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It seems like only yesterday that Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) walked up to Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and inexplicably started a sentence with, "So check it out, it's like this," kicking off the first illegal street race in the "Fast and Furious" franchise ten minutes into "The Fast and the Furious" (2001). Alas, that was twelve years and many "the"s ago.
Now, on the eve of this week's debut of the sixth installment (!) of this venerable institution of American cinema, cleverly titled "Fast & Furious 6," we'd like to briefly recap the first five films of the franchise for those of you who may have missed a street robbery or a Ludacris megaphone shout along the way.
Yes, Lettys and Gentle-Doms, it's the Idiot's Guide to the "Fast and Furious" movies. Start your engines.
'The Fast and the Furious' (2001)
Detective Brian O'Conner, who looks like he just dropped out of college to be a male model but is actually a detective in the Los Angeles Police Department, infiltrates Dominic Toretto's street racing / truck hijacking team by being menacing and good-looking, and also by rescuing Toretto from the cops after a race.
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Toretto now trusts O'Conner even if Toretto's buddy Vince sometimes calls O'Conner names like "scoundrel" and "buster" as if it's 1922. O'Conner soon wishes to bone Toretto's sister Mia, a fellow attractive person. Eventually, she agrees to be boned. Toretto also has a human female whom he bones, inexplicably named "Letty" because this is a movie and "Letty" is cooler than like "Deborah" or something.
Despite at times suspecting O'Conner to be a cop, Toretto's bond with O'Conner grows, and O'Conner's character actor bosses at the police force aren't very happy about O'Conner's hesitance to bust the crew, presumably because of rollicking good times in the sack with Mia. After a situation with main bad guy Johnny Tran gets out of hand, O'Conner has to tell Mia that he's a cop. She cries, because no one likes cops.
Despite his confession, O'Conner rescues Vince and Dom after a hijacking gone wrong. To get help quickly, he admits he's a cop in front of his bros. Dom is unhappy. Cut to them both just barely evading an oncoming train at the end of a quarter-mile street race, which makes them bros again, and O'Conner lets Toretto get away with his car when they both hear the cops coming. No one important is dead. You know what that means!
'2 Fast 2 Furious' (2003)
A sequel! Or, if we're going by the title, "A sequel! No really, a sequel!" Sadly, the budget of "2 Fast 2 Furious" was only as such to convince Walker to reprise the role of O'Conner while Diesel sat in the stands and ate nachos with melted cheese. This time O'Conner's in Miami for no reason other than it's warm and he's probably comfortable with taking his shirt off a lot. He's feared at street races to the point where competitors say some form of "S**t, it's Brian" whenever he shows up, even though, again, it's another city across the country entirely and not much time has passed since the first movie. He's also besties with Ludacris.
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After winning a race (shocked face) he's caught by the cops. Now an ex-cop instead of a regular cop, Brian is asked to work with the cops after copping to a bunch of crimes. The cops want him to catch another bad guy, Miami drug kingpin Cole Hauser, by using his car driving skillz. Despite having no leverage whatsoever, the cops agree to let Brian choose his partner on this mission. He chooses ex-childhood buddy Tyrese, who is — get this — a little rough around the edges and "has a past" with O'Conner. The cops are cool with all of this because Hey! It's Tyrese! Do that song you do with Da Brat!
Turns out FBI Agent Eva Mendes is already in with Cole Hauser's crew. She wears fishnet tops while debriefing the boys on the mission as if this won't distract them and/or us. O'Conner and Tyrese complete some tasks for Hauser to show they can race cars fast. Hauser is pleased with them, and Mendes. Yes, three of his five closest crew members are working with the FBI, and he has no idea. We do, though. Hauser displays increasing brutality and wears increasingly unbuttoned shirts, apparently meant to symbolize his increasing brutality.
A lot of the plot doesn't make much sense, but it's okay because cars! Guns! Mendes OH MY! Eventually Hauser figures out that they're all FBI agents but pulls the Bond villain-esque "I'll have my henchmen kill you" move to Tyrese and O'Conner. You're not going to believe this, but that plan doesn't really work out. Finally, in the laziest final battle sequence in the history of movies, O'Conner shoots Hauser in the chest after somehow jumping his car off from dry land to his moving yacht. Good guys win, bad guys lose, nobody really prevails.
