That Moment You Realize Fast and Furious Is Your Favorite Modern Movie Series
It’s a special kind of terror that sits on your shoulders when, after doing your best to keep your nose in the air and parse out rational, cutting movie critique, you realize that your favorite modern movie series is Fast and Furious.
It may be one of those special-circumstance-of-young-adulthood things, like going shopping for healthy groceries and coming home with a loaf of bread, Dr. Pepper, and five boxes of Gushers; or trying to re-learn how to dunk, even though your brain keeps telling you that your knee will fall apart like the chassis of a 1990 Corolla dropping out at 60 MPH on the thruway. It’s one of those quixotic, silly, confounding moments that help you realize that, in spite of all the trappings of professionalism and governmental subservience, you are still a kid, and sentimental. And that you like when cars go boom.
We are 13-odd years away from the debut of the series, headed by Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker (who fully embraced action stardom, and whose death behind the wheel in 2013, while tragic, was pretty much like Arnold Schwarzenegger getting killed by Terminator). As such, we are 13 years from the beginning of a movie series that followed millennial guys like myself through young adulthood, seemed to appear in so many critical junctures, and, in a more esoteric way, seemed to mimic the growth of the generic young man along the way.
Let’s discuss the first two Fast and Furious movies: Fast and Furious and 2 Fast 2 Furious. These movies are, as the kids say, completely baller: unfettered, post-’90s, un-ironic action film hedonism. Simple, streamlined car-porn, candy-colored and stupid enough for pre-teens to get subconsciously sympathize with. 11-14 year old me and his friends found these movies deeply soothing, purple-shaded windows into an adult reality that secretly piqued our imaginations and gave us our first car-boners. Maybe it’s because the series seemed like it was written for kids and by kids, or maybe the screenwriters just knew what they were doing. The first two films are unchained, gorgeous idiocy, not unlike the growing minds of excitable, punchy tweens.
Also, I’m quite sure that the Fast and Furious series is likely the only movie series at least 40 percent responsible for launching a whole damn car company. I remember being at the 2005 New York Auto Show, bringing home the Scion — a car line that started as a delivery system for easy-peezy tuner cars for the Fast and Furious generation — magazine, and flipping through it occasionally and slowly like it was some kind of holy text.
Coming shortly thereafter were Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, and The Fast and The Furious, the 2005 and 2007 entries, respectively. Both tried to regain the momentum the series lost after 2 Fast 2 Furious by bumping up the brooding factor and young-person presence. Both entries tried to force themselves to be a little darker, a little edgier, a little meaner—all while inescapably and simply being Fast and Furious movies.
And suddenly, the series became self-aware, but not in the cloying Anchorman 2, 22 Jump Street kind of way, wherein the whole premise seems to be joking about getting the band back together. Yes, they did get the band back together — with the addition of this century’s greatest wrestler-turned-actor-with-some-solid-range Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson — and assembled a wonderful, unshackled action flick with Fast 5 in 2011 and delivered again, and just as hard, with Fast and Furious 6 in 2013.
All this came as high school me kicked it and gave way to the far more confident, self-assured, and chipper me that all the ladies know and love today. Just like the Fast and Furious series, I learned — and am learning — how to properly embrace certain idiosyncracies, like inherent corniness and childlike excitability, that make both me and Fast and Furious what we are.
Plus, I’m not the only one who digs what the Fast series is bringing: Check out this review of the series’ reportedly brilliant new entry, Furious 7. A.O. Scott is all about it. A.O. Freaking. Scott.