Aside from the numerous conglomerates owned by Disney and the wizarding series steered by Warner Bros. the Fast and Furious series is the biggest franchise out there. It somehow continues to gain traction and momentum even as its core audiences ages out. It’s a lot of fun to see it happen because the series has defied everything on its journey. Critics. Logic. Bigger name brands. Even the horrific death of its leading man.
The trailer for The Fate of the Furious almost thumbs its nose at everyone who ever detracted the movies. We have an idea why it got this big.
Nick Nunziata on Knowing Their Audience
The first film in the series was decent. That’s all it really was. It didn’t have a ton to offer on the visual side apart from a few scenes of semi-ridiculous shots of CGI pipes, two buff leads, and a host of scantily clad ladies. It was harmless, a Point Break wannabe with pinpoint timing. A funny thing happened along the way. The series sputtered a bit here and there, but it showed the resilience of a post-apocalyptic cockroach and learned lessons. Not from the marketplace. From the fans. From culture. There was a gaping hole in the high school to college market, and they filled it. Rarely has a series evolved so wisely and appropriately. It’s why The Rock or Jason Statham can jump right into the machine. Vin Diesel can fail in other efforts, but when in the guise of Dom Toretto, he’s a king. It’s no accident.
Eric Fuchs on the Diversity of the Cast
The Fast and Furious franchise has a lot of assets: big action sequences, sexy women, sexier cars, and a complete lack of shame. But one of the things that keep this franchise unique from others is its cast. The series features one of the most diverse casts you’ll find in a Hollywood blockbuster. Its stars are people like Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and Dwayne Johnson. Paul Walker was the white star in the billing, and the franchise has survived his passing.
This is as multiethnic as any film out today but in a major studio release. The Fast and Furious films are not marketed to a specifically black audience or specifically Latino audience or any specific minority audience. They’re for the masses. This is a side effect of the franchise’s once halfway-serious origins as an action drama set in Los Angeles street racing. As the films have ballooned in car superheroes, they’ve become the diverse answer to the mostly-white faces you’ll find in Marvel or DC or anything else.
The best part about the Fast and Furious series is that there is nothing political about its diversity. The franchise is simply diverse in an entirely uncontroversial way. This might be the first post-racial film franchise. Fans don’t consciously care about the cast make-up. But it sets the films apart and builds a special edge that other movies just don’t have.
Graham Host on the Action Stakes
One of the biggest things keeping the Fast and Furious franchise going is the ever-increasing action. The first few films centered around street racing. Considering how it was all about racing cars, that made sense. Then it decided to bring in the drug cartels. Next, they stole from the biggest crime lord in Rio de Janeiro. After that, they went up against professional international robbers. Before the dust had even settled, their latest escapade involved jumping cars between skyscrapers to retrieve a computer program capable of hacking any and all systems on the planet to locate someone.
Between impossibly slow — yet somehow fast — street races and needlessly complicated races, the Fast and Furious films have long since left behind physics and reason. Yet it continues to draw massive crowds eager to get their next burst of adrenaline from seeing the unorthodox heroes perform ever more incredible stunts and races. With a new set of ‘spy capers’ lined up for the films ahead, it appears that there will be no slowing down for the races, only changing up another gear.
Brandon Marcus on the Evolution of the Series
What once started as films about street racing has become so, so much more. It’s hard to find another franchise that has evolved as much as the Fast and Furious films. If you were to tell me ten years ago that the series would become a globe-trotting, Dwayne Johnson-starring, billion-dollar-earning behemoth, I wouldn’t have believed you. But that’s what has happened. These movies have become vastly bigger — and better.
The movies would have run out of gas if it wasn’t for the reinvention we saw in Fast Five. While the film focused heavily on cars, it also widened its scope and began to incorporate new themes and tropes that are typically seen in Bourne or Bond films. It was a game changer and gave the series new life. Without these changes, the series would have petered out within a few years. Instead, it breathed new life into the characters and story — and earned a boatload of money in the process.
You can’t stay the same forever. The filmmakers of the Fast and Furious series realized that and reworked and adapted. They changed things up, they evolved. These are some of the most successful films on Earth because of that.
Andrew Hawkins on the Globe-Trotting
One aspect of the Fast and Furious series that keeps each sequel fresh is the constant change of location. Every movie after the original sees Dom’s family in new and exciting places around the world. Los Angeles will always be the core of the franchise, but the global impact of the characters and their stories continues to grow. It’s one of the reasons many fans associate the series with the likes of the Mission: Impossible and Oceans movies.
So far we have seen the characters go from west coast to Miami in the sequel, then the first international jump to Japan. Audiences were thrown at first when Tokyo Drift took the action out of the States, but since then we have visited South America, the UK, and Central Asia. In The Fate of the Furious, we’ll be seeing the team in Atlanta, and from the trailer footage, the group will wind up in Iceland in a race against a submarine. This is a franchise that knows how to keep things interesting while trotting the globe. There’s never a dull moment in their world.
The Fate of the Furious hits cinemas April 14, 2017.