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Film / The Fast and the Furious (2001)

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"I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else ... For those ten seconds or less, I'm free."
Dominic Toretto

The Fast and the Furious is the first installment of the The Fast and the Furious franchise. Starred Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez and Rick Yune, was directed by Rob Cohen and released in 2001.

Brian O'Conner (Walker) is an undercover LAPD officer looking into a string of highway semi-truck hijackings, which he suspects is linked to ex-convict Dominic "Dom" Toretto (Diesel) and his car shop crew. Brian works to get into their inner circle and comes to respect Dom for his sense of loyalty, which causes problems when his superiors start questioning where Brian's allegiance lies.


  • 555: Dom's cell phone number is 323-555-6439.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Dom explains the significance of his father's car, what happened to his father, and what street racing means to him.
  • All There in the Script:
    • Bilkins' first name is Bob.
    • Dom's father was a pipefitter at the Navy Yard, with Stock Car Circuit aspirations.
    • Brian is from Simi, California and was raised by his uncle, both his parents are dead. His father was a police officer, who had an affair with the wife of his colleague Jack van Patton. Van Patton then ambushed Brian's father and shot him dead.
    • Dom and Mia's father had chased off their mother, to the New York area.
    • At the final race at the railroad tracks, Dom mentions that he has only lost one race in his life - his first, after which, his father beat him.
  • Arc Villain: Johnny Tran, though Dom himself is the mastermind behind the heists Brian is investigating.
  • Artistic License Cars: When Brian blows the engine in his Eclipse, Dom points out that he and Jesse will have to take apart the engine block to fix the damage. Minutes later, Brian is driving at speed to escape the police even though it wouldn't be running or driveable after the race.
  • Artistic License Chemistry: Brian's Eclipse is blown up when Johnny Tran and his gang shoot at it with their Micro Uzis, igniting the nitrous oxide leaking from the broken NOS system, and causing it to explode in a green fireball. There is two things wrong here: first of all, nitrous oxide doesn't burn green. Second, it doesn't burn at all, in fact, nitrous oxide's non-flammability is one of the reasons it's widely used in racing.
  • Artistic License Physics: In the final race, Dom's Dodge Charger pops a wheelie - while also performing a burnout. Performing both at the same time isn't possible as both require the tires to be in different states of traction. A wheelie happens when the tires have enough grip that the engine's torque is redirected into the chassis while a burnout is when the tires do not have enough grip to handle the engine's power.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Refreshingly averted. This also doubles as an example of Shown Their Work: Jesse dropped out of school; 37 to 50% of afflicted adolescents never earn a high school diploma as they either drop out or are expelled for behavioral problems. People with true ADD often find an interest, subject, or hobby that "calms them down" or is able to hold their full and focused attention (such as Jesse's love of cars). They are also at higher risk for things like criminal activity, impaired driving ability, injury, social impairment, drug and nicotine abuse, and poor financial management... all of which Jess exhibits, out of the many possible other adverse effects of the disorder.
  • Badass Biker: Johnny Tran is only seen driving a car once during the film, at Race Wars. Lance is never seen driving a car during the film, and spends the entirety of the movie on a bike of some kind.
  • Badass Boast:
    Dom: "You almost had me? You never had me. You never had your car. Granny shiftin', not double clutchin' like you should. You're lucky that hundred shot of NOS didn't blow the welds on the intake. You almost had me? Now me and the mad scientist [Jesse] gotta rip apart the block and replace the piston rings you fried. Ask any racer, any real racer. It don't matter if you win by an inch or a mile; winning's winning."
  • Batter Up!: The truck driver in the opening heist defends himself with a bat.
  • Book Ends:
    • The truck heist in the climax reveals which characters did what during the truck heist in the opening scene. Dom drives in front of the truck. Vince fires the harpoon to break in the cab and knock out the driver. Leon and Jesse surround the truck, preventing it from moving. And Letty drives under the trailer bed to distract the driver.
    • Before the second heist, Dom tells Letty that he had a dream where they were in Mexico. The post-credits scene reveals that Dom's dream did come true, just not in the way that he envisioned it. He arrives in Mexico as a fugitive.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Johnny fires way more rounds than the submachine gun he's carrying can hold in a magazine during the final chase scene. Furthermore, he's doing so while riding a motorcycle, giving him no realistically-conceivable means of reloading. When they destroy Brian's Eclipse, each of their submachine guns fires like an anti-materiel machine gun, about 150-200 rounds of API ammo each. After so many rounds, any machine gun with one barrel would have gone white hot.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Dom's Establishing Character Moment as this comes when Brian saves him from the police. Dom's just beaten Brian in a race and had no high opinion of him before the rescue, but afterwards he treats Brian with friendship and respect, showing just how important loyalty is to him.
