Consisting of a whopping seven movies – and with an eighth already planned – the Fast and Furious franchise has been putting Vin Diesel in fast cars since 2001. The seventh movie in the series, aptly named Furious Seven, hits theaters this week, so here’s a crash course on everything you need to know about each of the films in order to bring you up to … well, speed.
The Fast and the Furious
Directed by Rob Cohen. Produced by Neal H. Moritz. Written by Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, and David Ayer. Release date: June 22, 2001.
The Fast and the Furious was the first in the Fast and Furious series, both chronologically – since this is a series that does not have all of its events happen in the order in which they were released as films – and by being the first one to be released. It introduced us to four character mainstays in the franchise – as well as a couple who would appear in at least one other installment – got us to begin thinking about how important family is, and gave us some decent car scenes. It also made the careers of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker.
Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker): Our leading character. A detective working for the LAPD who is sent undercover by the FBI to investigate a series of on-the-road thefts by people who drive cars really well. He used to be in trouble with the law for boosting car, but is now clean. He falls in love with Mia Toretto.
Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel): The leader of a gang of street racers who drive cars really well. His motto is “I live my life a quarter-mile at a time,” which is this series’ “YOLO.” He is barred from official races after beating on someone nearly to death with a wrench.
Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster): Dom’s sister. Brian’s love interest. Not part of Dom’s gang and not happy about Dom’s criminal activity, because she worries. She’s also an exceptional driver, which serves as foreshadowing for later.
Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez): Dom’s long-time girlfriend, part of the crew, often second in command. Not a particularly relevant character in this film, but will become one later on, starting with Fast & Furious.
Vince (Matt Schulze): Dom’s friend since childhood. Part of the crew. Will appear again in Fast Five.
Jesse (Chad Lindberg): Dom’s friend, the “extra” one who exists in order to die to hammer home the importance the movie places on family. Part of the crew.
Johnny Tran (Rick Yune): The film’s villain. He runs a rival gang and is a suspect in the hijackings Brian is investigating.
Agent Bilkins (Thom Barry): The FBI agent leading the investigation. He’ll appear again in 2 Fast 2 Furious.
Brian O’Conner wants to get into Dominic Toretto’s gang by beating him in a street race. He doesn’t win, but, he does help Dom escape from the cops after the race, thus earning his respect. That earns him a place in Dom’s gang, which essentially makes him part of the “family,” even though Dom and his sister, Mia, are the only ones who accept him; the others, particularly Vince, are hostile toward him. Brian and Mia begin to date right after he joins the group.
The FBI moves in on Johnny Tran after Brian gives the word – suspecting Tran and remaining willfully ignorant that Dom is more likely behind it – but we find out that Tran is innocent. The truth becomes clear: Dom and his crew are behind the hijackings.
Brian confronts Dom about his “other dealings,” under the guise that he wants in on them. Jesse loses his father’s car to Tran in a big race and then runs away afterward; this leads to Jesse being killed in a drive-by shooting later on. Tran thinks Dom set the SWAT team on him, which puts the idea in Dom’s head that there’s an undercover cop in his team, something he suspected earlier when Brian was caught in his garage, even though Brian made up an excuse.
Brian tells Mia that he’s a cop after Dom leaves to pull a dangerous job. Brian comes to the rescue to save Vince – finally earning his respect and approval. Brian blows his cover to everyone else by calling medical personnel to save Vince’s life.
Brian chases after Dom the next day, since Brian is still a cop and Dom is his mark. They have an impromptu race, something that will become a staple in the series. Dom crashes, the car is totaled, but Dom is okay. Brian gives Dom his car, allowing Dom to escape from the police. Brian, too, walks away as the credits begin to roll, leaving his career as a police officer behind. A post-credits scene sees Dom driving around in Baja, Mexico.
Is It Any Good?
It’s a dumb and relatively shallow action movie that’s more about the cars than any deeper themes. There are hints there – “it’s not how you stand by your car; it’s how you race your car,” for instance – and the “importance of family” theme begins to show up, but these are only the beginnings of what the series would become. It has some decent racing and chase scene, but mostly ignores its characters and potentially interesting developments to focus on the cars – and it takes itself far too seriously. Unless you’re a big fan of fast cars being driven reasonably well, it’s not worth seeing.
