‘The Fast and the Furious’ – the birth of a high-octane action franchise on Peacock

Brian meets Dom in the original The Fast and the Furious (2001) and an action franchise familia is born.

Vin Deisel is outlaw street racing champ Dominic “Dom” Toretto. Paul Walker is Brian O’Conner, who loses a race to Dom but earns his respect when he saves his ass from the cops. A friendship is born and a romance blossoms when Brian falls for Dom’s sister (Jordana Brewster) but there are unresolved issues. Steely street racer Dom is also the head of a car heisting crew and Brian is the undercover cop sent to shut him down.

The title comes from a 1954 Roger Corman drive-in movie about road racers and the story from a magazine article about modern illegal street racing. Cohen turns it all into a buddy bonding film that pits friendship and personal loyalty versus job and professional loyalty, all against a culture of family and a backdrop of pure speed.

The stunt work is excellent, especially the thrilling heist scenes, which feature the best such work since The Road Warrior. Cohen keeps the focus on the integrity of the action and, while he isn’t shy about using digital effects for flourish, the elaborate action sequences rely on physical stunts. The rubber hits the road and Cohen choreographs and cuts it so you can feel the momentum.

The Fast and the Furious is pure pop fun, the best evocation of B-movie/exploitation film mythology of loyalty and honor among friends that American movies had achieved in some time. It launched a franchise that backfired a couple of times before taking off in the fourth installment Fast and Furious, where director Justin Lin the wheel and pushed Cohen’s original vision into overdrive. It all began here.

Michelle Rodriguez plays Letty, Dom’s girlfriend and partner in crime, and Rick Yune, Ted Levine, and Ja Rule costar.

While it was ignored by most awards groups, it was honored with five wins at the World Stunt Awards.

Rated PG-13

Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
The Fast and the Furious [Blu-ray]
The Fast and the Furious [4K UHD + Blu-ray]
The Fast and the Furious [DVD]
Fast & Furious 8-Movie Collection [Blu-ray]
Fast & Furious 8-Movie Collection [DVD]
Fast & Furious 8-Movie Collection [4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray]

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The special edition Blu-ray and DVD releases include commentary by director Rob Cohen, featurettes, deleted scenes, and an interactive feature that offers multiple camera angles.


Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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