I want these Fast and Furious posts to be more than just pointing out oversights and plot holes. This movie is twelve years old now, and I’m not going to be able to bring up anything new. Plus, asking those kind of questions of a movie like The Fast and the Furious is like asking how the lingerie clad woman knew the pizza delivery guy would be hot. Did she request him specifically? How many pizzas did she order before she got the right guy? Does she even like pizza? How many late deliveries has this lady caused?
Nobody who enjoys these respective genres care that the story doesn’t answer any of the questions it puts forth.
I can’t help myself, so I’m doing it anyway. I’ll try to keep it to one scene.
Undercover cop Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) gets in the good graces of bad guy Dominic Toretto (Vin Deisel) by helping him escape from the cops after a street race. Toretto does lose the cops on his own at first by pulling into a garage while out of sight from the police. The squad car rolls by none the wiser and continues chasing other cars. Toretto is clear. He just needs to sit tight for a bit, but, for an unknown reason, Toretto leaves his car and goes for a stroll down the cop filled streets.
Most movies require a suspension of disbelief whether they’re about time travel, space travel, or set in an even more fanciful world like Roadhouse where bouncers are highly sought after zen masters with philosophy degrees. The worlds that movies and other stories create and are set in, no matter how improbable, are not what make bad movies (or good movies for that matter). The fact that The Fast and the Furious is a teen exploitation flick about street racing might make it a movie you won’t enjoy, but it doesn’t make it a bad movie—it’s moments like Toretto’s escape where characters make decisions that make no sense within their world that help it become a bad movie. (Not to mention constant overdubbing and ten second quarter-miles that last over a minute.)
All Toretto needed to do was stay in the garage. The cops were busy chasing what seems to be one hundred other street racers. At the very least, he should have stuck to a back alley as opposed to walking down the sidewalk in plain view. The first cop that sees him recognizes him, calls him by name, and gives chase which allows O’Conner the opportunity to rescue Toretto and befriend him.
Which brings me to my next point: The cops know exactly who Toretto is. They know his name and what he looks like. I have to assume they know where he lives and that he runs a cafe with his name on the front in huge letters. The cops could just stop by the cafe or his house (which is where Toretto went after getting away) ring his doorbell and arrest him for evading police, if they wanted, which I guess they didn’t. Perhaps the police figured Toretto got away fair and square. Maybe Toretto yelled “Olly Olly Oxen Free!” when he reached home base making him untouchable.
Here is the escape scene:
Switching gears a bit here (pun not intended, but should’ve been)—I mostly thought about Point Break while watching The Fast and the Furious. They really are pretty much the same movie. Swap cars for surfboards, Vin Diesel as the man who leads a life of crime in order to support his hobby instead of Patrick Swayze, and (the most lateral move of them all) Paul Walker for Keanu Reeves as the undercover officer who becomes enamored with the life style of the man he is supposed to arrest.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two movies is that the makers of The Fast and the Furious saw the value in sequels. At the end of Pointe Break when Johnny Utah (Reeves) takes the cuffs off of Bodhi (Swayze) and let’s him on his surfboard, it is understood that Bodhi will die. Like he says, he can’t live in a cage. Bodhi dies in a huge wave along with the chances of a Point Break 2.
Like Bodhi, Toretto also tells his cop friend that he would rather die than go back to prison. Luckily for him though, his vehicle of escape has wheels and an engine, and he lives in a city where the cops are so inept that Toretto probably just drove home and napped, leaving the door open for more adventures.
Here are the endings to both movies. Which bad-ass walk-away do you like more?
Some great moments out of context:
And lastly, if I were to make a list of the Top 100 douches in Cinema History, I think this guy would be #1. His time is short, but his douche star shines so bright that it leaves all, including Toretto and O’Conner, speechless.