  • Celebrity Paradox: "Area Codes" by Ludacris is being played in the house party, despite Ludacris playing the character Tej from the second movie onward. This begs the question of who made the song they were listening to in the movie's universe.
  • Chest Insignia: One of the few examples of a car variant of this trope. Each member of Dom's street team has a unique livery depicting a flaming robot character on the doors of their personal cars.
    • Dom's RX-7 has a flying robot with an armada of spaceships.
    • Letty's 240SX features a robot knight jousting on a comet.
    • Jesse's Jetta exhibits a robot knight jousting on a rocket.
    • Vince's Maxima depicts a robot shark.
    • Leon's Skyline showcases a robot knight wielding a great sword.
    • Mia's Integra sports a winged robot angel.
    • Brian's Supra brandishes a robot knight throwing a javelin.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Johnny tortures a mechanic when he doesn't have the right parts for a car by nearly making him swallow motor oil.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: This is a major problem for Brian, who is assigned to obtain evidence against Dominic Toretto and his team of truck jackers. He ends up falling for Mia and becomes Toretto's friend. In the end, he chooses to let Toretto go.
  • Conveniently Empty Roads:
  • Creator Cameo: Rob Cohen is the pizza delivery guy who has to take a detour because of a street race. In the DVD Commentary, Cohen refers to himself as a terrible actor who he should have fired.
  • Curse Cut Short: Twice. There's one by Letty at Dom's house party...
    Letty: "You need to shut the f—-"
    • And another one by Brian at the restaurant:
    Brian: "Don't f—-"
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Brian, in his first drag race, uses his nitrous too early and is in danger of losing the race. In desperation, he uses a second nitrous burst, still loses, and severely damages his engine as a result.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Dom's monologue about his dad's death makes it very clear that his Charger was originally supposed to represent this.
  • Death Glare: The look Dom gives Brian during the Undercover Cop Reveal. Brian is clearly very nervous under the glare.
  • Didn't Think This Through: As stated in the Badass Boast above, Brian's modifications to his car (specifically the NOS) nearly break his car during his race with Dom, as he didn't bother to actually think about what went in his car, just caring to go fast enough to beat Dom.
  • Diagonal Billing: Done in the end credits and (to a lesser extent) with the poster, with Paul Walker's name being placed in the bottom-left and Vin Diesel's in the top-right.
  • Dies Wide Open: While fleeing after he performed a drive by on Jesse, Johnny is fatally shot by Brian.
  • Driven to Suicide: Quite literally in this film. After Brian blows his cover, forcing Dom's family to flee, and indirectly causing Jesse to die, Dom, now with nothing but the knowledge of his impending arrest, opts to kill himself by racing the quarter mile one last time, planning to get hit by a train that awaits him on the other side. It doesn't work, obviously.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Dom drives import cars (the Madza RX-7 and the Honda Civic) for most of the film, but starts driving muscle cars as his vehicle/s of choice for the rest of the series. Justified as Dom was afraid of his dad's 1970 Dodge Charger, only getting over his fear when he had to use the car to go after Johnny Tran for killing Jesse.
    • This film is a pretty straightforward, grounded, middle-budget crime drama that features high-octane street racing as its selling point. Compared the post-Tokyo Drift sequels, where the action got so progressively bigger and over-the-top that they became full-on blockbuster action/espionage movies with a few crazy car Chase Scenes to stay roughly on brand.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: A double subversion. Johnny Tran's gang pumps Brian's car full of bullets. Brian and Dom just keep standing next to it as it catches fire without blowing up. Seconds later Dom shouts "NOS!" and the car goes up in a massive fireball as they run away.
  • Evil Is Petty: Johnny and Dom have a deal to stay on each other's respective sides of town. Brian accidentally drives into it while trying to get away from the cops after the street race. At first he seems reasonable enough and leaves without incident. Then a moment later two of his goons come back and shoot up the car. Forcing them to walk.
