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Apr 21, 2009

Film Review: Fast & Furious (2009)

fast-and-furious-2009-posterPerhaps Universal Pictures heard the criticism about races first, story and character development dead last. Perhaps the vapidness and the shallow, unbiased commercialism of their The Fast and the Furious motion pictures finally got to them e.g. unnecessary rapper cameos, soundtrack queues (still present) and product promotion (still very present, NOS!) after The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. We can only wonder what Universal Pictures’ executives told screenwriter Chris Morgan for this film. Riddled with cliques, Fast & Furious is far from perfect and is also by far the best in the series. Utilizing plot and character elements from the first three films, Fast & Furious drops their “after-thought” circumstances for a story arc with actual emotion and consequences. Though they are not as substantial as in a semi-notable drama, they are there none-the-less.

Fast & Furious bridges the gulf between the first film and the previous film in the series, giving background to some characters while informing the viewer what transpired for others. It is in this that Fast & Furious excels past the other entries in the franchise; however, it is because of the previous films that this film is even possible. Fast & Furious is your basic revenge/take down film but because the viewer has gotten to know certain characters in previous films, the audience already knows their pasts, personalities and their internal motivations. Because the origin plot lines are in the past, this film is able to focus what has brought many (but not all) of the original cast back together again.

Do not be fooled by my emphasis on plot thus far, Fast & Furious has all the accouterments that fans and detractors of the series have become accustomed to: scantily clad hot girls, close-up ass shots, same sex make-out sessions (actually new to series, somehow), spotless imports, partying around mod cars, a mash-up soundtrack, bare midriffs, car related action sequences, sex and automotive/sexual euphemisms. Fast & Furious borders, during some of its action and dialogue scenes, on the excellence of r-rated Point Break but never quite makes it. Whereas Point Break took itself seriously, Fast & Furious has a few deleterious, CGI moments that deviate from common sense, physics and reality. Fast & Furious was never meant to be high art but entertaining and in that it succeeds.

Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) are the characters most developed in Fast & Furious. Dominic’s current plight is relatable and instantly sympathetic. He is given a reason and motivation for his actions that anyone who has ever been in love or affectionate toward someone can understand. Dominic deals with his grief in the same way Bond should have in Quantum of Solace. When Dominic and Gisele Harabo (Gal Gadot) are alone together and Gisele’s intentions toward him are made crystal clear, Dominic speaks of another, to which Gisele replies: “That doesn’t anything like me.” Dominic retorts something to the effect of: “That’s because its not.”

One logic question that may vex the astute is why Special Agent O’Conner did not get Dominic’s pardon in writing? He certainly had the time to do so, the leverage and could have had its validity confirmed by an outside attorney. The viewer is not supposed to think about this while watching Fast & Furious, coupled with the fact that it leads to the film’s open ending that harbingers a fifth entry in the series.

Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious is the most grounded and entertaining film in The Fast and the Furious series. Unlike the previous films, Fast & Furious entertains on levels beyond the mere visual. The viewer may actually leave wanting more, which they will get in the future.

Rating: 8.5/10

Soundtrack Review for Fast & Furious (2009)

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  • http://www.7milesdown.com/ trench

    There were alot of mixed reviews on this film. I think I’ll wait for it and rent it on BLU RAY.

  • http://www.7milesdown.com trench

    There were alot of mixed reviews on this film. I think I’ll wait for it and rent it on BLU RAY.

  • http://film-book.com/ filmbook

    Like I said in the review, its the best in the series. I’m glad I saw it in theater.

  • http://film-book.com filmbook

    Like I said in the review, its the best in the series. I’m glad I saw it in theater.

  • http://getafilm.blogspot.com/ Daniel

    This is a great review, though I didn’t see F & F. You made a good point about the knowledge of the characters allowing for less development and more action in this one. Also interesting comparison to Point Break. Had you said it DID get there I’d be a lot more interested than if it almost did. Looks like this franchise is safe for the future either way.

    Daniels last blog post..On the Horizon: Food, Inc.

