The Fast and the Furious (2001 film)
The Fast and the Furious is a 2001 crime action-adventure film directed by Rob Cohen and written by Gary Scott Thompson and David Ayer. It is the first installment in the Fast & Furious franchise and stars Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, and Ted Levine. The Fast and the Furious follows Brian O'Conner (Walker), an undercover cop tasked with discovering the identities of a group of unknown automobile hijackers led by Dominic Toretto (Diesel).
|The Fast and the Furious|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rob Cohen|
|Produced by||Neal H. Moritz|
|Story by||Gary Scott Thompson|
|Edited by||Peter Honess|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$207.3 million|
Development for The Fast and the Furious arose after Cohen read a Vibe magazine article in 1998 titled "Racer X", which detailed the illegal street racing circuit operating within New York City. After contacting producer Neal H. Moritz, Moritz was able to present the script to Universal Studios, who greenlit The Fast and the Furious in 2000. Walker was the first actor to sign onto the project, while Diesel initially had to be persuaded to participate in the film, accepting after proposing several script changes.
The Fast and the Furious was released in the United States on June 22, 2001. The film was a commercial success, grossing over $200 million worldwide. It received mixed reviews, with praise for Walker and Diesel's performances, and the action sequences, but criticism aimed at the storyline and its ending. It was later re-released on June 22, 2016, to commemorate the film's fifteenth anniversary.
The Fast and the Furious soon launched a media franchise and a series of seven sequels, starting with 2 Fast 2 Furious in 2003.
On a deserted highway, a heist crew driving three modified Honda Civics assault a truck carrying electronic goods, steal its cargo, and escape into the night.
The following day, a joint Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and FBI task force sends LAPD officer Brian O'Conner undercover to locate the crew. He begins his investigation at Toretto's Market, ordering his regular tuna on white, no crust, and flirting with its owner Mia, sister of infamous street racer Dominic Toretto, while Dominic ostensibly sits in the back office reading a newspaper. Dominic's crew, Vince, Leon, Jesse, and his girlfriend Letty, arrives. Vince, who has a crush on Mia, starts a fight with Brian until Dominic intervenes.
That night, Brian brings a modified 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse to an illegal street race, hoping to find a lead on the heist crew. Dominic arrives in his Mazda RX-7 and initiates a drag race between himself, Brian and two other drivers. Lacking funds, Brian is forced to wager his car. Dominic wins the race after Brian's car malfunctions, but the LAPD arrive before he can hand over his vehicle. Brian, in his car, helps Dominic escape, but they accidentally venture into the territory of Dominic's old racing rival, gang leader Johnny Tran and his cousin Lance Nguyen, who destroy Brian's vehicle. Later, Dominic reiterates that Brian still owes him a "10 second car". The two then walk back to Dominic's house together, where an altercation between Vince, who is upset that Brian is at the house, and Dominic breaks out.
Brian brings a damaged 1994 Toyota Supra to Dominic's garage as a replacement. Dominic and his crew begin the long process of restoring the vehicle, and Brian starts dating Mia. He also begins investigating Tran, convinced that he is the mastermind behind the truck hijackings. While investigating one garage at night, Brian is discovered by Dominic and Vince who demand an explanation. Brian convinces them that he is researching his opponents vehicles for the upcoming desert Race Wars. Together, the trio investigate Tran's garage, discovering a large quantity of electronic goods.
Brian reports the discovery to his superiors and Tran and Lance are arrested. The raid fails however when the electronics are proved to have been purchased legally. Brian is forced to confront his suspicion that Dominic is the true mastermind. Brian is given 36 hours to find the heist crew, as the truckers are now arming themselves to defend against the hijackings. The following day, Dominic and Brian attend Race Wars. There, Jesse wagers his father's Volkswagen Jetta against Tran in his Honda S2000, but flees with the car after he loses. Tran demands Dominic recover the vehicle, and accuses him of reporting him to the police. Enraged, Dominic beats up Tran.
Later that night, Brian witnesses Dominic and his crew leaving and realizes that they are the hijackers. He reveals his true identity to Mia and convinces her to help him find the crew. Dominic, Letty, Vince, and Leon attack a semi-trailer truck, intending it to be their final heist. The armed driver shoots Vince and runs Letty off the road. Brian arrives with Mia and rescues Vince. He is forced to reveal his identity to call in emergency medical care to save him. Dominic, Mia and the rest of the crew leave before the authorities can arrive.
Some time later, Brian arrives at Dominic's house to apprehend him as he is reversing his father's 1970 Dodge Charger R/T out of the garage. Jesse arrives, pleading for protection. Tran and Lance ride by on motorbikes and shoot Jesse for reneging on their bet. Brian and Dominic give chase in their separate vehicles, finding and killing Tran and injuring Lance. Brian then pursues Dominic, with them both eventually acquiescing to a quarter-mile drag race. The pair barely cross a railroad before a train passes, which ends the race in a draw, but Dominic crashes his car into a truck. Instead of arresting him, Brian gives the keys to his own car to Dominic, asserting that he still owes him a 10 second car. Dominic escapes in the Supra as Brian walks away.
- Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner: An LAPD officer sent to infiltrate a crew of hijackers. Mia's love interest.
- Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto: Leader of the heist crew and a professional street racer. He was banned from professional racing after a violent retaliatory attack on the man who accidentally killed Dominic's father.
- Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz:
A member of Dominic's crew and his girlfriend.
- Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto:
Dominic's sister and owner of the Toretto general store. Brian's love interest.
- Rick Yune as Johnny Tran:
A Vietnamese gang leader and rival of Dominic.
- Chad Lindberg as Jesse:
A member of Dominic's crew. Highly intelligent with maths, algebra, and in computing, but he suffers from attention deficit disorder.
- Johnny Strong as Leon:
A member of Dominic's crew
- Matt Schulze as Vince:
A member of Dominic's crew and his childhood friend. He harbors an unrequited love for Mia.
The central cast is rounded out by Ted Levine and Thom Barry as Tanner and Bilkins respectively, members of the team that organized the investigation to place Brian undercover. Noel Gugliemi appears as Hector, the organizer of the drag race. Musician and rapper Ja Rule and car tuner R.J. de Vera also act as Edwin and Danny, fellow drivers at the drag race who race against Dominic and Brian. Vyto Ruginis plays Harry, an informant and owner of The Racer's Edge. Reggie Lee portrays Lance Nguyen, Tran's cousin, and right-hand man. Neal H. Moritz and Rob Cohen both appear in cameos; Moritz plays an unnamed driver of a black Ferrari F355 convertible who is given a challenge by Brian, while Cohen plays a pizza delivery man.
Director Rob Cohen was inspired to make this film after reading a 1998 Vibe magazine article called "Racer X" about street racing in New York City and watching an actual illegal street race at night in Los Angeles. The film's original title was Redline before it was changed to The Fast and the Furious. Roger Corman licensed the title rights of his 1955 film The Fast and the Furious to Universal so that the title could be used on this project; both films were about racing.
Producer Neal H. Moritz, who had previously worked with Paul Walker on the film The Skulls (2000), gave the actor a script and offered him the role of Brian O'Conner. Originally, the studio told the producers they would green-light the film if they could get Timothy Olyphant to play the role of Dominic Toretto. Olyphant, however, who had starred in the previous year's car-themed blockbuster Gone in 60 Seconds, declined the role. Moritz instead suggested Diesel, who had to be convinced to take the role even though he had only played supporting roles up to that point.
The film was shot in various locations within Los Angeles and parts of southern California, from July to October 2000. Key locations included Dodger Stadium (on the opening scene where Brian tests his Eclipse on the parking lot), Angelino Heights, Silver Lake and Echo Park (the neighborhoods around Toretto's home), as well as Little Saigon (where Tran destroys the Eclipse) and the San Bernardino International Airport (the venue for Race Wars, which attracted over 1,500 import car owners and enthusiasts). The entire last rig heist scene was filmed along Domenigoni Parkway on the southern side of San Jacinto/Hemet in the San Jacinto Valley near Diamond Valley Lake.
Prior to filming, both Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez did not have driver's licenses, so they took driving lessons during production. For the climactic race scene between Brian and Toretto, separate shots of both cars crossing the railroad and the train crossing the street were filmed, then composited together to give the illusion of the train narrowly missing the cars. A long steel rod was used as a ramp for Toretto's car to crash through the semi-truck and fly in mid-air.
An alternate ending titled "More than Furious" was filmed, in which Tanner drops Brian off at the Toretto home, where he encounters Mia packing, intending to move away. Brian reveals that he resigned from the LAPD, who let him go quietly, and that he wants another chance with her. When Mia tells him that it's not going to be that simple, Brian tells her that he's got time. This ending was released in the collection bundle DVD version.
During the filming of the movie, seventy-eight cars were wrecked both on and off-screen. Out of the seventy-eight cars, three cars were shown being destroyed in the film's trailer alone. 
The film's score was composed by music producer BT, mixing electronica with hip-hop and industrial influences. Two soundtracks were released for the film. The first one features mostly hip-hop and rap music. The second one, titled More Fast and Furious, features alternative metal, post-grunge and nu metal songs, as well as select tracks from BT's score.
The Fast and the Furious was released on June 22, 2001 in North America and ranked #1 at the box office, earning $40,089,015 during its opening weekend. Its widest release was 2,889 theaters. During its run, the film has made a domestic total of $144,533,925 along with an international total of $62,750,000 bringing its worldwide total of $207,283,925 on a budget of $38 million.
