In an earlier article, the catchily titled Top 5 Times The Fast And Furious Franchise Gave Reality The Middle Finger Part I (calling it 2 Far 2 Fetched didn’t occur to me until it was way too late) I took easy pot shots at the series’ wilful negligence when it came to the questionable physics the filmmakers employed in their enormous actions scenes. With that done it’s now time to focus on the other driving force that’s seen these movies become one of the most dominant forces at the modern box office – the characters…
Filled to overflowing with hulking beasts, charismatic motor-mouths and an incredibly smug Kurt Russell, the bizarre character traits look to continue in the uncoming F9: The Fast Saga with the introduction of Dom’s equally mountainous brother (their mother must have been wrecked from the waist down after their births – Mia must have just fallen out like a slide) and the unlikely resurrection of Han – but what’s the most purely ridiculous shit the movies have tried to pull?
Remember, this is all in good fun and I only do this because I’m a fan myself, but it’s now time to pop the handbrake off and roast these guys like one of Dom’s family barbeques.
5) From Humble Beginnings… (The Fast And The Furious – 2001)
These days, Dom and co. are globe trotting super spies with unlimited resources to create any vehicle for any situation who strut around the place like James Bond grew up on the mean streets of Los Angeles instead of hiding in a tunnel at Skyfall. However, a quick step back through the franchise to the very first movie reveals a somewhat more rougher existence as when we first meet Mr Toretto and his crew, the target for their acts of vehicle based subterfuge wasn’t an all-seeing computer algorithm or even a safe stuffed full of $100 million of dirty money – no, the first haul Dominic’s crew would risk their lives for was…. DVD players?!
Jacking a truck for something these you can buy these days from Tescos for about fifteen quid is quite the noticable step down from casually swiping a rogue WMD from a pissy warlord, but back then the original movie was a not so subtle retread of Katherine Bigelow’s Point Break, which makes the character’s ascension from Point Break, to Ocean’s Eleven to the fucking Avengers as ridiculously hilarious as it is genuinely cool. Talk about building yourself up into something…
4) Vince’s Amazing, Immortal “Sandwich Crazy” Line (The Fast And The Furious – 2001)
We’ve all done it. We’ve stepped up to a situation with the intent to cut someone in half with our razor sharp wit and lodged in our brain is the perfect fucking put down to verbally take out the punk sitting right in front of us… And then we open our mouth and some garbled bilge tumbles out that instantly marks you out as threatening as a Beanie Baby guard dog.
If this has happened to you, then spare a thought for poor Vince, Toretto’s right hand man, who, while correctly being distrustful of the beautiful blonde man chatting up his buddy’s sister at her shitty dinner, swaggers over, creaks open his trap and vomits out this example of terminal cringe: “What’s up with this fool, is he sandwich crazy?”
Just drink that line in for a second… let it wash over you… don’t fight it… isn’t it incredible? What does it mean? The guy keeps coming to a diner and orders a tuna sandwich from a pretty girl; does that really make him sandwich crazy? What is sandwich crazy? How many sandwiches would you have to eat in a week for Vince to declare you medically insane for tuna and bread? Does Vince even know what a sandwich is?
At this point in time there was way more outlandish stuff coming in the distant future (Brixton from Hobbs & Shaw is essentially a fucking Terminator with a robot spine and everyone just assumes that’s a thing that just happens now), but there’s something about this stunning clunker that’s always drifted to the top of the pile in a franchise that has more wonky lines than a drunk artist.
3) Sean Boswell Ages About Sixteen Years In Five Seconds (Furious 7 – 2015)
Lucas Black’s 17 year old street racer from the franchise’s 2006 odd-man-out, Tokyo Drift, hasn’t really been utilised much since Toretto’s team-mate Han taught him how to drift in order for him to bang the girlfriend of a yakuza’s son (it’s one of F&F’s simpler plots), but he finally gets his long overdue callback in 2015’s Furious 7.