2 Fast 2 Furious
Directed by John Singleton. Produced by Neal H. Moritz. Written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. Release date: June 6, 2003.
The Fast and the Furious was a far bigger success than anyone anticipated. The problem was: How do you continue it? Brian O’Conner was our protagonist in the last film, even if he wasn’t all that interesting. 2 Fast 2 Furious follows Brian once again, but in terms of continuity functions more like a spin-off than a true sequel. It would take until Fast & Furious before we’d get a real sequel to The Fast and the Furious. 2 Fast 2 Furious was also the only movie that, in no way, shape, or form would feature Dominic Toretto.
Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker): Our leading character for the second straight film. A former LAPD detective who is now a wanted fugitive after allowing his friend, Dominic Toretto, escape in the last film. He now does street races in order to make money.
Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson): Brian’s long-time friend who went to jail because of him; he’s currently on house arrest. They team up in this movie and reinvigorate their friendship. His last appearance until Fast Five, when he becomes part of the main cast.
Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes): A US Customs agent working undercover as the love interest to the film’s villain, Carter Verone. She and Brian are love interests. Her only main appearance, she has a cameo in the post-credits sequence of Fast Five.
Tej Parker (Chris “Luacris” Bridges): A former street racer who now spends his time hosting and organizing races. He will become a main character in Fast Five.
Carter Verone (Cole Hauser): The film’s villain. A drug lord the US Customs Service wants to bring down. His only appearance in the series.
Agent Bilkins (Thom Barry): An FBI officer taking part in the undercover operation. He hates Brian for letting Dom go and for running away.
Taking place a short while after The Fast and the Furious, Brian O’Conner is now a fugitive and a street racer. After one race, he meets Monica, who, along with both the FBI and Customs, recruits him to help take down a drug lord, Carter Verone. Brian agrees as long as he can pick his own partner; he picks a former friend, Roman. Verone needs new drivers to help smuggle drugs and/or money from one place to another, which is how Brian and Roman will get into Verone’s group. If both men are able to aid in bringing Verone to justice, both of their records will be wiped clean; they will be free men again.
After an audition run, which both men pass, Brian and Roman are hired as part of Verone’s crew. Brian and Roman have a love-hate relationship with one another, but during the challenges provided to them in the film, they once again become friends.
The two wind up performing a job for Verone, who tries to double-cross them. He kidnaps Monica and he plans to kill them. But, thanks to teamwork and good driving, Brian and Roman are able to save the day, rescue Monica, take down Verone, and walk away with some stolen money, because we need to know that they’re not perfect – future movies will play to this moral ambiguity.
The film exists to give us a lot of car chases and to establish Roman Pearce as a character. Outside of that, and introducing Tej – who isn’t a major character in this film, even if he’d become one later on – it serves very little purpose in the Fast and Furious canon.
Is It Any Good?
2 Fast 2 Furious is probably the worst and least important film in the franchise. The plot is generic and very little happens, the actors are terrible, the characters aren’t that good, and even the car scenes are poor, even if the cars themselves are nicer than in the last film. Only two of the characters become important later on – they’re not good characters, either – and it takes several films to get to that point; by then, we’ve mostly forgotten about them anyway. Oh, and the soundtrack is incredibly annoying. 2 Fast 2 Furious, even for the Fast and Furious movies, is bad.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Directed by Justin Lin. Produced by Neal H. Moritz. Written by Chris Morgan. Release date: June 16, 2006.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is such an odd film in the Fast and Furious canon. Initially looking like a simple spin-off, we eventually learn that, despite being released third, it took place after Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Furious 6, placing it sixth chronologically. It introduced to us Han, who became a main character in Fast Five, despite being killed off in this film. Still, it wasn’t until the end of Furious 6, when we learn who was behind Han’s death, when it really became important. What was once a skippable Fast and Furious movie suddenly because worth seeing. It also served as the first Fast and Furious entry to be directed by Justin Lin; he would then go on to direct the next three chapters.
Sean Boswell (Lucas Black): Our leading character. He’s a 17-year-old who is really good at driving cars but is terrible at school and gets in trouble with the law. He gets sent to live with his estranged father in Tokyo after a dangerous street race. This was his first and, until Furious Seven, only appearance.
Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang): One of the series’ most beloved characters, despite debuting in a spin-off. He hires Sean, becomes his friend, and teaches him the way of drifting. He would later appear in Fast & Furious, Fast Five and Furious 6.
Takashi/DK (Brian Tee): The film’s villain. His uncle is a Yakuza head, so he’s mean to people because of the power that grants him.
Neela (Nathalie Kelley): Sean’s love interest and the primary object over which DK and Sean fight. She is never seen after this film.
Sean Boswell is a racing fiend but, like all street racers in this series, is constantly in trouble with the law. He races a school bully at the beginning of the film and, despite winning, once again gets in trouble with the authorities. It’s just a way for him to be forced to leave America and go live with his father in Tokyo, where street racing has evolved to feature drifting, like you do in the videogames.
It’s in Tokyo where Sean meets Han. Han is business partners with DK, whose uncle is a Yakuza boss. Han teaches Sean how to drift, and in return Sean works for him, collecting money. Sean also falls for DK’s girlfriend, Neela, because they’re going to fight over a girl. Han and Sean become fast friends, with Han telling Sean that he trusts his character, something rare in his life. Somehow, in just a few scenes, their duo did something that Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson couldn’t do in an entire movie. Things get heated between the team of Han/Sean and DK, which leads to a massive chase scene through the streets of Tokyo as DK chases, rams and shoots at both Sean and Han. Sean gets away, but Han winds up being hit not by Sean, but by a “random” car, and dies in an explosion. His death matters because he’s got actual character development, marking the first dramatically powerful moment in the series. His death becomes a central focus in Furious Seven, as it will revolve around our main cast of characters fighting against the man who was behind Han’s death.
Eventually, the climactic battle – a “Loser Leaves Japan”
match race – between Sean and DK happens, which sees DK try to cheat but lose after driving off the mountain. Sean wins, gets the girl, and is allowed to remain in Japan.
Our final scene shows Sean – now called “DK,” since that stands for “Drift King” – pull up for a race against a man who is later revealed to be Dominic “Dom” Toretto, seeing Vin Diesel return to the series after being absent from 2 Fast 2 Furious and for most of this one. Dom claims that Han used to be part of his crew; the next three films in the series show us what happened during that time.
Is It Any Good?
The drifting element adds a much-needed rejuvenation to the race and chase scenes, even though it becomes too heavily featured to remain enjoyable. It’s a film that’s retroactively improved, not gotten worse, because of the added importance placed upon it. It was initially an inconsequential spin-off, but now that it’s become a pivotal film, it’s become better. The Tokyo setting is fun, it’s got a slick look, and its final scene is fun just because it sees a return of Vin Diesel to the franchise, something that would pave the way for the future.
Fast & Furious
Directed by Justin Lin. Produced by Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, and Michael Fottrell. Written by Chris Morgan. Release date: April 3, 2009.
The oddly and confusingly named Fast & Furious functioned as the first true sequel to The Fast and the Furious. It took eight years to get here, but we finally arrived. The film was the first to be co-produced by Vin Diesel, who returned to the series in a big role here, and would continue to do so in future installments. We saw the death of a major character, Letty, we reunite Brian and Dom, and we saw a few characters who would eventually become major players in small roles.
Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel): The leader of a crew of people drive cars reasonably well and use those skills to steal from truckers. Spends most of the film hunting down the man who killed his girlfriend. Had a large role in The Fast and the Furious and a cameo at the end of Tokyo Drift.
Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker): A former LAPD detective who is now an FBI agent tasked with bringing down a drug lord named Arturo Braga (Robert Miano). In The Fast and the Furious, he allowed Dom to escape, and in 2 Fast 2 Furious he brought down a different drug lord.
Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster): Dom’s sister. The former love interest of Brian.
Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez): Dom’s long-time girlfriend. She’s part of his hijacking crew. She was working undercover for Brian when she died, something Dom doesn’t find out until late in the film; she did it in exchange for clearing Dom’s record. Her death becomes a focus once again in Furious 6.
Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang): Killed off in Tokyo Drift, we find out that Fast & Furious takes place before that film, when Han was still a part of Dom’s crew. Included because he’s a fan favorite character, and later because his death kickstarts the plot of Furious Seven. Becomes a primary cast member in Fast Five.
