Cheese-tastic Classics is back! This time up we have classic of the genre, a movie that lives 1/4 mile at a time, “The Fast and the Furious”!
With its hip hop soundtrack, smoke shows, machismo, and gear head talk, “The Fast and the Furious” is a beloved serving of cheesy goodness. People even forgive it for ripping off the high concept of “Point Break”. It’s a high-octane, testosterone fueled, NOS charged thrill ride. Plus it features one of the greatest bromances of all time!
That’s right, “The Fast and the Furious” is an entertainment masterpiece. Your brain is quietly saying “C’mon”, but you cannot deny you’ve got a big old smile on your face.
Click through to enjoy some delicious cheese!!
Due to a rash of tractor-trailer heists being perpetrated by a crew driving sporty, street racing cars, LAPD officer Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) is sent undercover, due to his driving skills and automobile knowledge. He takes a job at the local high-tech, racing car oriented auto part shop, The Racer’s Edge in order to infiltrate the local street racing scene.
What he doesn’t realize is that he’s about to enter a dangerous world of high-speed racing, gunplay, and male bonding.
Each day, he lunches at a shop owned by local street racing king Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). The lunch counter is run by Toretto’s sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster). O’Conner flirts with her, and jokes about the tuna, but his real aim is to get close to Toretto.
The first tiiiiiiiime… Ever I saw your face….
Toretto’s crew smells pork though, even if Toretto is blind. They instinctively fight O’Conner to try to push him away, but to no avail.
O’Conner makes his way into the local street racing scene… a late night arena attended by hundreds, where hot, scantily clad chicks patrol lines of souped up rides, and drivers wait to gamble and illegally fly around the city at night.
Toretto is king of this nighttime world. All the other racers patiently await the appearance of him and his crew. When they do arrive, they give O’Conner the once over… checking out his ride, questioning his qualifications. It’s decided that he can race, but he has to offer his car as stakes.
Couldn’t they just have used one of those pre-existing white lines?
O’Conner bets his car cause he’s cool like that, and that gets him in the race. He’s obviously a dork though he’s driving the street racing equivalent of a Batmobile. His car is carrying enough NOS (Nitrous Oxide) for a moon launch, and he has a computerized on board system to help him keep it all under control.
Everyone cranks up their NOS and gets ready to rip. Once the race takes off, that’s when “Th Fast and the Furious” really starts to rip.
The CGI kicks in as things get all blurry and rushy and stuff. The music stops so you can hear the engines going Wahhhhhhh, Wahhhhhhhnn. It’s a sound that disables higher brain function and shifts the body into an amped up, heightened state. O’Connor’s slow off the line, but he has nitrous, so he’s able to make the jump to light speed. His car starts falling apart at one point because he’s going so fast.
He pulls even with Toretto, but what he doesn’t realize is that Toretto isn’t the king for nothing. He’s been around this block before… his car can jump to ludicrous speed, and it does, leaving O’Conner in its dust. O’Conner responds by pushing his car faster than it can take, and it seizes up. Toretto easily wins the race, while O’Conner is left to bashfully limp across the finish line.
Something tells me I’m in for something good! (Somethin’ tells me I’m in for somethin’, Somethin’ tells me I’m in for somethin’…)
Diesel preaches street racing wisdom after winning, and the two trade flirtatious shit talk, but the cops arrive and bust things up. Toretto initially escapes, but makes the mistake of ditching his car and thinking he can walk out of the area on foot. The cops see him and call him out by name, chasing after him. It doesn’t look as if he’ll be able to escape, but O’Conner is there to pick him up in a miraculously healed car!
It’s here, as they escape the cops, that they get to know each other, trading stories about jail and juvie. The bonding is under way fully now…
Even after escaping the cops, they’re not out of danger. The Yakuza are after them for some ill-defined reason. After a group on motorcycles pulls them over and talks smack about an upcoming race (Race Wars), they pull out machine guns and blow up O’Conner’s NOS loaded race car! When the car blows up, it blows up straight up off the ground, which is as awesome as it sounds.
