Flashback Friday: Fast and Furious 6 (Overdrive?)

Before you shave your head so you can better cosplay as Dom Toretto, here are some films that might put you in the mindset for another Fast and Furious offering.

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and FAST 5 (very, very briefly)

Not to get too deeply philosophical while discussing a street racing/car riding thief gang, but as I get older I notice time does some odd things. Sometimes people will mention that there is an event that happened 20 years ago and am stunned that it has been that long. Other things seem like they’ve been on FOREVER, and the Fast/Furious film series is one such thing. The first installment, the definite article loving THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, is 12 years old but I’d easily buy it being 25 years old. Sometimes I feel like we’ve never lived in a world without these movies.

In going back to this first installment, I’m reminded that amongst directors whose bread and butter are action, Rob Cohen is close to the worst. Well, let me restate that. Cohen can shoot an action sequence quite well. However, at pacing an entire action film? He is really quite bad. The movie is oddly lethargic for a plot that revolves around driving fast in souped up compact cars. And not slow in a “this movie is building characters and relationships like a 70’s film.” Just sloooooooooow.

That said, rewatching it also reminded me the oddly askew chemistry Diesel brings to bear. I knew him from PITCH BLACK but most were only encountering him as a lead in this movie and it is easy to see why we spent 2001 so suddenly taken with him. (Seriously do a Google search for articles written about him that year…it’s wild how many there are.) He’s brusque to a fault, grimacing, and gravelly voiced, but he’s also weirdly soulful. I mock the “I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters: not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullshit. For those ten seconds or less, I'm free,” line all the time but damn if he doesn’t sell it.

Sidenote: how bizarre is it to hear a 20-something year old car thief bring up having a mortgage? A.) Such a domestic complaint and b.) 12 years later, how many 20 year olds of any stripe do you know who have a mortgage. And yes, I know Diesel was in fact 34 at the time TF&TF was released, but he’s clearly meant to be in his 20’s. Similarly the more age appropriate Walker, who was 28 at the time, is probably playing younger, given that he’s an establish FBI undercover agent.

"Sup ladies? Sup...gents?" (photo from fanpop.com)

"Sup ladies? Sup...gents?" (photo from fanpop.com)

Diesel or no though, I can’t recommend this for seeing again. It’s sIuggish, especially considering the movie doesn’t even reach the two hour mark, to the point of distraction and save for a few set pieces and a line here or there—the aforementioned “I live my life” and the hilariously blatant product placement moment of “You can have any beer that you want as long as it is a Corona—there’s little that will engage any of a viewer’s emotions.

If you MUST watch a Fast film before see FAST AND FURIOUS 6, make it FAST 5, a legitimately exciting, big summer offering that is everything the original should have been. Plus Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel have a ridiculous fight that is, in all certainty, something else entirely.