  • Explosive Overclocking: Brian's use of nitrous in his Eclipse. Both Harry and Edwin point out that the amount he's using and his inexperience in racing means he's likely to destroy the engine. The first shot was enough to strain the engine but being desperate to win the race, he uses a second shot that briefly gets him in the lead but does kill the engine as predicted.
  • Extreme Sports Plot: The street racers are hijacking shipment trucks to fund their activity and a cop goes undercover to infiltrate the group.
  • Fanservice: The two girls making out during the party Vince and the crew throw while waiting for Dom to return.
    • Also a couple of girls in wet t-shirts and thongs at Race Wars.
  • A Father to His Men: Tanner cares deeply about Brian, giving him advice and even trying to keep him off the cigarettes he gave up.
  • First-Episode Twist: Dom Toretto and his crew are criminal truck hijackers.
  • Forbidden Chekhov's Gun: The Dodge Charger in Dom's garage belonged to his father and nobody, not even Dom, dares drive it... until the last ten minutes of the film.
  • Foreshadowing: One of Brian's bosses mentions that truck drivers are arming themselves in response to the threat of robbery. Sure enough, a pivotal scene involves Dom's team trying to rob an armed driver.
  • Gangland Drive-By: Near the end, after the heist scene, the crew returns to Dominic's house but Tran and his cousin zip by on motorcycles, spraying bullets, and killing Jesse.
  • Gunman with Three Names: Referenced when Dom checks Brian's wallet.
    Dom: Brian Earl Spilner. Sounds like a serial killer name. Is that what you are?
  • High-Speed Hijack: A series of these is central to the plot, which is why the LAPD sent Brian undercover. The very beginning of the movie was the target truck being loaded, followed by the heist - we don't know who or why yet, but a gang driving Civics with underglow use a grappling hook to get into and subdue the truck's driver. Towards the end, the Torettos are revealed to be behind the thefts when they try another, failing miserably thanks to a shotgun-toting target.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Averted; Johnny Tran's crew use suppressed Micro Uzis as their weapons, but the guns are still very loud.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...:
    Dom: (to Brian, regarding Mia) You break her heart, I'll break your neck.
  • Instant Emergency Response: Immediately before the start of the first race, a guy listening on the police band says that all the cops in the area are responding to a call somewhere else, so it's safe to race. The race is a quarter-mile straight line drag race that literally lasts ten seconds. A couple minutes after the race is over, the same guy reports that the cops have been informed of the races, and all of a sudden patrol vehicles are everywhere, despite them starting out in another part of town and having only learned about the races within the past five minutes at most.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: The Tran family are inferred to be Vietnamese-Americans due to their surnames (Tran and Nguyen). They are played by the Korean-American Rick Yune and the Filipino-Chinese Reggie Lee.
  • It's a Long Story: Following the encounter with Johnny Tran:
    Brian: What was the deal back there?
    Dom: It's a long story.
    Brian: We have a twenty mile hike. Humor me.
    Dom: A business deal that went sour. Plus I made the mistake of sleeping with his sister.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: One of the reasons Johnny Tran has bad blood with Dom, who slept with his sister.
  • Never Going Back to Prison: Dom spent two years in prison for assault and tells Brian that he'd rather die than go back.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: The crew use instant knockout darts instead of bullets to hijack trucks.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Dom is prone to this. The film reveals how much of a "model of self-control" he is by showing pictures of a guy Toretto nearly beat to death with a three-quarter inch torque wrench in an act of personal revenge. Dom admits this to Brian himself without prompt, and it's heavily implied he harbors remorse for permanently disabling the guy.
  • Noble Demon: It's easy to forget that Dom's the villain of the movie, the notorious carjacker that California law enforcement has been chasing for months. He's a caring Team Dad, never goes into a carjacking with lethal firearms, and when he confesses having nearly beat a man to death you can just tell he's been regretting it every day of his life.
  • Oh, Crap!: Dom and Brian when they realise the latter's Eclipse is about to explode after Johnny Tran's gang shoot at it.
  • Police Are Useless: The trucker who kept a loaded twelve-gauge on the passenger seat of his cab did more to suppress the robberies than the police did. All Brian accomplished was to accidentally finger the wrong guy, and fail to find any evidence linking Dom to the robberies until the climax.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Vince consistently bullies Brian with homophobic slurs, as well as fighting him and claiming he's a cop which to street racers would be worse than the false claim of being gay.
  • Product Placement:
    • The crew steal goods from Panasonic.
