Five years after leaving Los Angeles, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is hiding in Panama City after his new crew, which included Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Han (Sung Kang), Leo Tego (Tego Calderon), Rico Santos (Don Omar), and Cara Mirtha (Mirtha Michelle), disbanded. However, when his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) tells him Letty has been murdered, he returns to LA to find the killer. Meanwhile, Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), now an FBI Agent, is tracking down a mysterious drug lord known as Braga. Toretto’s and O’Conner’s searches bring them together once again as they travel to Mexico to bring down Braga.
I have stopped having high hopes for the Fast and Furious franchise. The first movie was good, but the second and third installments I found lackluster. They had the cool car sequences that mad the The Fast and the Furious so enjoyable, but they lacked anything worth caring about. However, Fast & Furious looks like the franchise is back from its slump.
For one thing, there is an actual resemblance of a plot this time around. Although it is still just used as an excuse to show off fast cars and furious driving (heh, I made a funny), there was less focus on the cars and more on the characters. There were a few parts where I had to think about what was going on, something I didn’t expect I needed to do with this movie, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
Fast & Furious goes back to its roots and begins with an exciting highway heist. This explosive opening set the tone for the rest of the film, just like in The Fast and the Furious. I think the absence of a thrilling starting sequence in 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift failed to set the tone they were looking for, so the expectations were set low early on. However, you know right away the mood for the rest of this film.
Brian O’Conner is the main focus of the movie. There is a lot more character work than I was expecting, which isn’t a bad thing. The film centers around the concept of is Brian a good guy disguised as a criminal or a criminal pretending to a good guy? It makes for an interesting dynamic in the film and is a much better character study for Brian than 2 Fast 2 Furious. Because there is more of a character focus, there aren’t as many car sequences as previous entries. There are still plenty, just not as much as frequent as before.
Fast & Furious brings the series out of its decline in quality. O’Conner’s character is at the center of the movie, which takes away from some of the action, but it’s a fair trade-off. An actual plot helps to set it above the previous films, and an exciting opening harkens back to the series’ past. The franchise is in good shape so long as it can continue the momentum started here.
For the rest of the Fast & Furious franchise, check out my reviews for The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, and Furious 7.