Arturo Braga (John Ortiz): Fast & Furious‘ villain. He’s a drug lord who transports his drugs by hiring reasonably good drivers to drive them across the border. He would appear again in Furious 6
Gisele (Gal Gadot): A liaison for Braga, she becomes part of Dom’s crew in future films. Han’s eventual love interest.
Leo (Tego Calderón): A Spanish-speaking member of Dom’s crew. Friends with Rico. Comic relief. Becomes a primary cast member in Fast Five.
Rico Santos (Don Omar): A Spanish-speaking member of Dom’s crew. Friends with Leo. Comic relief. Becomes a primary cast member in Fast Five.
Ben Stasiak (Shea Whigham): An FBI agent with whom Brian is not particularly close. Will appear again in Furious 6.
Taking place years after The Fast and the Furious and 2 Fast 2 Furious, but before Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious opens with one of the hijackings that Dom and his crew pull off. It doesn’t go flawlessly, and as a result of both its lack of success and one of Han’s garages being raided, the crew members decide to split up to avoid getting caught by the police; they will reunite in future films. Dom worries everyone else – they’re his “family” – so he even leaves Letty. Meanwhile, Brian is busy busting gangsters in Los Angeles, hoping to get a lead on drug lord Arturo Braga.
Dom hides out in Panama City, only to learn that Letty, his girlfriend, has been murdered. That brings Dom and his sister, Mia, to Los Angeles, where he’s still wanted by the FBI. Dom goes to Letty’s crash sit and uses his Arkham-style detective vision to determine how Letty was killed, which leads to him hunting the same guy as Brian.
The two compete in a 2 Fast 2 Furious-esque “audition” race, the winner of which gets to work for Braga. Dom wins, but Brian gets the FBI to arrest a member of Braga’s team and takes his spot. The two have a love-hate relationship, much like Brian and Roman had in the second film. They put aside their issues in order to get to Braga, and eventually become friends again. Family sticks together, after all.
After Brian and Dom steal $60 million worth of heroin from Braga, they set up a meeting that will allow the FBI to capture him. It doesn’t go well – the FBI go after the wrong man – and Dom’s career as an FBI agent is put on hold. The two head to Mexico to put an end to Braga and his second-in-command for good. They do so, after a lengthy chase scene. Dom allows himself to be captured afterward, claiming that, finally, he’s tired of running. The film’s last scene leads directly into Fast Five, which sees Dom, Mia, Leo, and Rico headed toward the prison bus in which Dom is being transported.
Is It Any Good?
With perhaps the best action in the series up to this point, as well as being the first true sequel to The Fast and the Furious, Fast & Furious is a satisfying movie in the series. It gets incredibly cheesy at times – Dom’s “detective vision” scene, for instance – but it’s a fast-paced movie with good car chases, decent characters, and it set the table well for future installments. It’s also the last film in the franchise that’s really focused on racing; following installments would go in different directions, just using cars as the primary tools.
Directed by Justin Lin. Produced by Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, and Michael Fottrell. Written by Chris Morgan. Release date: April 29, 2011.
Fast Five served as a change in direction for the Fast and Furious franchise. No longer was the focus on races, but on a large, ensemble cast, with bigger action scenes that more often than not just happened to feature a large focus on cars. It started to capitalize on points that occurred earlier on, and it is kind of fun to see all of these earlier characters in the same movie. The series’ continuity started to matter more here, too. Even if it’s not the best film in the world, or even in the series, it represented an important step for the Fast and Furious franchise.
Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel): The leader of a crew of people drive cars reasonably well and use those skills to steal things from people. Had a large role in The Fast and the Furious, had a cameo in Tokyo Drift, and was a co-lead in Fast & Furious.
Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker): A former LAPD detective and also now a former FBI agent who has become a criminal working for Dom. He is dating Mia, and serves as the film’s co-lead. He was the lead of The Fast and the Furious and 2 Fast 2 Furious, as well as the co-lead of Fast & Furious.
Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster): Dom’s sister. Once again the love interest of Brian, those two rekindling their romance near the end of Fast & Furious and making it “official” in Fast Five. After years of waiting, she finally becomes part of Dom’s crew.
Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang): Killed off in Tokyo Drift, had a brief appearance in Fast & Furious, and is a big member of Dom’s crew in Fast Five. Gisele’s love interest.
Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson): The co-lead of 2 Fast 2 Furious. Brian’s childhood friend who served time for crimes the two of them committed, but is now a free man after helping Brian take down a drug lord in the second film. He becomes a member of Dom’s crew.
Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges): A former street racer who previously appeared in 2 Fast 2 Furious. He becomes a member of Dom’s crew.
Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson): A new character, Hobbs is a bounty hunter and a DSS agent. He is tasked with bringing down Dom’s crew.
Vince (Matt Schulze): Had a supporting role in The Fast and the Furious. He now lives in Rio de Janerio, and provides shelter for Dom, Brian and Mia. He’s now married and has a child. He re-joins Dom’s crew.
Gisele (Gal Gadot): A former Mossad agent, worked for the villain in Fast & Furious, she now joins Dom’s crew after he saved her life. Han’s love interest.
Leo (Tego Calderón): A Spanish-speaking member of Dom’s crew. Friends with Rico. Comic relief. Had a minor role in Fast & Furious.
Rico Santos (Don Omar): A Spanish-speaking member of Dom’s crew. Friends with Leo. Comic relief. Had a minor role in Fast & Furious.
Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida): Another drug lord serving as the film’s villain.
Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky): A Rio police officer working for Hobbs. Dom’s love interest. The only police officer Hobbs believes cannot be corrupted. She’ll re-appear in future films.
Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez): Supposedly killed in Fast & Furious, we find out in Fast Five‘s post-credits scene that she is, indeed, still alive, which gives us the plot of Furious 6.
Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes): Was the main female in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Appears in the post-credits scene to give Hobbs a recent photograph of a still-alive Letty.
Picking off exactly where Fast & Furious concluded, Brian, Mia, Leo and Rico break out Dom from the prison bus that was transporting him to jail. Brian and Mia escape to Rio, where Dom is supposed to join them. They meet up with Vince and crash with him. With Vince, Brian and Mia steal some cars from a moving train; Dom meets them during the job. DEA agents complicate matters, but they get killed, prompting DSS agent Luke Hobbs to being searching for Dom and co. After an initial suggestion that they all split up, they begin to start hammering home the “family is important” theme that will be one of the driving forces for the rest of the series.
Back at the safehouse, we find out that Vince was trying to double-cross the team, and he’s forced to leave, since he violated Dom’s trust. Inside the car was a computer chip which contains the details of Reyes’ criminal empire, which leads to Dom and his crew deciding to use the chip to rob Reyes. The “one last job” sees an all-star cast from the previous film all teaming up to pull off the heist, all while avoiding Hobbs, the local police, and Reyes’ men. Roman, Han, Tej, Gisele, Leo, and Rico are all brought in.
Vince is let back into the team after saving Mia from Reyes’ men. Hobbs becomes somewhat friendly with Dom and the crew after he captures them, is ambushed, and they save his life. During that same ambush, Vince winds up being shot and eventually dies, leaving his share of the money to his family. Hobbs then aids Dom and the crew in the heist on Reyes, showing that he respects them. We learn in this film that Mia is pregnant. Han and Gisele spark up a relationship. Dom and Elena have a bit of a fling, even though she’s supposed to be arresting him. Eventually, the heist is successful, Reyes is killed, and Hobbs gives Dom and his crew a 24-hour head start – he is still essentially a bounty hunter, after all – before he begins to chase them.
Before the credits, Brian, Dom, and Mia all relax on a beach. Dom and Brian decide to have one final race to determine once and for all who the better driver is.
The post-credits scene sees Monica give Hobbs a recent photo of Letty, proving that she’s alive and paving the way for Furious 6.
Is It Any Good?
I’ve never quite understood the love for Fast Five. It’s a generic heist movie that, after the inherent thrill of seeing a whole bunch of these characters team up together, just isn’t all that good. Sure, the final chase scene through the streets of Rio is fine, and we finally begin capitalizing on the “family is important” theme, but there aren’t any good races and there’s a lot of meandering. All of the heist planning also gets ignored near the end, when the characters just say “screw it” and attack with brute force, meaning we wasted our time. It’s not worthless, but it’s not particularly good, either.
Directed by Justin Lin. Produced by Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, and Clayton Townsend. Written by Chris Morgan. Release date: May 24, 2013.
