|They get progressively better-stick it out!|
I'm going to stray from the normal writing a bit here, to touch on something of interest to me, having now finished the full set of "Fast and Furious" movies.
I was still in high school when the first movie came out. I remember seeing it with my friend Tyler, who was way more into cars than I was. I'm pretty sure we recognized the bad acting, and somewhat cheesy plot line at the time. All I really remember is everyone pulled out of the parking lot that night trying to peel out and show off their basic cars, in an effort to imitate the movie.
When 2 Fast 2 Furious came out, I recall seeing it more out of obligation (I don't like leaving parts of a series unseen if I've seen one). I recall being more entertained with the addition of Tyrese Diggs in the part of Roman. He added a nice layer of humor to the series.
It was after this point, though, I lost complete interest in the series.
About a year ago, in an effort to collect some digital movies, I bought the Fast and Furious bundle on iTunes (having secretly always wanted to see the newer additions). By this time, Furious 7 had been in and out of theaters, and had received fairly good reviews.
I watched FF1 and FF2 again, but stopped a few minutes into Tokyo Drift. About a week ago, with some time on my hands, I decided to finish out the series (still skipping Tokyo Drift).
FF4 was pretty good, and re-established the flavor from the first movie. It also introduced some intriguing new characters, and a few interesting plot points. I moved on to FF5, and found it to be the best in the series up to that point. With the addition of Dwayne Johnson (the Rock)'s character, the series took on a whole new flavor. More than just wild car driving, it became almost Jason Bourne in its action sequences and gun fights. Added to that was the trademark crazy driving, and the combo worked.
Mentally, I considered that perhaps this was the beginning of a better "trilogy" of these movies. At this point I was still ignoring Tokyo Drift, the 3rd movie in the series.
FF 6 ended up being the best of the entire series in my opinion, if for no other reason than it brought back all the great characters from FF5, and included the most insane/over the top (CGI I'm sure) stunt I've seen in movies recently. For the record, FF6 and FF7 are basically two movies tied together in plot line, much like FF4 and FF5 tie together.
Now, what I realized only today as I pondered the series as a whole, is that chronologically, Tokyo Drift (FF3) actually did have a place in the series, and contained events that did tie back into the other movies (albeit loosely).
Now, I'll have to go back and watch FF3 to get the full cohesion there, but basically the chronological order of the series becomes the following:
Fast and the Furious (FF1)
2 Fast 2 Furious (FF2)
Fast and Furious (FF4)
Fast Five (FF5)
The Fast and Furious 6 (FF6)
Tokyo Drift (FF3)
Furious 7 (FF7)
Events taking place after FF6 and before FF7 directly relate to events found in Tokyo drift, despite it having been released years earlier. Apparently there is a special feature on one of the discs that bridges the gap with a short film, so I'll have to hunt that down for clarity. But, basically one of the main team members in FF5 and FF6 ends up having a role throughout FF3 and somewhat in FF7.
So, there you have it. The Fast and the Furious series is actually somewhat well thought out, and a cohesive universe as a whole. It's also interesting to note that as the movie progress Dom (Vin Diesel) becomes more and more superhuman, as he begins surviving some pretty crazy stunts by time we get to FF6 and 7. It's an interesting transition from tough guy racer in FF1 to essentially Super human tough guy in FF7.
So, are the films a bit cheesy? Yes. Is the acting a bit sub-par? Yes. But, would I recommend checking all the movies out? Most definitely.
Having seen them all now (Save Tokyo drift which I will watch soon), I can say that they just get more and more interesting as they progress. What starts as somewhat entertaining street racing films, became essentially spy thrillers with cars by the end of the series. And, it has good closure in FF7 (though more movies are planned)- so for a series as a whole up to this point, it wraps up well.
I would suggest, now that I'm more informed, watching the movies in chronological order.
It's possible to break them into pairs or trilogies mentally to help distinguish as well.
FF1 + FF2
Anyway, I know this is a departure from the usual, and probably only interesting to a select few, but occasionally I like to put something like this out there for the benefit of anyone who cares.
Hope it helps. They mature as they progress, and become more like all out action movies than just street racing movies. Though, cars and car stunts are always a big part of them.