    • A Pizza Hut van is held up by a street race.
    • "You can have any brew you want, so long as it's Corona".
  • Racing the Train: Brian and Dom do this at the end while also drag-racing against each other. They both make it.
  • Recycled Premise: Point Break (1991), except with car racing instead of surfing.
  • Red Herring: About halfway through the film, Hector is presented as a possible suspect behind the theft of the DVD players when he comes into the store Brian works at and orders parts for a few Honda Civics (the cars used to pull of the thefts). He's not, and it's later revealed that Dominic is behind the heists.
  • Resurrect the Wreck: The Supra Brian gets to replace his Eclipse looks like it had a serious accident. Fortunately, the original engine is still in it and intact, so they get to fixing it up. When they finish, the end result easily handles a race against a Ferrari.
  • Revised Ending: An alternate ending titled "More than Furious" was filmed, in which Tanner drops Brian off at the Toretto home, where he encounters Mia packing, intending to move away. Brian reveals that he resigned from the LAPD, who let him go quietly, and that he wants another chance with her. When Mia tells him that it's not going to be that simple, Brian tells her that he's got time. This ending was released in the collection bundle DVD version.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Jessie is the only good guy to die. His death establishes the fact that Johnny Tran does not kid around and is very dangerous.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Mentioned as the reason Dom and Letty got together. Beforehand, it's a one-way Precocious Crush from her to him.
    Mia: Letty grew up just down the street. She was into cars since she was like ten years old. Dom always had her attention. Then she turned sixteen...
    Brian: And she had Dom's attention.
    Mia: Yeah, it's funny how that works out.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Dom attempts to go after Tran armed with a shotgun, only to end up chasing the guy down with his Charger. The trucker who fights back against Dom and the crew is armed with a sawed-off, over and under double-barreled shotgun.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The obscured truck driver in the final heist was an homage to Duel.
    • During the climax, Brian chases Tran and his henchman down a hill in a nod to the famous Car Chase in Bullitt.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Played with; Brian was an undercover cop while Dom, Letty, Leon, Vince, and Jesse were professional thieves.
  • Social Circle Filler: Leon seems to exist purely to add numbers to Dom's crew and never does anything of significance.
  • Sour Prudes: Dom's girlfriend Letty temporarily uses this position (without seeming to have it as an integrated part of her personality) as she chases off two girls hitting on Dom at the first race.
    Letty: I smell [sniffs] skanks. Why don't you ladies pack it up before I leave tread marks on your faces?
  • The Stinger: Dom is shown driving along a beach in Mexico.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When Johnny Tran and his crew show up:
    Dom: Oh, great.
    Brian: What?
    Dom: It's gonna be a long-ass night, that's what.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Dominic Toretto, already the most badass character in the movie, manages to take yet another level after Brian rescued Vince from the truck and revealed that he's a cop. Dom used to be primarily an import racer and scared of his father's supercharged 900hp Dodge Charger streetmachine. But when he sets out to find Jessie before Tran does, he has overcome his fear of the black Mopar brute (which is the only car available to him anyway) and changed into the American muscle aficionado of the sequels.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal:
    • Brian reveals to Mia that he is a cop at the end of the movie. The viewer has known this all along but it allows some drama between Brian and the girl he has been sleeping with and eventually persuades her to help him track down the truck thieves.
    • Several scenes later, it's repeated when O'Conner calls for police back-up and an ambulance after rescuing Vince. Dom, who had considered Brian his brother up to this point, has to seriously restrain himself from not beating the living shit of him. Instead, he takes off.
  • Under the Truck: The climax sequence mirrors the opening sequence, revealing each character's role in Dom's heists. This scene implies that this was Letty's signature move.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Dominic's Dodge Charger (which was built by his late father and is revealed midway through the movie to be some sort of intimidating uber-car) getting completely pulverized by a semi truck in the movie's last drag race is the most remembered instance of this in the entire series.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Leon completely disappears after this film. Potentially justified; Mia explained in this film that while she, Dom, Vince, and Letty all grew up together, Leon and Jesse "just kinda showed up one night and never left", so he didn't have the same familial bond to the group that Vince and Letty did. It still doesn't explain why he's never even mentioned in later movies, though.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Bryan gives Dominic a Toyota Supra that was probably intimidating at some point, but now looks like a building fell on it. The interior machinery, however, is all intact, so an impressed Dominic and crew immediately get to work repairing the outer damage.