The hook of Furious 6 was seeing if Letty was really alive, and in what condition. It started right after Fast Five, and leads directly into Furious Seven – as such, it comes across as the second movie in a new trilogy. Fast Five didn’t have a big hook, while Furious Seven looks like it could legitimately conclude the series. It gives us a relatively fun story, and by far the most humor in the series, but still feels like it’s just biding time as a result. Still, some of its developments are interesting, and it provides us even more previous players turning up again.
Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel): The now-retired leader of a group of criminals who drive cars really well. Living with Elena. Has to re-form his team after Luke Hobbs convinces him to help take down Owen Shaw, who has Letty, his former girlfriend whom he was told died, working for him.
Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker): A former LAPD detective, FBI agent, and member of Dom’s crew. He lives with Dom’s sister, Mia, and their son, Jack.
Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster): Dom’s sister. Now lives, and has a child, with Brian.
Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang): Still alive, despite being killed off three movies earlier in Tokyo Drift. He and Gisele now live together in Hong Kong.
Gisele (Gal Gadot): A former Mossad agent, worked for the villain in Fast & Furious, and joined Dom’s crew in Fast Five. She now lives with Han in Hong Kong.
Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez): A former member of Dom’s crew. Killed off in Fast & Furious. She now works for Owen Shaw, the villain of Furious 6.
Owen Shaw (Luke Evans): Furious 6‘s villain. A former British Special Forces soldier with an axe to grind.
Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson): The co-lead of 2 Fast 2 Furious. Brian’s childhood friend who served time for crimes the two of them committed, but is now a free man after helping Brian take down a drug lord in the second film. A member of Dom’s crew, and a major character in both this and Fast Five.
Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges): A former street racer who previously appeared in 2 Fast 2 Furious. He becomes a member of Dom’s crew in Fast Five and returns for Furious 6.
Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson): A DSS agent and bounty hunter hired in Fast Five to take out Dom’s crew. Dom earned his respect and was allowed to go free. Wants to take down Owen Shaw, and offers Dom and his crew pardons for their crimes if they aid him in doing so.
Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky): A Rio police officer who was hired by Hobbs to take out Dom. Dom’s love interest, she now lives with him.
Arturo Braga (John Ortiz): Fast & Furious‘ villain. He’s a drug lord whose capture happened because of Dom and Brian. He’s currently in prison.
Ben Stasiak (Shea Whigham): An FBI agent with whom Brian was at odds in Fast & Furious. He reappears in Furious 6 to help out.
Furious 6 opens with an inconsequential car race followed by the birth of Brian and Mia’s child. Meanwhile, Hobbs is hunting a criminal by the name of Owen Shaw, who thankfully isn’t a drug lord. Hobbs finds Dom, now living with Elena. Hobbs offers Dom and his crew full pardons if they’ll help him catch Shaw, who is employing Letty, Dom’s old girlfriend whom we were told was dead.
Dom’s crew teams up with Hobbs to take down Owen Shaw before he builds a magical MacGuffin worth billions of dollars. Shaw has his own team – many of whom are parallels to Dom’s – and they act as a formidable opponent. Letty, who is currently amnesic, is a part of this team. She shoots at Dom in their first encounter. “You don’t turn your back on family.”
While looking for information, it’s discovered that Shaw has ties to Arturo Braga. Brian gets arrested in order to talk with Braga, and then uses his FBI ties – particularly Stasiak – to get free. Meanwhile, Dom and Letty have a street race, after which Dom gives Letty back her necklace, hoping it will remind her of the past.
The team tries to take out Shaw while his team attempts to hijack a convoy carrying a computer chip. They capture Shaw, but he reveals that he’s captured Mia, so they let him go. Letty stays with Dom, as she doesn’t agree with the reckless approach Shaw had during this sequence, and because Dom saved her life. The crew then has to stop Shaw from escaping on an airplane; Gisele is killed in the process, as she sacrifices herself to save Han. But, eventually, Shaw is killed, Mia is saved, and the computer chip is secured.
Dom and the rest of the crew are allowed to return to America, and do so. They have a family dinner, reminding us of when a similar dinner happened in the first film. Letty still doesn’t remember anything, but notes that it feels right – like home. Elena goes to work with Hobbs, accepting that she’s better off working as a cop, and Dom’s better off with his family.
In a mid-credits scene, we finally get to see the man who killed Han in Tokyo Drift: Deckard Shaw. He’s out for revenge, thus setting up Furious Seven.
