18 years ago, we were introduced to the Fast and the Furious’ world of street racing and its two unlikely heroes: Brian O’Conner and Dominic Toretto. Brian (Paul Walker), a Los Angeles police officer, is assigned to take down a street racing ring, but becomes enamored with the thrill, danger, and community of the group and its leader, Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel). That’s it: Some DVD players are stolen, crimes are committed, and family is formed. So, why is it that this franchise managed to become so successful, and what comes next? Allow me to answer with a promise:
We are going to Space. But more on that soon.
After the events of The Fast and The Furious, the franchise entered the world of horrible sequel names with 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious. Dope. Not too much to focus on here, except Brian is running from the law now, does some racing in Miami, gets roped back into the undercover street racing game, and brings in Tej (Ludacris) and his childhood friend Roland (Tyrese Gibson) into the fray. Next comes The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, a confusing entry that, while technically the third movie released in the franchise, seems to take place somewhere between the chronological events of Fast and Furious 6 and Furious 7. While the film gives us a mostly non-important alternate story in Tokyo, it still introduced us to fan-favorite character Han, who would go on to have a more prominent role in the upcoming sequels despite a rather, uh, serious accident in Tokyo Drift.
Still with us? Good, cause we’re going lunar.
Wondering how to make this franchise any crazier and more difficult to distinguish between? Way ahead of you. Dropping the “the’s” from its name, the franchise’s fourth installment is simply titled Fast and Furious. Awesome. From here, we see Brian and Dom reunite to bring down some drug dealers, Brian betrays the police force AGAIN, and we get some more time with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Dom’s sister/Brian’s love interest, Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster). Han is back, but this takes place before ‘Tokyo Drift’ so…… he’s introduced? Let’s move on. Letty seemingly dies in a crash, but let’s get real: she’s coming back. Dom ends up getting arrested and, in the film’s final moments the gang breaks him out of a moving prison bus.
The Fast and Furious franchise just gets insane from here, and we couldn’t mean that more endearingly. Whereas the first film saw street racers stealing DVD players, ‘Fast Five’ takes the story global and turns this group of racers and thrill-seekers into international spies. Fast Five is where the franchise truly began to flaunt its action film identity thanks to the casting of superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Luke Hobbs, a federal agent determined to bring down Dom, Brian, and their family of racers. To outwit him, Brian, Mia and Dom unite multiple characters from the previous storylines together, including Tej, Roman, Han and a pre-Wonder Woman Gal Gadot as Giselle from Fast and Furious. Hobbs proves a formidable opponent, but ultimately decides to let our heroes go and let them get back to their business like, and this is true, dragging a giant safe through the streets of Rio and destroying multiple roads.
In Fast and Furious 6, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and his group of mercenaries are looking to end the ‘Furious’ gang permanently by using the thing Dominic Toretto cherishes most: Family. Hobbs, rather than do things conventionally and use the U.S. government to catch these criminals, instead recruits Dom and his team to do it instead, thanks to a shocking revelation. Not only is Letty alive, but she lost her memory and is working with Owen. Thankfully, Dom is able to get through and bring Letty back into the family while defeating Owen’s gang, putting the leader into a coma.
Seriously, we are less than five years from Dominic Toretto adopting an alien into his family.
Furious 7 gives the franchise its next big global showdown. The fans said “There aren’t enough action stars in these movies,” to which director Justin Lin replied, “Fine, here’s Jason Statham.” Statham plays Deckard Shaw, a man seeking vengeance over his comatose brother, Owen. He kills Han (a death we saw back in ‘Tokyo Drift’), and sets his sights on Dom, Brian, Hobbs, and the whole crew. Naturally, Deckard’s revenge plan fails and eventually helps the crew out in the sequel, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. There’s also an evil mercenary played by Djimon Hounsou seeking a hacker named Ramsay (Game of Thrones‘ Nathalie Emmanuel), as well as Kurt Russell’s charismatic government operative Mr. Nobody. Sadly one can’t help but detect a melancholic vibe hanging over the film thanks to Paul Walker’s untimely death in 2013, but Furious 7 gives him a surprisingly emotional farewell in its final moments.
Then we get to the eighth and most recent main entry from 2017, titled The Fate of the Furious. This franchise, man. Dom is forced into the world of terrorism by a woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron), who orders him to betray his family for nefarious purposes. The gang learns that Dom was forced to commit these actions because Cipher was holding his baby boy hostage. That’s right! Dom had a love affair with a federal agent two movies prior and moved on so he could be with Letty. Our heroes save the baby, bring him back home to Los Angeles, and end Cipher’s reign of terror, thanks to an insane car chase on literal thin ice against a hacked Russian submarine while Deckard kicks ass on a plane. Also Helen Mirren plays the Shaw brothers’ mom, which is hilarious.
Oh, and The Rock redirects a missile with his bare hands while driving a truck on said literal thin ice.
This brings us to the upcoming ninth film, the long-titled Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. While this entry features both Deckard Shaw and Luke Hobbs, it’s not a continuation of Dom’s narrative. This is a separate story of two big-headed former antiheroes/antagonists who don’t get along and yet must work together to defeat a superhuman Idris Elba. If you’re looking to get more out of this nitro-fueled soap opera, you’ll have wait until Fast and Furious 9. But, if mind-blowing action and macho men bickering is what you need, be sure to check out ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ in theaters this weekend.
Now, onto the dessert: This franchise is 100% going to space. This has been discussed lately after franchise writer, Chris Morgan, said not to rule it out. We are going to see moon rover chases, Vin Diesel hanging onto the side of a rocket, and probably some slow-mo no-gravity action sequences. The Fast and Furious franchise has always been about being bigger, louder, and substituting reality with whatever will have popcorn fly in the theaters. All of this may read as negative, but it’s quite the opposite. There is something to be said about a franchise that throws logic out of the window and decides to just embrace the ridiculousness.
Do you think going to space is a good idea for the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise? Do you think they will drift on the rings of Saturn? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check out Hobbs and Shaw this weekend! Check out Mxdwn’s review here.