  • http://getafilm.blogspot.com Daniel

    This is a great review, though I didn’t see F & F. You made a good point about the knowledge of the characters allowing for less development and more action in this one. Also interesting comparison to Point Break. Had you said it DID get there I’d be a lot more interested than if it almost did. Looks like this franchise is safe for the future either way.

    Daniels last blog post..On the Horizon: Food, Inc.

  • http://gaydadsinmunchkinland.blogspot.com/ sloane

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  • http://gaydadsinmunchkinland.blogspot.com/ sloane

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  • http://film-book.com/ filmbook

    Thanks Daniel. Since The Fast and the Furious was basically Point Break with cars instead of surf boards, it thought it was a valid comparison.
    BTW, they are already talking about the next part in the series.

  • http://film-book.com filmbook

    Thanks Daniel. Since The Fast and the Furious was basically Point Break with cars instead of surf boards, it thought it was a valid comparison.
    BTW, they are already talking about the next part in the series.

  • http://film-book.com/ filmbook

    Use the Contact tab at the top of the site please. Thank you.

  • http://film-book.com filmbook

    Use the Contact tab at the top of the site please. Thank you.

  • Lew1

    I did like the fast and furious i thought it was a good film. I also liked the ending I did not think he would get 25years. The one thing i did not like though is why would Bryant really care because now he is going to be most wanted. I understand they were close but now he’s gonna fry aswell. I still prefer Tokyo Drift. Ok so I know the acting was not great but there was just somthing about it i liked..

  • Lewis

    I did like the fast and furious i thought it was a good film. I also liked the ending I did not think he would get 25years. The one thing i did not like though is why would Bryant really care because now he is going to be most wanted. I understand they were close but now he’s gonna fry aswell. I still prefer Tokyo Drift. Ok so I know the acting was not great but there was just somthing about it i liked..

  • http://film-book.com/ filmbook

    That was a stupid plot point. A clever FBI agent like O’Connor would have gotten Dom’s pardon in writing, not some verbal promise.

    O’Connor’s belief system made him act the way he did at the end of the film. He couldn’t let a good man sit in prison for 25 years.

    I wrote a Review for Tokyo Drift. It is no where near as good as Fast and Furious. Sorry Lewis.

  • http://film-book.com filmbook

    That was a stupid plot point. A clever FBI agent like O’Connor would have gotten Dom’s pardon in writing, not some verbal promise.

    O’Connor’s belief system made him act the way he did at the end of the film. He couldn’t let a good man sit in prison for 25 years.

    I wrote a Review for Tokyo Drift. It is no where near as good as Fast and Furious. Sorry Lewis.

  • http://film-book.com/ filmbook

    I think you are giving the writers of show too much credit when it comes to forward thinking.

    If they were that good, there would have been a far greater and more realistic police presence in the show, not to mention other things.

  • http://film-book.com filmbook

    I think you are giving the writers of show too much credit when it comes to forward thinking.

    If they were that good, there would have been a far greater and more realistic police presence in the show, not to mention other things.

  • Lew1

    But thats the thing dom was not a good man he was a criminal. yes O’Conner should have got it in writing or at least on recording but i just feel that the ending was rushed.
    How can you say that this was better the Tokyo drift it was so much better. But then if you asked me why i prefer it I could not really say there is just something about it that i like. I think the drifting element just added more dimentions to the film.

  • Lewis

    But thats the thing dom was not a good man he was a criminal. yes O’Conner should have got it in writing or at least on recording but i just feel that the ending was rushed.
    How can you say that this was better the Tokyo drift it was so much better. But then if you asked me why i prefer it I could not really say there is just something about it that i like. I think the drifting element just added more dimentions to the film.

  • http://film-book.com/ filmbook

    Dom is a modern day pirate, which is why you root for him no matter what.

    Drifting was the sale point in Tokyo Drift. It didn’t add drama to the film the way Dom being a fugitive did in Fast and Furious.

  • http://film-book.com filmbook

    Dom is a modern day pirate, which is why you root for him no matter what.

    Drifting was the sale point in Tokyo Drift. It didn’t add drama to the film the way Dom being a fugitive did in Fast and Furious.