Is It Any Good?
Like Fast Five before it, Furious 6 aimed to be more than just a movie about car racing. As such, you have an almost James Bond-esque villain, a plot whose implications involve the potential demise of millions of people, and lots of scenes where cars are just a tool, not the point. These movies have more mainstream appeal as a result, but does it make them better? Not really. The characters are relatively shallow – especially given that some of them have now appeared in five films – and the plot is generic, just with cars thrown in. Furious 6 does have a few strong dramatic moments, plays with the “family is important” theme in new ways, and has the most humor of the series up to its release. The two final action scenes are also great. Is it a fantastic movie? No, but it’s at least somewhat fun.
Furious Seven (Preview)
Directed by James Wan. Produced by Neal H. Moritz and Vin Diesel. Written by Chris Morgan. Release date: April 3, 2015.
It seems almost natural for Jason Statham would show up in a Fast and Furious movie, but through five chapters, it hadn’t happened. That was finally realized at the end of Furious 6, when we learned that he is playing the brother of Owen Shaw, and that Han’s death in Tokyo Drift was no accident; Statham’s character was behind it, and he’s coming after the rest of Dom’s crew. That is the hook of Furious Seven. And what a hook. Deckard Shaw is Statham’s character’s name, and he and Dom will be in a race against time. Shaw wants to pick off each member of Dom’s crew one by one, and Dom has to stop him before it’s too late. If nothing else Furious Seven sounds like an exciting time. Most importantly, the chronology is finally right. Furious Seven is the seventh film, chronologically speaking.
Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel): Back living in America, Dom was ready to give up the criminal life. But with Han’s murder, it’s time to get the rest of the gang together in order to get revenge on Deckard Shaw.
Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker): A former LAPD detective and FBI agent, he’s a member of Dom’s crew. He and Dom’s sister, Mia, have a son.
Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster): Dom’s sister. Has a child with Brian and lives with him.
Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez): After almost dying in Fast & Furious, she is suffering from amnesia. Worked for Owen Shaw in Furious 6, and is now back with Dom, even if she doesn’t remember much, if anything, about their past life together, even though they were once a couple.
Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson): A DSS agent and bounty hunter who was once hired to take out Dom’s crew. Dom earned his respect and was allowed to go free. They later teamed up to take out Owen Shaw; Hobbs is now a part of Dom’s “family.”
Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson): Brian’s childhood friend who served time for crimes the two of them committed, but is now a free man after helping Brian take down a drug lord in the second film. A member of Dom’s crew.
Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges): A former street racer. He becomes a member of Dom’s crew since Fast Five.
Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky): A Rio police officer who was hired by Hobbs to take out Dom, became Dom’s love interest, but after Letty’s reappearance went back to working with Hobbs.
Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham): The older brother of Owen Shaw. Han’s murderer. He’s out for revenge after Dom’s crew killed Owen. Furious Seven‘s villain.
Sean Boswell (Lucas Black): Not seen since Tokyo Drift, but since Furious Seven comes after Tokyo Drift chronologically, it makes sense for him to resurface, even if it’s going to be hard to buy him as a 17-year-old now. He was Han’s friend.
Kurt Russell, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey, Nathalie Emmanuel and Djimon Hounsou all have supporting roles, although the purpose and duration of these roles is relatively unknown.
Why Should You Care?
Han was a fan favorite character right after he was introduced in Tokyo Drift. In fact, the filmmakers kept pushing back when Tokyo Drift would happen, chronologically, just to keep him around. He had some of the best character depth in the series, and was just lots of fun. His death means something, even though we’ve been aware that it’s coming for several movies at this point. Now that the series has put a face and a name to the murderer, we – much like the characters – want to see him brought to justice.
Meanwhile, on a much sadder note, Furious Seven marks the last film to star Paul Walker, who died during its production. The film will serve as a touching tribute to Paul Walker. If you were a fan of the actor or his character in this franchise, it’s likely that this is going to be an emotional experience.
Finally, the series has been ramping up its action in each of its two previous movies, aiming to get bigger and better each time. While it hasn’t always succeeded at the latter part of that statement, the action has certainly gotten bigger. Based solely on the trailer, that appears to be the case this time around. Action junkies of all kinds will likely get their fill.