THE ROAD TO FAST X

FIND OUT WHAT MAKES THE FAST AND FURIOUS FAMILY TICK

RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW
By Liz Chan
11th May 2023

As Charli XCX once said, "Let's ride." The Fast and Furious franchise will be rolling out its tenth main instalment 'Fast X' next week, featuring an all-star ensemble cast, crashing cars defying the laws of gravity - and of course, the power of family.

Whilst subject to various internet memes, eye-rolls and varying comparisons to their long-lost cousin the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the 'Fast and Furious' movies have also wormed their way into the hearts of those who long to have a fun time at the cinema! So as 'Fast X' explodes into cinemas, let's look back at the franchise and the journey familia has gone through to get to this moment.

Predictions, fun facts, and character speculations. While without much rhyme or reason, I hope this list serves a fun time – just like the 'Fast and Furious' movies.

1) Car Racing

The backbone of these films is, but of course, cars going very fast and very furiously. While this has largely expanded from regular street racing to the slightly more logistically complex and bombastic car (and other assorted vehicles) stunts, the classic street race is back in 'Fast X'.

The trailers show a very determined Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) challenging villain Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa) to a street race to save his family. Newcomer to the franchise Daniela Melchior as Isabel, a "Brazilian street racer with a powerful tie to Dom's past", has also been shown to have her yellow car get totalled in this same race from new TV spots. Although she claims that she could have beaten Toretto if she'd wanted to...

2) New Additions and Comebacks

Apart from Melchior's new character introduction as Isabel, 'Fast X' has also added a growing list of new actors and characters to the legacy cast.

Big blockbuster names such as Oscar winner Brie Larson and Jason Momoa are also joining the fray; Larson playing a new character Tess described to be a "rogue representative from the Agency" and Momoa playing the new big bad Dante who delivers the admittedly hard line of "Never accept death when suffering is owed" in the trailer. He also opens his eyes dramatically while floating in the sea during this line to show he really means business.

Other characters returning include Han played by Sung Kang, who was presumed dead before a comeback in 'F9'. Oscar winner Charlize Theron as Cipher will also be back, with trailers showing her going toe-to-toe with Letty.

3) Honorary Superhero Franchise

I like to regard the 'Fast and Furious' movies as honorary superhero movies because of the sheer absurd inhuman stunts that characters constantly pull.

In real life, it's also amusing to note that the 'Fast' franchise has slowly turned into a comic book movie actor convention, with actors frequent to the action genre making appearances - many of which have found superhero movie fame either after (or prior to) their 'Fast' debuts.

Vin Diesel is coming in fresh off another superhero movie about family - 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3', where he plays Groot.

More of the many names on the list also include... Idris Elba ('Hobbs & Shaw', 'The Suicide Squad'), Brie Larson (the upcoming 'The Marvels', 'Fast X'), Daniela Mechior ('Fast X', 'The Suicide Squad'), Jason Momoa ('Aquaman', 'Fast X'), Dwyane Johnson ('Black Adam', 'Hobbs & Shaw'). And so the list grows...

4) The Soundtracks

While not as much talked about in relation to the films but rather with the cultural impact of their own, I contend that the 'Fast and Furious' soundtracks are largely great! Of course, we have the classic 'Toyko Drift' from 'The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift' (2006) which has been the timeless backdrop for numerous driving internet shitposts. We also have the practically inescapable 'See You Again' from 'Fast & Furious 7' (2015).

I await the 'Fast X' soundtrack with a concerning mix of apprehension and imminent guilty pleasure listening.

5) The Physics of the World of 'Fast and Furious'

In close relation to the superhero movie, the 'Fast' franchise has never been one to obey the laws of physics. While there has been too-many-to-count gravity and simply common sense-defying moments to choose from, my personal favourite is in 'Fast & Furious 7'.

'Furious 7' sees Dom and Brian drive a car out of the window 50 floors up in one of the Etihad Towers and safely landing in the next. How? Why? Huh? What?

'Fast X' will also be seeing more cars going furiously and supernaturally. It seems like Dom will be miraculously manoeuvring two helicopters harpooned to the back of his car with ultimate safety and survival rates.

6) Budget

The more the 'Fast' movies have embraced the defiance of physics through the years, the greater cost that has come at. The first film, 'The Fast and the Furious' (2001) came with a humble price tag of US$38 million. The tenth film, 'Fast X', has an estimated production budget of nearly 9 times that, with the hefty price tag of US$340 million. This brings 'Fast X' to be one of the most expensive films ever made, dear reader, pushing its budget close to 'Avatar: The Way of Water' (2022, US$350 million) and 'Avengers: Infinity War' (2018, US$350 million).

7) Behind the Camera

Besides the enormous actor payments, the production budget has been contributed to by the changing of hands during production. Losing their long-time 'Fast and Furious' director Justin Lin just days after filming started due to "creative differences" had been speculated to lose the studio up to US$1 million a day to keep the crew on standby to film.

'Now You See Me' director Louis Leterrier is the new guiding hand for family to make their comeback to the big screen. With cast members alleging they filmed fights themselves without a director (erasing the existence of poor second-unit directors) and Leterrier himself saying he rewrote the entire third act of the film on his flight to set (he was given 4 days to accept the offer), we will have to wait to see if the behind the scenes action will affect the on-screen action.

8) The Future of 'Fast'

'Fast X' has been in development for almost a decade, with the movies building up to this grand finale. Or rather, semi-grand finale, as 'Fast X Part 2' (title unconfirmed) will be rolling into cinemas next year similar to 'Avengers: Infinity War' and 'Endgame'. The cast has hinted at 'Fast X' ending on a cliffhanger, while Vin Diesel has stated in a Variety interview that the biggest bad of the franchise is yet to come. A character who promotes AI and driverless cars, who comes to "direct odds" with everything the Toretto family stands for.

We'll have to wait for all to be revealed in 'Fast X: Even Faster: Fastvengers Endgame' next year!

9) Long-Lost Siblings

Family is as ever important in the world of 'Fast and Furious'. Of course, the long-lost sibling trope is pushed to its limits with 'Fast and Furious 9' (2021) with John Cena entering the FFCU (Fast and Furious Cinematic Universe) as Jakob Toretto. While Jakob has never been mentioned in the past 8 movies, the franchise doesn't bat an eye.

10) Family

For if there is one thing the 'Fast and Furious' movies are known for, it is the power of family. Dom Toretto is a family man, what can I say? No matter how crazy things get in each movie, the crew of street racers (family) always care for each other, coming together to be something greater (family). This has been the spark of various memes (about family), which I am sure will make a comeback in the weeks coming.

Not just whittled down to a theme, of course, the word family has also been explicitly frequented in the movies a la 'John Wick's signature "Yeah...". The mention of the word family has grown exponentially through the films, starting with a humble count of two in 2001's 'The Fast and the Furious' to a total of 51 in the franchise as of 2019's 'F9'.

To apply this in perspective, the 'Fast X' trailer 1 (3 minutes 42 seconds in length) already has five mentions of the word! Incredible.

And so I leave you with this: 'Fast X' is racing into cinemas next week! Hopefully a little guilty action movie pleasure for us all, with guaranteed physics-defying, family bonding, and car throttling action. If there's one thing the 'Fast' movies are is extremely self-aware about their status as blockbuster action mindless fun. The family word count in this article sits at 17.

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