It's hard to look back at the first film in the 'Furious' franchise without paying heed to the success story that succeeded it. US$6 billion at the global box office doesn't scream humble, and it's strange that it all started with a "tuna on white, no crust."
Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew stage a series of robberies in LA while FBI agent Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) goes undercover to investigate these high-speed thieves. He ends up befriending Toretto - and, more importantly, finds a family. While it's clearly a stealthy 'Point Break' remake, it manages to do better than the actual 'Point Break' remake. The cast has amazing chemistry; you can tell that there was something special here. As a jumping-off point for the franchise we know today, it does really put into perspective just how much this franchise has grown from since humble beginnings and that it would be nothing without that core cast and their chemistry.
One of the things I love about the 'Fast and Furious' franchise is how oddly universal it is. As a lover of musicals whose car knowledge doesn't extend past Lighting McQueen is red (I didn't know manual cars had three pedals until 'Furious 7', I'm a special one), but I love the insane action of later films. Even the original outing still has a lot to offer a viewer like myself, and does really thrive on the energy this cast have. You can feel the friendship brewing in Walker and Diesel from the minute they first met, even more so with the love between Jordana Brewster and Walker. It's one of the shining examples of the right people coming together at the right time.
The cast has amazing chemistry; you can tell that there was something special here.
As for the franchise as it now stands - it is showing fatigue, but there is still fun to be had. I do think it's time for Vin to take a break, maybe focus on the music career he started during lockdown (how did we all forget he released two singles last year) and maybe pause the franchise as a whole, or the main series at least. The 'Fast' franchise is something to celebrate; and the fact that it started off as a small car film and is now a franchise that stands up against 'Marvel', 'Harry Potter' and 'Bond' is both so impressive and insane to think about.
So grab a cold Corona, make a tuna sandwich, pump that Cuban Nos and live your life one-quarter mile at a time on this special 20th anniversary.