By Jack Seale.
THE GANG TAKES SHAPE
Cop Paul Walker wonders whether LA street racer Vin Diesel (“I live my life a quarter mile at a time”) and his girlfriend Michelle Rodriguez are doing more than just ignore the Highway Code in The Fast and the Furious (2001), and the core of the gang that will one day make Furious huge takes shape. By the end, they’ve killed some gangsters and formed a bond.
THE ONE WITHOUT VIN DIESEL
No Vin Diesel in 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), but did Paul Walker really need him? Working undercover to atone for his crimes in the first film, he still managed to launch a Yenko Camaro off a jetty onto a drug baron’s yacht, capture him and rescue a hot customs agent (Eva Mendes). Actually, yes, Diesel was still missed.
THE BEST ONE FOR PETROLHEADSF&F mainstays Justin Lin (director) and Chris Morgan (screenwriter) climbed aboard and the franchise introduced new characters and broke the series chronology. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) takes place after Fast & Furious 6, with Lucas Black as a boy racer driving for his life having crossed the Yakuza. The best Furious film for pure petrolheads.
THE SHIFT TO BLOCKBUSTER BEGINSFast & Furious (2009) began the shift from street-smart racer movies to behemothic blockbusters. Walker’s cop and Diesel’s racer-thief renew their alliance in Mexico, seeking vengeance for Rodriguez’s offscreen murder. The new F&F was starting to gather momentum...
THE CAR HEIST THAT’S ON A TRAINFast Five (2011) announces itself as a major upgrade with a phenomenal train heist, before melding the best characters from previous instalments into an Ocean’s 11/Expendables dream team. Dwayne Johnson adds heft as a law-enforcement antagonist – and the final chase, with two supercars dragging a stolen bank vault out of Rio de Janeiro, is off the scale.
THE PHYSICS-DEFYING LEAPWhile a back-from-the-dead Michelle Rodriguez battles through an amnesia subplot, the story of Fast & Furious (2013) follows a rogue special ops soldier (Luke Evans) with a Bond-villain plan and builds to an unbelievable moment: Diesel flying through the air to catch Rodriguez, who’s been catapulted off the roof of a speeding tank.
THE NEW BEEF MOUNTAINPaul Walker’s death during filming almost sunk Furious 7 (2015), but rewrites, stand-ins and spooky CGI enabled it to become the sixth highest-grossing film of all time. As Jason Statham arrives to form a new beef mountain for Diesel and Johnson to pound, Furious 7 unleashes an astounding mix of set pieces and punch-ups, but ends as an emotional tribute to Walker.
THE FINAL TRILOGY BEGINS...So, what to expect from Fast & Furious 8 (2017)? Diesel, Rodriguez, Statham and Johnson are all back. Joining them – in what looks like an international heist/spy caper on an even bigger scale than Furious 7 – is Charlize Theron as an icy villain. Plus Helen Mirren as Jason Statham’s mum! It’s the first chapter in what’s bound to be an uncompromisingly full throttle final trilogy.
Ready for the eighth instalment? Get times and tickets here.