Marathon is a new recurring feature in which one of our writers endures a grueling face-off with a franchise or collection of work in a single sitting and reports back on the experience. In our inaugural edition, Justin Gerber paces himself through all six Fast and Furious films in anticipation of Furious 7, out this week.
At the beginning of my morning on Sunday, March 8th, 2015, I hated the Fast and Furious franchise. I had only seen the first one, and that was well over a decade ago. I thought it was dreadful and swore off the series entirely. By late evening on that very same Sunday, after watching every Fast movie, something was changed in me forever. I now considered myself a full-fledged member of the Fast family.
How did this happen? Most of the credit goes to director Justin Lin, who took over duties starting with Tokyo Drift and guided the series in a whole new direction. Gone were (most) of the car races, which were replaced by car chases. It stopped taking itself so seriously and became a fun, fast, and furious franchise. Please read on and relive my journey on that fateful Sunday morning, afternoon, and night.
Ride or die…
The Fast and the Furious
START YOUR ENGINES!: 8:01 A.M.
MINUTE 1:40 And we’re already shooting grappling hooks through windshields.
2:56 Driving a car under a semi Clark Griswold style.
4:42 Brian’s “I’ll have the tuna” delivery is just as awful as I remember it.
5:55 Michelle Rodriguez and the rest of Dom’s team enter. She has flames on her shoes.
9:55 “NOS. I need NOS!”
10:25 Every song sounds like Linkin Park and Crazy Town made love and had a soundtrack.
12:15 Man. Ja Rule was huge 14 years ago.
13:10 “I smell…skanks.”
16:00 Weird Pizza Hut placement when delivery man is told, “Streets closed, pizza man.”
16:37 First car race!
18:34 Seeing engines fire up is pretty cool.
18:57 “Damn, that guy’s fast.” – stock Asian American actor.
19:09 “Let’s go…menage!” – Ja Rule
22:14 “Winning’s winning.” – Dom
26:42 “I’ll die before I go back.” Dom’s Neil McCauley moment.
27:34 Johnny Tran a.k.a. henchman from Die Another Day!
29:45 “What the hell was that all about?” Delivered dead-behind-the-eyes twice in a minute. Walker is awful in this.
34:20 “I’m simpler.” Truer words never spoken.
35:25 Ted Levine! And the Point Break reveal is here.
37:30 “You want time? Get the magazine.” – FBI Agent
42:20 Jesse, the engineering genius in Dom’s gang, not long for this franchise. Not hawt enough.
45:22 Pretty sure Harry was a vampire on Angel. Will follow up. (Confirmed)
49:46 Vince convinced Brian’s a cop. Pretty sure Vince turns out to be the rat/turncoat. Don’t remember him in trailers for the next dozen movies.
52:37 Garage full of stolen DVD players. Remember those? #bluray #netflix #prime
55:25 “I need a few more days. I need a few more days.”
57:15 Dom’s speech to Brian about his father dying in fiery car crash is awfully sad now in light of what happened to Walker.
57:45 “I live my life one quarter mile at a time.” – Dom
HOUR 1:09:30 Race Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1:12:25 The ADR in this movie is as out of control as these crazy street racers!
1:15:30 Race Wars rave!!!!!!!!
1:16:30 “I’m a cop,” Brian reveals to Mia, but tells her he never lied about his feelings for her. Wait, this character has emotion?
RANDOM THOUGHT: Bieber street races, right?
1:19:00 Well, Dom’s team are the bad guys after all. I’m sure Brian won’t throw away his career to join the gang in the future. Positive.
1:26:25 Real good stunt work with the jumpings on and off of moving semis. If there is CGI, it isn’t obvious.
1:28:05 Dom knows Brian’s a cop. This Diesel’s gonna blow!
1:31:29 And Jesse is dead. Like I said: not good-looking enough.
RANDOM THOUGHT: The movie Torque.
1:33:05 The simpler days of F&F, when the climax consisted of two cars chasing two motorcycles.
1:36:39 Weird slow-mo there, director.
1:38:51 Johnny Utah wouldn’t let the perp escape. “I owed you a 10-second car.”
1:39:41 Brian walks away in slo-mo, and the movie ends. Cue Ja!
RANDOM THOUGHT: The movie Biker Boyz.