  • Lew1

    Thats the thing though I never connected to Dom ok so in some parts he was a good guy but if you think about it in Fast and Furious he is dealing with dangerous people and it all just seemthat everything revolves of them going undercover as street drivers. How offen do you rekon that would really happen. At leat with Tokyo Drift there young teenagers who do not know any better. Granted it was a bit more Juvernile but I respect the film for at least trying something different just racing for respect not all this rubbish about being undercover. Both films had there good and bad points and I will be the first to admit that The acting in Drift was not great but I just liked it more.
    (p.s by the way my spelling is rubbish)

  • Lewis

    Thats the thing though I never connected to Dom ok so in some parts he was a good guy but if you think about it in Fast and Furious he is dealing with dangerous people and it all just seemthat everything revolves of them going undercover as street drivers. How offen do you rekon that would really happen. At leat with Tokyo Drift there young teenagers who do not know any better. Granted it was a bit more Juvernile but I respect the film for at least trying something different just racing for respect not all this rubbish about being undercover. Both films had there good and bad points and I will be the first to admit that The acting in Drift was not great but I just liked it more.
    (p.s by the way my spelling is rubbish)

  • http://film-book.com/ filmbook

    You’re right. Both films have their pluses and minuses but with Fast and Furious, the writing was just better and so was the resolution in court. Reality had finally been brought to the series.

  • http://film-book.com filmbook

    You’re right. Both films have their pluses and minuses but with Fast and Furious, the writing was just better and so was the resolution in court. Reality had finally been brought to the series.

  • Lew1

    But has reality really been brought through becuase an FBI agent and the sister are trying to break him out of a maximum sercruity prisoner bus which I just do not believe would happen. Ok so mayby the sister but I still can not see Oconner doing that. And how are they going to get him out the police would be on the scene in seconds. And we know that they must break him out because dom is in the ending of Tokyo Drift.
    I think it is just one of the cases where we have to agree to disagree.

  • Lewis

    But has reality really been brought through becuase an FBI agent and the sister are trying to break him out of a maximum sercruity prisoner bus which I just do not believe would happen. Ok so mayby the sister but I still can not see Oconner doing that. And how are they going to get him out the police would be on the scene in seconds. And we know that they must break him out because dom is in the ending of Tokyo Drift.
    I think it is just one of the cases where we have to agree to disagree.

  • http://film-book.com/ filmbook

    They established that it could happen because of the sequence at the beginning of the film plus O’Connor knows police response times, radio frequencies and most likely where is the best spot to stage the break out. Whether or not O’Connor would throw away his career again is dubious but after his dinner conversation with Dom’s sister (great dialogue) and the re-ignition of their relationship, his decision is not out of left field.

  • http://film-book.com filmbook

    They established that it could happen because of the sequence at the beginning of the film plus O’Connor knows police response times, radio frequencies and most likely where is the best spot to stage the break out. Whether or not O’Connor would throw away his career again is dubious but after his dinner conversation with Dom’s sister (great dialogue) and the re-ignition of their relationship, his decision is not out of left field.

  • Lew1

    yeah he is pussy blind thats true. But Dom and Oconner just seem to be too old to be street racing like young teenagers and it just seems that they could have done so much more with the story. Please don’t get me wrong i really did like the film but it was just to far fetched for my liking especially the scene were they are being chased in the desert. What i Liked about drift was the story line did not take its self so serious they even made reference when Han said DK son’s just playing Gangster in his garrage. Yes the film had that element of gangsters in it but it felt more about the cars and the drifting loseing control to stay in control.

  • Lewis

    yeah he is pussy blind thats true. But Dom and Oconner just seem to be too old to be street racing like young teenagers and it just seems that they could have done so much more with the story. Please don’t get me wrong i really did like the film but it was just to far fetched for my liking especially the scene were they are being chased in the desert. What i Liked about drift was the story line did not take its self so serious they even made reference when Han said DK son’s just playing Gangster in his garrage. Yes the film had that element of gangsters in it but it felt more about the cars and the drifting loseing control to stay in control.

