Here's my review in viewing order…
The Fast and the Furious
: It makes street racing and L.A. at night look cool and sexy, but I wasn't overly impressed. 12 years of hype contributed to this, I'll admit. It did pick up and get more of my attention part way through though, once a big reveal concerning one of the characters was made.
: Thanks for the heads up Eduardo
, but I didn't forget about this one. It's the 6-minute short film that bridged the gap between the first and second movie. It glosses over one character's move to Miami, where the second movie is set. For a short, it was surprisingly well done. It told the story it needed to and did so without dialog.
2 Fast 2 Furious
: I didn't expect much from this and got what I expected… A watered down sequel with just Paul Walker from the first movie and a direct-to-video quality. Couldn't even follow the story because it couldn't hold my attention.
: I skipped Tokyo Drift
because I wanted to watch everything in chronological order and went straight for this 20-minute short instead. It was directed by Vin Diesel and serves as a prelude to Fast & Furious
. It was a bit jarring to see this because it brings us back to characters who appeared in the first film, but not the second, namely Vin Diesel's and Michelle Rodriguez' characters. It was also shot with an artsy independent film feel and a lot of the dialog was in spanish with english subtitles. It wasn't great, but I loved Diesel's effort.
Fast & Furious
: This is the 4th movie in the series and it's a return to form. They're lucky that it got this far so that it can do just that. I enjoyed this movie. It felt like a real sequel to the first because the original cast is back and their interpersonal conflicts pick up from where they left off. This one also ends on a pretty good hook.
: Fortunately I didn't have to wait two years to pick up on where the last movie left off. I jumped right into this one and I have to say that I loved it. Bigger budget, bigger action, it was shot in an exotic locale (Rio), everyone
was back and we got some new and interesting faces added to the mix. And above all, it had a pretty decent story with an emphasis on family and loyalty. I should also mention that this was basically Ocean's Eleven with the Fast & Furious characters. What a ride! Pun intended. At this point, I didn't want the franchise to end, so I was happy that I had at least two more installments on the way with one just two days after this viewing.
Most memorable moment…
I thought you wanted to go to Tokyo.
We'll get there.
: It didn't blow me away they way Fast Five
did, but it was great to see the trend left by that movie continue (big budget, lots of action, exotic locale, everyone back, family & loyality, etc). If Fast Five
was an adaption of Ocean's Eleven
, I'd say that this one was a take on The A-Team
. "Dominic Toretto, sent to prison for a crime he did commit, escaped to parts unknown and survives on stollen wealth. If you have a problem, and no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire Toretto and his crew."
The series has pretty much evolved from street racing to that. We got car chases, but they felt shoehorned in because the series is supposed to be about cars. And honestly, I'm fine with that. Also, as mentioned above, there's a hook at the end, just after the credits start to roll and it's a good one.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
: This is the third movie in the series but chronologically, it fits here, so I watched it last. This one had an entirely new cast when it came out, but since I watched it last, I got one character (Han) to connect it to the rest of the series because that character appears in the three films and one short film that came out after this one. How well does it fit as the 6th movie? It fits well, but it's also a bit jarring to see how our one connecting character behaves if you have it in mind as a followup to Furious 6
. It's not a big deal though. As for the movie itself, it wasn't well received, but I liked it. A high school kid who likes racing and getting into trouble is sent to Tokyo to live with his father, and of course, he gets into something called drifting, which he has to learn from Han, and a lot of trouble with a dangerous rival. It was pretty much The Karate Kid
with drifting instead of karate. Like 2 Fast 2 Furious
, it felt like the series was being given that direct-to-video treatment with it's no-star cast, but the story was clear and Tokyo at night was an incredible sight. It was pretty much a character itself and elevated the movie quite a bit. The lead character played by Lucas Black never appeared in any of the other movies, but it would be nice if he were included at some point. The series has done well at bringing people back, so I hope it can happen. If you watch the movie, you'll see how he can be worked in.
In conclusion… I enjoyed the ride and found myself watching more for the characters than the action. The Fast & Furious series is one of the few that has gotten better with later installments and I hope the trend continues. I also hope that they don't mess it up, especially with the 7th is being rushed out for a 2014 release.