Click ahead for 2 Fast 2 Furious.
2 Fast 2 Furious
START YOUR ENGINES!: 9:48 A.M.
SECOND 0:25 Universal Studios logo transforms into part of wheel. I don’t know shit about cars.
MINUTE 1:14 Ludacris as Tej! Already a million times better than Ja Rule.
2:17 Devon Aoki as Michelle Rodriguez a.k.a. Suki.
3:16 Brian’s back! He’s gonna race! FYI: My younger brother is an extra in this sequence. Circled below!
6:32 35 large for a race? Taxes must be insane!
12:50 ADVERTISEMENT: Car crash into Pepsi sign.
14:30 Eva Mendes in the role of Jordana Brewster a.k.a. Monica.
15:32 James friggin’ Remar in the house…and firing at Brian!
16:12 Officially places movie in Florida.
16:32 Hey! FBI agent from original! And Brian has apparently left the L.A.P.D.
19:10 Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pierce at demolition derby. Replacing Vin? TRUE STORY: Tyrese has a mural of the Last Supper featuring Tupac.
20:56 “Only my homeboys call me Rome…pig.”
22:57 Brian and Rome have contentious relationship. Different dynamic from Brian and Dom.
23:37 Brian is “hard” now. Wears “West Coast Choppers” t-shirt and says “bro.” A lot.
24:37 Monica Fuentes is an undercover cop!
28:30 Cole Hauser as bad guy Carter Verone. Wish he’d have had a career as good as his Good Will Hunting costars.
32:00 Brian races in reverse, flicks off Rome and says, “How you like them apples?” Wait. If Good Will Hunting exists in this universe, who plays Cole Hauser’s role in that movie? Meta.
32:23 “Crazy-ass white boy” line count is at one.
37:50 So Brian and Rome have to transport something mysterious for Carter. Is it an elephant? (Smokey and the Bandit 2, anyone?)
42:25 Tej can no longer race due to injury. Hmmmm…
45:40 I guess Rome’s thing is that he’s hungry all the time?
47:16 “It’s getting thick real quick.” – Hard Brian
48:25 Three races in first hour? I think there were two in the entire first one.
RANDOM THOUGHT: I can’t believe John Singleton directed this.
RANDOM THOUGHT: Menace II Society > Boyz n the Hood
54:50 Another hot spot that finds Tyrese shouting out “Damn!”
RANDOM THOUGHT: Movie eschews any character development, though it was so dopey in the previous installment it’s probably for the best.
56:40 Rome says, “He’s over there. Don’t look.” Brian and Monica look without missing a beat.
57:37 “Women are a very powerful force.” – Carter, American Gangster
57:45 Is that Bobby from Sons of Anarchy?
59:38 It is Bobby! A corrupt cop just like he is in Batman Begins.
HOUR 1:03:05 Villains much more villainous than original.
1:05:30 Monica arrives in cutoff shirt to tell Brian that Carter is going to kill them, post-run.
1:10:57 “Yo, Tej. What’s up, bro?” – Hard Brian
1:11:56 Every song sounds like Ludacris and Nelly made love and had a soundtrack.
1:12:30 Rome explains why he eats so much. Something about going back to prison.
1:12:50 “Remember us growing up? Playing football in the dirt?” No! You can’t decide to build characters 75% into a movie!
1:13:57 Sweet-sassy molassey there is half an hour left.
1:16:53 Alas, the mysterious package is just a lot of cash. #smokey4eva
1:19;50 Henchman, whose job it is to track people, “can’t drive.”
1:21:43 ADVERTISEMENT: Golden Corral! Applewood bacon wraps!
RANDOM THOUGHT: Drink every time Brian says, “Bro.”
1:24:02 They’re going full Smokey and the Bandit 2 with the dozens of cars being chased by dozens of cops!
1:25:20 “Yo, let’s break.” – Hard Brian
1:27:46 Second “How ’bout them apples?” reference. Will they break the fourth wall next?
1:35:43 Brian flies car onto a moving boat.
1:39:14 Guess the movie’s over.
1:40:00 “Pockets ain’t empty, cuz.” – Hard Brian
Click ahead for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
START YOUR ENGINES!: 1 P.M.
SECOND 0:34 Already feels different. We’re in high school.