Of course Toretto’s crib is rocking, did you think his crib wouldn’t be rocking?
Eventually though, Toretto and O’Conner make it safely back to Toretto’s home. Unfortunately for them, there’s a bunch of people there. Tempers flare between Toretto’s new BFF and his old BFF, and O’Conner continues to lead Toretto’s sister Mia on.
O’Conner gets taken back to the FBI base (in order to remind us he’s a cop), where Buffalo Bill offers him this advice about Toretto. “He’s got nitrous oxide in his blood and a gas tank for a brain.” I’m fairly certain that he’s right, but I still wonder how that’s helpful advice.
In keeping with the completely feasible tone of the movie, O’Conner tows this junker to Toretto’s shop, fulfilling the “10 second car” he owes him. It’s a fixer upper, but it’s got it where it counts under the hood, and besides, a fixer upper is just what their blossoming bromance calls for.
But O’Conner is still a cop, and he has a job to do. So he goes back to investigating, by illegally busting into the Mexican race team’s garage after they place a suspicious parts order. For some reason though, Toretto and his ex BFF catch him in the act and confront him. O’Conner sticks to his story, making up some BS about scouting the competition. Toretto and his ex suspect him of being a cop, so, they test him by breaking in somewhere else with him!
This time, it’s the Yakuza. They witness them making the auto parts store owner drink oil and stumble upon a cache of dvd players and other suspicious goods… so for a time, it seems as if Toretto’s crew might not actually BE behind the robberies!
Honestyyyyy… is SUCH a lonely word. Everyone is SO untrue. Honestyyyyy… is hardly ever heard… and mostly what I need from you.
It’s there, in the garage, that the bromance begins to get serious. Toretto reveals his ’70 Dodge Charger. It’s a supercharged machine that’s technically capable of short-range flight. He also reveals that he and his father built it together… and proceeds to share the story about his father’s death. His father was a stock car racer, and as a boy, he watched him crash during a race and burn to death.
It’s obviously a vulnerable subject for Toretto, and clearly it takes a lot for him to share it with O’Conner. The undercover cop is gaining his trust.
Happily rubbing that car IS the only proper response to it.
O’Conner continues to make puppy eyes with Dom’s sister, but their romance is doomed due to a number of factors.
Wahhhhhhh, Wahhhhhh, Wahhhhhhhnn…
You can’t telllll me it’s not worth tryin’ for
I can’t hellllp it, there’s nothin’ I want more…
The bromance reaches a fever pitch with the “whatever it is you’re in on, I want in on” lunch date. O’Conner confronts Toretto, telling him he knows he has to have something happening on the side to be able to afford all his racing, and he tells him he wants in. Toretto agrees, but makes his admission reliant on race wars. Race well, and O’Conner’s in.
Race Wars is a series of drag races out in the middle of nowhere. Apparently, everyone brings their money wrapped in rubber bands for side bets at these things. Dom’s girlfriend, Letty wins a heat, but when Jesse, a member of Toretto’s crew, loses his car in a race against Zao, the shit really hits the fan. Zao and Toretto throwdown, with Toretto victorious (was there any other outcome possible?). Tensions between the gangs have reached a boiling point.
Toretto bolts after the altercation with Zao, and O’Conner realizes he’s off to pull a score. His only hope of catching him is through his sister, Mia. Luckily, he’s been stringing her along for just such an occasion. He just comes right out and tells Mia he’s a cop (Donnie Brasco he is not), and Mia tearfully turns on her brother. I wonder how Brewster wasn’t at least nominated for an Oscar for this role.
Toretto and his crew are indeed after another score. They swap cars out and hit the road, hoping to hit the mother lode. The problem is, the truckers have gotten wise to their heists, and aren’t about to give up their hauls without a fight. The driver of the tractor-trailer they’ve chosen is armed, and ready to shoot any would be hijackers.
