Fast & Furious is an attempt to course-correct after Tokyo Drift didn’t do as well as planned, moving the focus from “Street Racing Movie with crime elements” to “Crime movie with street racing elements” and bringing the characters of Dom & Brian back to center stage. Unfortunately, the film does this by cribbing from 2 Fast 2 Furious heavily.
The premise of the film is that Dom & Lettie have been on the run since the end of the first movie, with the two running fuel heists in the Dominican Republic with a crew that includes Han (putting this before Tokyo Drift). With the heat closing in, Dom leaves so he can better protect his Family (though we haven’t had the “I don’t have friends, I’ve got Family” line yet).
When we catch back up with Dom, he’s learned that Lettie has been murdered by a particularly nasty narcotrafficker, which puts him back in the orbit of Brian, who is also trying to catch said narcotrafficker with the FBI. The two end up teaming up to bring Lettie’s killer down.
To get the self-plagiarism out of the way – like the second film, the film has Brian working for the FBI 9which doesn’t trust him) to go after a drug kingpin who uses street-racers to move product and who kills the racers after each run, and recruits a new batch through street raced auditions. What differentiates this from 2 Fast 2 Furious is replacing Brian’s childhood friend Roman with Dom, and by extension Dom’s sister, and adding the desire to avenge Lettie’s murder.
Sure, the car stunts are different, as is the landscape (the desert out near California and Nevada instead of Miami and the Everglades). It feels like something of a cover performance, but one with the more iconic band lineup performing something from a less well-regarded lead vocalist.
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