0:55 My boy Lucas Black (Friday Night Lights movie, American Gothic TV show) as Sean Boswell.
MINUTE 3:15 “It’s not the ride. It’s the rider.” – Sean (Black)
3:22 Zachary Ty Bryan as a jock. A long way from Home Improvement.
4:58 High school “hottie” literally offers herself up to winner of car race.
7:46 World’s longest construction site.
11:20 Sean is on strike three, crime-wise. To avoid jail…
12:05 …Tokyo here we drift!
13:05 KFC and McDonald’s, but no Golden Corral.
13:43 Sean to live with Pops.
17:00 Culture shock montage!!!
19:02 CSI Cyber’s Bow Wow in do-rag and school uniform.
19:43 He shills bootleg Air Jordans. Like Mike flashback.
21:06 Bow Wow with Hulk minivan, complete with hair on top. Approved!
21:38 Took Sean less than 24 hours to find underground street racing.
27:00 “Drifting” is a special turn during a race to avoid spinning out. Title made clear. We may continue.
RANDOM: DK is a member of the yakuza. Sean’s potential love interest is dating him. Guy’s a real jerk, ya’ dig?
30:23 Twinkie (Bow Wow) gets in elevator full of cute girls. Winks at camera. Winks at camera!
32:30 The guy who lends Sean his car is the most likable guy in this thing. He isn’t fazed at all by his car getting torn up.
32:48 “Don’t leave town,” he says, post-race. Love this guy.
33:47 “This isn’t a game.” – Sean’s absentee dad.
35:25 Sean must go to bathhouse to retrieve money for nice, cool guy from earlier.
36:59 Han is his name, and Sean is his bagman. He is great. Why wasn’t Han in the first two?
42:33 NOS sighting! NOS sighting!
44:00 Hawt girls making out. This and cars tie Tokyo Drift to the previous entries in the franchise.
46:10 Han lets Sean choose whatever car he wants at warehouse. Han rules.
48:15 Father/son bonding over Dad’s car. Who cares? Where’s Han? He’s the only father figure you need, Sean!
51:15 Han/Sean bonding time. This is more like it.
52:00 “One car in exchange for knowing what a man’s made of? That’s a price I can live with.” – Obi-Han Kenobi
53:58 Han drifts not for money, but for the ladies. Gets digits and everything.
54:17 Han is now full-on mentor, teaching Sean to drift.
HOUR 1:00:17 Up for a romantic night drift, anybody?
RANDOM THOUGHT: Movie cheesy as hell, but director Justin Lin has figured out how to make it enjoyable.
1:02:36 “Stay away from her, or the only thing you’ll be driving is a wheelchair.” Pretty good burn from DK after kicking Sean’s ass for stepping out with Neela. BTW, DK stands for “Drift King.”
1:03:04 “What did you expect? You didn’t just play with fire, you soaked the matches in gasoline.” – Han
1:06:50 Yakuza make obligatory appearance. Uncle Kamata (from Kill Bill), in Godfather II/Don Fanucci gear, tells his nephew DK that Han has been stealing from them.
1:07:53 “For want of a nail the horseshoe was lost…” – Uncle Kamata
1:11:20 Night chase through downtown Tokyo. Much more exciting than the abandoned roads of first two.
1:14:03 Sean has mastered the drift!
1:15:25 Han is dead! This movie is dead to me!!
1:16:01 Sean and Neela are bummed out on subway, but trust me, I am the more bummed.
1:18:30 Father/son understanding. Sean must avenge Han and save his love. He can’t do it…without Bow Wow?
RANDOM THOUGHT: Bow Wow is actually decent in this, far superior to Tyrese as the lead character’s number two.
1:23:40 It’s settled: Uncle Kamata agrees that Sean and DK must race. Whoever loses has to leave town. Wait…what?
1:24:48 Sean will use car his Dad’s been working on for the big race (complete with cock rock score!).
1:25:46 SPOTTED: Gray Hulk figure in Twink’s car.
RANDOM THOUGHT: Han still dead.
1:28:45 Sean and DK in cliffside, nighttime race. Who will win? Who will live?
1:34:07 Sean wins! Everyone is free!
1:36:26 Dom is back! Great cameo. And he knew Han at one point. “I’ve got nothing but time.”
Click ahead for Fast & Furious.