That spells bad news for Dom’s ex BFF, who’s shot trying to board the rig and left dangling off the side of the cab. Toretto pulls up and play the “GIVE ME YOUR HAND!!” card, to no avail. Things look bleak… is the crew about to experience a fatality?
Eventually it’s O’Conner, who’s used his FBI resources to pinpoint the crew’s location and speedily caught up along the highway. He actually jumps onto the side of the cab, frees Toretto’s ex BFF and jumps them both safely back to his car.
It’s sad, so sad… Why can’t we talk it over?
Oh it seems to me… That sorry seems to be the hardest word
The bromance has turned into a full-out lovers spat now however. With the revelation of the fact that O’Conner’s a cop, things are at a breaking point, even though O’Conner saved Toretto’s ex BFF’s life. Instead of having Toretto arrested, like most cops would, O’Conner succumbs to the bromance and goes to Toretto’s home, alone.
The two of them draw down on each other, and posture, hostilely, but they’re picked a bad time to hash out their relationship issues. Jesse, the crew member who earlier lost his car to Zao and then reneged, pulls up. Unfortunately, the Yakuza sense him… and promptly do a drive by on their bikes.
When Yakuza strike!
Jesse is shot down in the street, and the finale is on. O’Conner goes driving after, kicking in the NOS as the machine guns spray bullets everywhere… The awesomeness is formidable. Techno starts kicking. One Yakuza biker circles off of the road and pulls a jump at O’Conner. To which the only rational thought is %#$& yeah. I dont know that he fully thought that manuever out, but it was pretty sweet anyways. Toretto, who has joined the chase now, runs the biker off the road. Meanwhile, just as Zao is about to get away, O’Conner slams into a skid and turns his car sideways… taking dead aim, he icily shoots him down. It’s a technique that’s not focused on enough in police training… thankfully, O’Conner’s skills were sharp enough to execute it here.
Of course, the primary conflict of the film has yet to be resolved. And there’s only one way to settle it… with a race. Toretto and O’Conner meet at the top of a hill, with some train tracks exactly 1/4 mile off. It’s agreed. It’s on.The light turns green, Toretto’s charger rears up, smoke billowing from its tires… they’re off.
Wahhhhhhh, Wahhhhhnn, Wahhhhhhhh….
Below, at the finish line, the train is coming. The tracks are live tracks and a freight train is speeding towards the intersection just as O’Connor and Toretto are speeding towards it. That’s ok though, Train collisions are for sissys, that’s what NOS buttons are for. The charger blows a gear. The speeds at which they’re traveling cause slow motion effects, validating Einsteins theory of relativity. Their cars have broken the sound barrier in the pursuit of being the fastest. Neither will back down, neither will give, it has to be determined through sheer speed.
The race is a tie. The two cars crash through the railway crossing bar at exactly the same time, narrowly arriving ahead of the train. But as the two share a bromantic victory look, Toretto hits a truck and flips his car, wrecking the Charger.
The moment of truth is at hand. The cops will be on scene any moment, well, if you don’t count O’Conner, who’s already there. Toretto is hurt, but not seriously. But his car is undriveable. He’ll never get away.
Which is when O’Conner gives him the keys to his car.
If he had said “Vaya con dios, brah” right than I might have had a fatal geek seizure. O’Conner sacrifices his career… risks jail himself… in order to help Toretto get away. It’s a fitting climax to the ultimate bromance. The self sacrificial gesture. Things will never be the same for O’Conner again, and Toretto rides off, still on step ahead of the law, still living his life 1/4 mile at a time.
You know it’s true. Everything I do…. I do it for you…
Well. There you have it folks, another installment in my Cheese-Tastic Classics! Hope you enjoyed it! If you liked this one, be sure to check out the others, including “Commando“, “Face-Off“, “Road House” and “Bloodsport“!