  • http://film-book.com/ filmbook

    I was not suggesting p blindness, more like guilt.

    I never heard of an age limit on street racing. They have a lot more experience than the newbies. That counts for a lot during a race. It is the same for Nascar drivers.

    Racing through the tunnels at the speeds they were going was far-fetched.

    I liked the beginning of Drift. That is about it. I have not seen the film in some time though.

  • http://film-book.com filmbook

    I was not suggesting p blindness, more like guilt.

    I never heard of an age limit on street racing. They have a lot more experience than the newbies. That counts for a lot during a race. It is the same for Nascar drivers.

    Racing through the tunnels at the speeds they were going was far-fetched.

    I liked the beginning of Drift. That is about it. I have not seen the film in some time though.

  • Lew1

    Dude watch it again trust me its way much better. Ok i know there is no age limt but street racing is more a teenage thing. The begining of drift is the straight line race that just like the other fast and furious. I mean i liked the story od drift but i also thought the driving and cgi was so much better.

  • Lewis

    Dude watch it again trust me its way much better. Ok i know there is no age limt but street racing is more a teenage thing. The begining of drift is the straight line race that just like the other fast and furious. I mean i liked the story od drift but i also thought the driving and cgi was so much better.

  • http://film-book.com/ filmbook

    They use less cgi in Drift, which is why it seems better.

    The race at the beginning of Drift is badass.

    Gal Gadot from Fast and Furious is badder though: http://film-book.com/a-model-joins-the-fast-and-the-furious-4/

  • http://film-book.com filmbook

    They use less cgi in Drift, which is why it seems better.

    The race at the beginning of Drift is badass.

    Gal Gadot from Fast and Furious is badder though: http://film-book.com/a-model-joins-the-fast-and-the-furious-4/

  • Lew1

    Less Cgi more real racing must be better. Both good films though

  • Lewis

    Less Cgi more real racing must be better. Both good films though

  • http://www.grade-a-shoes.com/main.sc Air Force

    I have watched the movie but the print was not good enough so that i cann’t enjoy that much to watch the movie but the story was good enough i am waiting for the original print

  • http://www.grade-a-shoes.com/main.sc Air Force

    I have watched the movie but the print was not good enough so that i cann’t enjoy that much to watch the movie but the story was good enough i am waiting for the original print

  • Lew1

    look drift is far better it has less cgi it has better cars. The best one out of all of them.

  • Lewis

    look drift is far better it has less cgi it has better cars. The best one out of all of them.

  • http://film-book.com/ filmbook

    Fast and Furious has the best story and the best race in the middle of the film.

  • http://film-book.com filmbook

    Fast and Furious has the best story and the best race in the middle of the film.

  • Lew1

    Ok so Fast And Furious has a longer race but it just carn’t compare to drift. The story in Fast And Furious was the same as the others theres a gang leader lets go undercover and have a huge finale race. It just would not happen. Sorry but you ask any racer any real racer and they will tell you Drift is far the better film.

  • Lewis

    Ok so Fast And Furious has a longer race but it just carn’t compare to drift. The story in Fast And Furious was the same as the others theres a gang leader lets go undercover and have a huge finale race. It just would not happen. Sorry but you ask any racer any real racer and they will tell you Drift is far the better film.

  • http://film-book.com/ filmbook

    I’m not a racer but this was the FF film I was most emotionally invested in.

  • http://film-book.com filmbook

    I’m not a racer but this was the FF film I was most emotionally invested in.

  • Lew1

    no sorry that was my attempt at humour thats what Dom said to Bryant in the first film. Thats my problem though when I see these types of films I do not care about the Chracters I just want balls to the wall action

  • Lewis

    no sorry that was my attempt at humour thats what Dom said to Bryant in the first film. Thats my problem though when I see these types of films I do not care about the Chracters I just want balls to the wall action

  • LeAnne

    this movie was so amazing! any one who doesnt like them must be just crazy no joke

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book

    I don't know about amazing but it was good, very good, better than I thought it would be.