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Fast - Furious - Fun - Franchise!
on 9 October 2013
Can't believe that it was 12 years ago. Back in 2001, I was in college, with all my mates going on about this latest film starring Vin Diesel, featuring flashy supercars, girls & insane car chases, called The Fast & The Furious. I watched it, enjoyed it...expected a sequel, maybe two...
But I NEVER envisioned an entire series would follow.
Cars, car-chases, guns, crashes, girls etc...it's a winning formula for dumb, cinematic entertainment, but the Fast & Furious Franchise has proven itself to be more than that. Why it's been able to thrive and generate a strong fan-base is because the makers have actually cared about producing something worthwhile. The series has prided itself on telling an actual story, with characters you can emotionally invest in, and after over a decade, the Fast & Furious has become (dare I say) an epic, with exciting stunts/action, with a well-developed story & deep-enough characters to make this phenomenon ideal for all action film enthusiasts.
Now, Universal Pictures have released several box-sets in the past collecting all-current Fast Films as time's gone on. The franchise has no signs of slowing down anytime soon, what with Film No. 7 out next year, and chapters 8 & 9 having been confirmed also. So, if you still don't own any of the Fast & Furious films on DVD, now seems as good a time as any to collect all the films (currently) on one bargain box set.
This box-set contains all (to-date) six films; The Fast & The Furious (2001), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Fast & Furious (2009), Fast & Furious 5 (2011) and Fast & Furious 6 (2013). One slipcase, with three DVD cases containing two-discs (movies) each. In total, you've got under twelve hours of rollickingly good entertainment with plenty of thrilling stunts, yet also enough story & character to make it more than just mindless fun.
Throughout the series, there's a range of excellent, distinctive main characters, all of which are portrayed with the grit, determination & emotion that their roles require. Of course, Vin Diesel is the star of the series as anti-hero Dominic Toretto, the violent criminal with a moral code & heart of gold (deep down). Plus there's Brian O'Conner (the late, great Paul Walker RIP), the undercover-cop turned fugitive, Mia Toretto (Jordanna Brewster) as Dom's strong-willed, capable sister & Brian's love-interest, and Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), the feisty, tough & tragic lover of Dom.
All these characters, plus the rest of the main-cast, are truly ones to love. There're no duds whatsoever. You can laugh with them, you can feel for them, and (as I said earlier), they're all so well-developed as the series progresses, that it makes the films even more special. And some genuine moments of hilarity & heartbreak counter-balance the films' high-octane action nicely. This is a series that's really quite remarkable.
Alas, the Fast & Furious franchise isn't a thing of absolute perfection, with the movies themselves varying in terms of quality. The Fast & The Furious deserves recognition for starting it all, and while it's still an entertaining spectacle with a good story, it IS surpassed by later entries in the series. 2 Fast 2 Furious suffers from Vin Diesel being absent altogether, but it deserves props for developing Brian O'Conner's character, and introducing the likes of Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) & Tej Parker (Ludacris) as future mainstays to the series.
Sadly, the series is let down by the third movie, Tokyo Drift, which is truly the worst entry by far! In its attempt to further expand the Fast & Furious setting, it fails due to its cringing story (which resembles that of a god-awful teen flick) and the stunts themselves proving inferior to those in the other films! However, Tokyo Drift is of great importance to the series' overall spectrum, due to it (chronologically) being the final film of the series (before Fast 7), and it DOES have the likeable Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) & the EVEN-MORE likeable & ill-fated character Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang).
Despite Tokyo Drift being a major letdown, Director Justin Lin REALLY hits his stride with the following trilogy (Fast & Furious 4, 5 & 6), delivering the next three chapters with more-blistering car chases & hard-hitting action than ever before! As well as taking the overall story-arc & family of characters to new heights, with fab development and major twists & turning points along the way. Introducing more great characters in the form of Gisele Yashar (Gal Gadot), Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky) and Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne `The Rock' Johnson), the second Fast & Furious trilogy showcases the series at the height of its brilliance, due to its tighter story-structure and the action/excitement being at its peak! Watch out for the ending of Fast 6! I can't wait for Fast 7 next year!
Finally, special-features. There's an excellent range of extras on each film disc (barring Fast 6 which comes without any special DVD features here), boasting trailers, documentaries, audio commentaries, deleted scenes etc. Plus this set comes equipped with the option to copy the films onto other media devices. There's plenty to sink your teeth into, and all this plus the films themselves make this set an absolute bargain at twenty-five quid!
Overall, the Fast & Furious 6 Movie Collection is ideal for fans. If (like me) you love/like the series, yet haven't purchased any of the films (together or separately) before, then now's definitely the right time. Is any of this Oscar-winning-material? NO! But we don't love Fast & Furious for THAT! We love it because it's exhilarating and it's fun! That's all that matters!