However, this brings up more than a couple of issues, like if Tokyo Drift actually now is supposed to take place in 2015 in the series’ continuity, then this Tokyo presumably exists in some alternate dimension where everyone is using tech and driving cars that are noticably nine years out of date. However, complaints about broken iPods pale in comparison when Furious 7 finally ties up some loose ends by addressing Tokyo Drift’s ending where Dom arrives to enquire about Han’s fiery “demise”. Using footage from the earlier movie, a 17 year old Sean played by the 22 year old actor turns around and in the very next shot has noticably become 33. Maybe racing Dominic Toretto is so strenuous it leeches the youth right out of you, or maybe Sean’s car runs on the actual life force of it’s driver, but whatever it is, it’s a more noticable case of advanced aging than that dude who drinks from the wrong Grail in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.
He drifted… poorly.
2) Literally Everything Luke Hobbs Says Or Does (Fast 5 – 2011 to Hobbs And Shaw – 2019)
Holy fuck, where to start?
Arguably helping the series to reach brand new heights the moment he strode on set in Fast 5 with a chest broader than a warehouse full of weight gain power, Dwayne Johnson’s permanently sweating agent Luke Hobbs is essentially a walking, talking alpha male rendered with all the manly subtlety of a cartoon character. Making Johnny Bravo look about as masculine as Charles Hawtrey, Hobbs is as absurdly macho as it gets and some of the franchise’s very best throwaway moments are usually about how hard the movie pushes to show us exactly supernaturally manly he truly is…
Pick your poison, guys; is it the moment in Furious 7 where he bicep curls out of his arm cast, or maybe it’s that bit from the eighth one where an incarcerated Hobbs rips a concrete bench off the wall of his cell in order to get his reps in it even the bit from the same film where his twitching pectorals shrug off rubber bullets?
And then there’s his dialogue – whether threatening future frenemy Deckard Shaw that he’s going to beat him – and I quote – “like a Cherokee drum” or announcing without irony “Woman? I am the cavalry!”, he’s not exactly a shy, retiring flower, but he’s not just an eternally flexing mound of uncut testosterone, he’s a single dad too who gets his daughter’s soccer team to do a legitimately terrifying war dance before a big match.
Arguably one of the best things to emerge from this world of explosions and herculean feats of superhuman strength, Hobbs is a literal action figure in this world of full-sized hot wheels stunt players – but there’s only one other biological life form in this world who can effortlessly out “man” him….
1) Dominic Toretto Is Fucking Immortal And No One Seems To Notice (The Fast And The Furious – 2001 to The Fate Of The Furious – 2017)
All hail the alpha bald of the Fast And Furious franchise!
It can’t be easy staving of the actions of fellow swole slap-heads like the glistening dome of Luke Hobbs or the stubbly cranium of Deckard Shaw, but then Corona inhaling speed racer turned international spy Dominic Toretto has somewhat of an unfair advantage – the fact that he’s harder to fucking kill than a truck full of Norse gods…
Whether surviving countless car wrecks that would liquify your average mortal’s soft, spongy body or warding of the flames of a blazing engine fire by simply holding his arm up a bit, the only possible explanation for Toretto’s obvious invincibility is that his mother had a brief summer fling with Zeus that resulted in the birth of a growling, family obsessed demigod who shrugs off certain death with more ease than it takes most of us to shake the flu.
I’m assuming a side effect of being simply unable to die is that he inspires a cult-like following in everyone around him – how else do you explain ex-cop Elena Neves giving him her blessing to leave their relationship after it’s revealed that Letty is still alive and then birthing his son which Dom and Letty agree to raise after her brains are blown out by cold-as-ice rasta terrorist Cipher. That isn’t the actions of a rational woman, that’s the unselfish actions of a cult member brainwashed by an near unintelligible man whose answer to every problem is to either drive off something or just snarl the word family at it until it disappears.
One day, the sun will burn out and the surface of the earth will become an uninhabitable wasteland – and you’ll still find the implacable deity known as Dominic Toretto moving a steak around a grill and chugging back an ice cold brewski – the undying bastard.