The Fast and the Furious (2001 film)
|The Fast and the Furious|
|Directed by||Rob Cohen|
|Produced by||Neal H. Moritz|
|Story by||Gary Scott Thompson|
|Based on||“Racer X”
by Ken Li
|Edited by||Peter Honess|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$207.3 million|
The Fast and the Furious is a 2001 American action film directed by Rob Cohen and starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster. The film follows undercover cop Brian O’Conner (Walker) who must stop semi-truck hijackers led by Dominic Toretto (Diesel) from stealing expensive electronic equipment. The film’s concept was inspired by “Racer X”, a Vibe magazine article by journalist Ken Li about street racing in New York City.
Filming locations include Los Angeles and parts of southern California. The Fast and the Furious was released on June 22, 2001 to financial success. The film’s budget was an estimated $38 million, grossing $207,283,925 worldwide. Critical reaction was mostly mixed, according to review aggregators Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, though both Diesel and Walker were praised in their roles and became household names both in the U.S. and internationally. The film is the first of the franchise. The film was re-released on June 22, 2016 to celebrate its 15th anniversary.
On docks outside Los Angeles, a semi-truck is loaded with electronics, but a corrupt dock worker informs an unknown person about the truck shipment. During the night, while the truck drives on the interstate, it is approached by three heavily modified black Honda Civics with green underglow. The occupants of the Civics immobilize the truck driver, hijack the truck and escape, passing through a roadblock and stealing thousands of dollars worth of shipment.
The next day, undercover LAPD officer Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) is assigned to find the gang responsible for the crimes. Brian uses his cover job at a chop shop to infiltrate the L.A. street racing scene. While visiting Toretto’s Market, a local grocery, he flirts with the shop’s owner, Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster). Mia is the sister of a well-known street racer, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), who is sitting in the back. Dom’s crew, consisting of his girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Leon, Vince, and Jesse, arrive. Vince, who has a crush on Mia, starts a fight with Brian. Dominic scolds Vince, and sends Brian away, warning him never to come back.
One night, during a local racing gathering, Brian arrives with his 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX, and Dominic arrives in his 1993 Mazda RX-7. Dominic organizes a drag race with a local betting schemer called Hector, and two other drivers. Brian, out of money, wagers pink slips for his car. During the race, Brian temporarily gains an advantage by using a nitrous oxidesystem,” but loses his lead when Dominic uses his own nitrous at a more optimal time to catch up to Brian. Brian blows his engine, handing the victory to Dominic. Afterwards, Dominic mocks Brian in front of the crowd, telling how much work he has to do to the Eclipse’s motor now that Brian has damaged it.
As Brian prepares to give Dominic the keys to his car, however, the LAPD arrives, forcing everyone to flee. Dominic drives his Mazda RX7 into a local garage and parks it there, intending to walk home, but he is spotted by a police cruiser. Brian arrives and saves Dominic from the cops, earning Dominic’s respect. The two men venture into Little Saigon, the territory of Dominic’s old racing rival, Vietnamese gang leader Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) and his cousin, Lance Nguyen. Tran and Lance blow up Brian’s car. Afterwards, Dominic tells Brian that he owes Dominic a “ten-second car” (a car that can drive a quarter mile in under 11 seconds, from a standstill).
Brian brings a totaled Toyota Supra 2JZ to Dominic’s safe house, where he offers his skills as a driver and a mechanic to fix the car. As the crew settles in to repair the car, Brian begins dating Mia (much to Vince’s dismay). Brian investigates Hector and Tran, convinced that Tran is responsible for the truck hijackings. After investigating a suspicious purchase from Hector at the parts shop, Brian is cornered by Vince and Dominic, who demand an explanation. Brian lies about checking the cars of his rivals for the upcoming Race Wars, a street racing event in the desert. Brian, Vince, and Dominic check out Tran’s garage, and Brian notices a shipment of electronics in the garage.
Brian reports the batch of electronics to his superiors at the LAPD and FBI, and they arrest Tran and Lance. The raid on Tran’s garage proves to be a bust, however, as it turns out the electronics had been bought legally. Tran’s only infraction is the illegal possession of small weapons, so Tran and Lance are released with no charges. Despite his own doubts, Brian is now forced to assume that Dominic is the actual perpetrator of the truck heists. His superior officer, Bilkins, gives Brian only 36 hours to find the perpetrators or he will be fired.
Meanwhile, with the Supra restored, Dominic invites Brian to Race Wars, promising that they’ll talk once Brian has proven his worth. At the race, Jesse loses his father’s Volkswagen Jetta to Tran, but flees with the car after the loss. Tran confronts Dominic, demanding that he retrieve the car for him, but Dominic mocks him. Tran shouts that Dominic ratted him out to the police (unknown to him, it was Brian who did this). Dominic beats up Tran. Later that night, Brian notices the crew leaving, and realizes that Dominic is indeed the hijacker he’s been assigned to find. Brian reveals his true identity to Mia, who is furious with him, but at Brian’s pleas, reveals the location of the Civics and aids him in his plans.
Meanwhile, Dominic, Letty, Vince, and Leon are driving to their latest target. With Jesse gone, however, they are forced to act without a spare driver. Vince blows the truck’s windshield and hooks himself to the seat. When he jumps to the truck, however, the driver shoots at him with his shotgun and swerves, causing Vince to fly over and smash against the side door. He jams his hand within the hook wires and sustains another gunshot wound. Dominic and Letty try to save him, but Letty’s car is knocked over and flips from the highway. (She is later saved by Leon.) Meanwhile, Dominic’s car is totaled when the driver shoots it through the hood. Brian arrives with Mia, who commandeers the Supra while Brian rescues Vince. When Dominic arrives, Brian is forced to blow his cover as a police officer and calls for a medical evacuation to rescue Vince. Dominic is furious, but manages to control himself. He leaves with Mia and the rest of the crew after Vince is saved.
Brian heads over to Dominic’s house to arrest him, but Jesse arrives and pleads for Dominic’s help to protect him from Tran. Moments later, Jesse is killed in a drive-by shooting by Tran and Lance. Dominic and Brian pursue them, with Dominic eventually injuring Lance and Brian killing Tran. Brian and Dominic then engage in an impromptu street race, narrowly avoiding a train at the end of the race. Dominic glances at Brian with a grin, then hits a truck, flipping his Charger and getting injured. Instead of arresting Dominic, Brian gives him the keys to his own car, making good on his earlier wager to deliver a ten-second car; Dominic is able to escape the police.