Speed Racers Pt 1 (The Fast and the Furious, 2001)
2000 and 2001 were a good couple of years for Vin Diesel. He had a supporting role in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, but only a small spattering of roles before that. His other “big” role was the voice of the titular character in Brad Bird’s the Iron Giant. But between Pitch Black and the Fast and the Furious, Diesel’s value rose prominently.
Rob Cohen (Daylight and Dragonheart) directed this tale of a young and reckless cop who goes undercover into the world of street racing to try and take down some skilled thieves. He of course, gets drawn in much deeper, falling for the sister of his target. You can pretty much connect the dots from there.
The fresh faced Paul Walker is special agent Brian O’Conner. He is trying to catch extremely muscular Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto, an infamous street racer and adrenaline junkie thief. He and his gang are pulling off daring heists using their souped up cars.
The Fast and the Furious never promises to be a new take, and it hits all the beats an “Undercover Cop Gets In To Deep” action movie will take. But it does so entertainingly with fun and daring stunts. The film is a complete knockoff of the 1991 Keanu Reeves/Patrick Swayze movie Point Break. A couple years ago that movie got remade. This is the better “remake”. The cast is generally likeable, including Jordana Brewster as Mia, the previously mentioned sister who complicates things and Michelle Rodriguez as Letty, Dom’s girlfriend and fellow thief. The Fast and the Furious is a fun action and popcorn film, though if you told me it would spawn seven more films (and an eighth sequel in the works) I would never have expected it.