'The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift' (2006)
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Lucas Black reprises his role from the first two films as no one at all in "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift." He is Sean, a kid from the South (like, a talks-like-Brett-Favre-the-whole-movie kind of kid from the South) who gets in trouble for illegally street racing the oldest son from "Home Improvement" who circa 2006 looks exactly the same as he did circa 1996. Sean flees to Tokyo to live with his dad, where he gets into the illegal street racing scene there because illegal street racing is evvvvvverrywhere, you see. Only in Tokyo, they love "drifting" instead of going really fast, which means they love executing very difficult turns and screeching tires and bothering you if you're wearing headphones while watching.
The script is littered with dated references, such as calling someone "Justin Timberlake" as an insult. Everyone talks way too close to each other's faces, like this, this and this, to the point where Black definitely knows exactly what every other actor on this movie smells like for the rest of his life. The main antagonist — called "DK" for "Drift King," because he's the best at drifting and now he has a bro name like DK — only communicates by pointing his head down but keeping eye contact with you, and smirking. Like this:
That's how he communicates for the entirety of the film. It wears on you. So does Black's Favre imitation.
DK has an extremely hot girlfriend whose nether regions are obviously bothered by Sean's every appearance. DK's business partner Han (unfortunately not Solo) trains Sean to become a sweet drifter. Han explodes in a car midway through the movie. It was DK's fault. DK and Sean eventually race down a mountain at the end under the watchful eye of DK's uncle, who is in the mafia of the "Grand Theft Auto" video game series. Sean wins both the race and the young lady, and becomes the new DK because who needs Irish first names. You think it's over when ...
BOOM out comes Vin Diesel — well, Toretto — wanting to race Black. They begin to race, commencing what would have been the best part of the movie except the credits predictably roll.
'Fast & Furious' (2009)
Dom Toretto and Letty are back committing highway hijackings. Han from "Tokyo Drift" is part of their crew. Is this a prequel to "Fast Three," you ask yourself? It is! You know because they hit you over the head with it 70 times, no more blatantly than when after a successful hijacking and narrowly avoiding death, Han tells Toretto, no joke, "Heard they're doing some crazy shit in Tokyo." We got it, guys. They were buds. Pretty sweet.
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So yeah, Letty's murdered out of nowhere because Michelle Rodriguez could probably only film for a couple of days, so Toretto wants to find her killer, who is said to be a henchman of a gentleman named Braga. But OHH YEAAHH so does newly-minted detective Brian O'Conner, rehired to the LAPD for no reason at all! Toretto doesn't like O'Conner, and who can blame him — O'Conner only sacrificed his entire career for the guy. Best to be pissy about it and wait to be proven incorrect. Good thinking, big D.
The two dudes infiltrate Braga's crew (three out of four movies now with secret gang infiltrations), but not before Brian does the dirtay dirtaaaay with Mia once again on a kitchen table because it's been a while and who has time for bedrooms? Dom eventually kills Letty's killer by driving a car into his chest and it looks like it really, really hurts. It must, because the guy dies. O'Conner brings in Braga, and Toretto, despite helping the cause, is sentenced to 25-to-life for no reason explained other than "being a really s**tty dude," basically. Except — OH WAIT — a crew lead by O'Conner and Mia are about to break him out of the prison truck and credits will roll.
Credits will roll. Credits will roll. On the floor.
'Fast Five' (2011)
Shedding words in the title like Toretto sheds cop cars, "Fast Five" sadly starts with O'Conner and Mia unable to break Dom out of the prison truck. The pair are arrested along with Dom, and the final shot of the series is the three of them simultaneously taking their mugshots before the credits roll on the 12-minute movie.
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Just kidding! PHEW! Yep, Brian and Mia break Dom out of the bus before fleeing to Rio de Janeiro because why not we haven't been there yet. That's when the "IF YOU SMELLLLLLLLL" comes over the loud speakers and The "Dwayne Johnson" Rock makes his unsubtle F&F debut (I say "unsubtle" because he is like 950 pounds of one, giant proteinized muscle). He doesn't like Dom because hey fellow giant muscle dude that's not cool WTF let's brawl.
In Rio, the gang rounds up the greatest hits of the previous four movies, including Vince, Han, Ludacris, Tyrese and others to pull of a $100 million heist. Literally everyone is in the 99th percentile of world attractiveness. The "Dwayne Johnson" Rock eventually joins in because the world would end if he and Diesel were actual adversaries.
After a ton of running, jumping, driving and exploding, the gang eventually takes down the bad guy, which, I'll give you three guesses as to what he is ...
Correct! They kill a drug lord and Mia is preggers on a beach with Brian's baby because they felt comfortable enough after five movies having him leave it in for once.
Onto "F&F 6"! You're an expert now! Quick, what's Dom's favorite beer ...
Whoa, I didn't even mention that here! Wait, have you watched these before? You played me. You played me for a fool.