrived story seems like something out of an episode from a cheap TV cop show and is not worthy of a major motion picture. The only relief to this, including Paul Walker’s lukewarm performance as Brian, is the story involving Vien Diesel’s complicated character, Dominic. Even that story, however, succumbs to a hokey speech about freedom.
Furthermore, there are too many stories and premises surrounding the character of Brian, the undercover policeman. First, there is the romantic triangle between Brian, Dominic’s sister, Mia, and Vince, who’s part of Dominic’s racing “team.” Then, there is the story involving Brian’s undercover investigation into the hijackings, where Brian’s feelings interfere with his judgment. Next, there is the story involving Brian’s participation in the street races, which is supposed to culminate in a big drag race in the desert called Race Wars. The movie leaves that story completely hanging, even though it seems more interesting than the others because it involves the secret world of street racing which the movie uses to attract viewers. Finally, there is the story of the developing friendship, potential rivalry between Brian and Dominic, which ends in a morally ambiguous way.
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS seems to have a romantic worldview and contains some pagan elements. It condones, if not glamorizes, reckless, dangerous driving and casual premarital sexuality. It also resolves a conflict between Brian and Dominic in a morally ambiguous way at the end. On the one hand, the resolution of this conflict is a romantic one because it involves a major romantic theme in the movie, the need for maintaining freedom while avoiding bad consequences. On the other hand, the resolution is a redemptive or even Christian one because it involves an act of mercy and forgiveness. In this respect, it is interesting to note that Dominic often wears a crucifix around his neck, which he hangs over his shirts in plain view of everyone. At one point in the movie, Dominic makes everyone pray before a meal, but the person who leads the prayer says a really vague one. These redemptive elements are doubly interesting when you consider the redemptive themes in Vin Diesel’s last major movie, PITCH BLACK.
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS also contains plenty of foul language, brief nudity and a shot where two women kiss passionately at a party. Like the other examples of objectionable content in this movie, these things encourage immoral imitative behavior among young people. Concerned parents should therefore be extremely wary.
Despite some minor redemptive elements, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS condones, if not glamorizes, reckless, dangerous driving and casual premarital sexuality. Although slickly photographed, it also has an over-complicated, formulaic, hokey script. Furthermore, Paul Walker’s acting fails to match Vin Diesel’s intensity. THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS also contains plenty of foul language, brief nudity and a shot where two women kiss passionately. Like the other examples of objectionable content, these things encourage immoral imitative behavior among young people. Concerned parents should therefore be extremely wary.