4YE’s Big Movie Binge: Fast & Furious (2009)

Credit: Universal Pictures

Fast & Furious is the fourth film to be released for Universal Picture’s The Fast and The Furious franchise and is largely considered to be instrumental in rebooting the franchise, injecting new life into a series of films that had lost its edge with 2 Fast 2 Furious. Chronologically, it’s the third film of the series despite being the fourth film made. Despite the confusing chronology, Fast & Furious is easily at the top of my list of the three movies I’ve already seen. Intense, action-packed, and full of hot cars and even hotter people, Fast & Furious proves that testosterone-fueled car films can still handle good plots and good writing.

Five years after Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) lets Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) walk away from being captured by the police, Dom and Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) along with Han (Sung Kang), Tego (Tego Calderon), and Rico (Don Omar) have been stealing gasoline tankers from truckers in the Dominican Republic. When the heat gets too hot for them, Dom leaves the team and leaves Letty. Letty returns to LA to Mia (Jordana Brewster) only to get murdered. Dom returns seeking vengeance. Brian, on the other hand, has become an FBI agent. He’s tracking a drug lord named Braga. Turns out, the man who killed Letty is one of Braga’s men. This puts Dom and Brian on a collision course with each other. However, they work through their differences and come together to take down Braga.

The return to the Dom and Brian bromance is what makes this film catapult clear over 2 Fast 2 Furious. Diesel is just the right amount of relaxed and enraged in this film that it’s no surprise they made him the “villain” in Fate of the Furious. For the first time, Walker’s performance is overshadowed by Diesel’s and it’s a breath of fresh air. In fact, my own quibble with the film is that Brian doesn’t seem himself. Of course, that comes from him being an FBI agent. However, I think the writers did that on purpose to put Diesel in the spotlight. This is not Brian’s story in this film, this is Dom’s and it shows in everything, the writing, the directing, the cinematography, everything.

Fast & Furious is much tighter than the other films. Stylistically, director Justin Lin is sure to employ plenty of close-ups of the cars, the characters, and the environment, especially when Dom and Mia visit the crash site where Letty’s car was flipped and she was gunned down. It made the film feel claustrophobic and, for me, it made it a lot more intense. It works as a revenge thriller because of the way Lin shot it. Getting into Dom’s headspace for the majority of the film was a treat. Dom is by far the most interesting character in the franchise next to Letty and Roman, so this film was truly the best film to use to steer the franchise in a different direction.

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Shelby Arnold

Shelby is currently reviewer extraordinaire for 4YE. She is also currently the co-editor of Arkansas Tech University's paper The Arka Tech. She runs her own movie review blog called Shellin' Out Reviews where she crossposts many of her reviews. She previously was a staff writer at PopWrapped.

Shelby started writing at the age of 13 and has been hooked ever since. She's currently going to school at ATU for Creative Writing and English with a minor in Film Studies. She hopes to one day be a professor of film, a film critic, and a screenwriter. (Can you tell she likes the movies?)

She hopes to walk the red carpet one day. She contributes a long list of friends, co-workers, professors, and writers as the inspiration for her dreams and goals.

You can find Shelby on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
Shelby Arnold
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