The Fast and the Furious was released on DVD on January 2, 2002. More than 5.5 million units were sold by April 2002. A second DVD entitled the "Tricked Out Edition", released on June 3, 2003, featured The Turbo Charged Prelude for 2 Fast 2 Furious, a short film that set the tone to the film's sequel. An abridged version of the short film is also on the sequel's DVD release.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a rating of 53% based on reviews from 149 critics and an average score of 5.37/10. The critical consensus reads: "Sleek and shiny on the surface, The Fast and the Furious recalls those cheesy teenage exploitation flicks of the 1950s." On Metacritic, the film has score of 58 out of 100 based on reviews from 29 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+, on a scale from A to F.
Todd McCarthy of Variety called the film "a gritty and gratifying cheap thrill, Rob Cohen's high-octane hot-car meller is a true rarity these days, a really good exploitationer, the sort of thing that would rule at drive-ins if they still existed." Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "an action picture that's surprising in the complexity of its key characters and portents of tragedy." Vin Diesel's portrayal of Dominic Torretto won praise, with Reece Pendleton of the Chicago Reader writing that "Diesel carries the movie with his unsettling mix of Zen-like tranquillity and barely controlled rage."
Other reviews were more mixed. Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today gave the film 21⁄2 out of 4 stars, saying that Cohen "at least knows how to keep matters moving and the action sequences exciting." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C, saying it "works hard to be exciting, but the movie scarcely lives up to its title." Rita Kempley of The Washington Post gave the film a scathing review, calling it "Rebel Without a Cause without a cause. The Young and the Restless with gas fumes. The Quick and the Dead with skid marks." Paul Clinton of CNN wrote that Cohen "created a high-octane, rubber-burning extravaganza" but he criticized the film for "plot holes you could drive the proverbial truck through" and an "idiotic" ending.
|AFI Award||Cinematographer of the Year||Ericson Core||Nominated|
|ALMA Award||Outstanding Song in a Motion Picture Soundtrack||The Fast and the Furious for the song "Put It On Me"||Nominated|
|ASCAP Award||Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures||Caddillac Tah for the song "Put It On Me"||Won|
|Black Reel||Theatrical - Best Actor||Vin Diesel||Nominated|
|BMI Film Music Award||BT||Won|
|Golden Trailer||Best Action||The Fast and the Furious||Nominated|
|Hollywood Breakthrough Award||Breakthrough Male Performance||Paul Walker||Won|
|Golden Reel Award (Motion Picture Sound Editors)||Best Sound Editing - Effects & Foley, Domestic Feature Film||Bruce Stambler (supervising sound editor)
Jay Nierenberg (supervising sound editor)
Michael Dressel (supervising foley editor)
Steve Mann (sound editor)
Kim Secrist (sound editor)
Steve Nelson (sound editor)
Howard Neiman (sound editor)
Glenn Hoskinson (sound editor)
Tim Walston (sound effects designer)
Charles Deenen (sound effects designer)
Scott Curtis (foley editor)
Dan Yale (foley editor)
|Golden Reel Award (Motion Picture Sound Editors)||Best Sound Editing - Dialogue & ADR, Domestic Feature Film||Bruce Stambler (supervising sound editor)
Jay Nierenberg (supervising sound editor)
Becky Sullivan (supervising dialogue editor/supervising adr editor)
Mildred Iatrou (dialogue editor)
Donald L. Warner Jr. (dialogue editor)
Robert Troy (dialogue editor)
Paul Curtis (dialogue editor)
William Dotson (dialogue editor)
Cathie Speakman (dialogue editor)
Nicholas Vincent Korda (adr editor)
Lee Lemont (adr editor)
|MTV Movie Award||Best On-Screen Team||Vin Diesel
|Best Movie||The Fast and the Furious||Nominated|
|Best Male Performance||Vin Diesel||Nominated|
|Breakthrough Male Performance||Paul Walker||Nominated|
|Best Action Sequence||The Fast and the Furious||Nominated|
|Stinkers Award||Most Intrusive Musical Score||Won|
|Taurus Award||Best Driving||Matt Johnston
Christopher J. Tuck
Kevin Scott (semi driver)
|Best Work With a Vehicle||Christopher J. Tuck
|Best Stunt by a Stunt Woman||Debbie Evans||Won|
|Best Stunt by a Stunt Man||Christopher J. Tuck
|Best Stunt Coordinator and/or 2nd Unit Director: Feature Film||Mic Rodgers||Won|
|Best Work With a Vehicle||Jimmy N. Roberts||Nominated|
|Hardest Hit||Mike Justus||Nominated|
Racing Champions released diecast metal replicas of the film's cars in different scales from 1/18 to 1/64. RadioShack sold ZipZaps micro RC versions of the cars in 2002. 1/24 scale plastic model kits of the hero cars were manufactured by AMT Ertl.
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- Interview found on the original DVD release
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- The Washington Post – Fast Leaving Logic in the Dust
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- "Micro RC Cars: Mods - RadioShack ZipZaps - These Zaps Zip From Radio Shack". www.microrccars.com. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
- AMT Ertl – The Fast and the Furious Archived 2004-11-02 at the Wayback Machine
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