Fast and Furious: Why is it such a beloved movie saga? Let’s try to answer this question and deepen it by touching the basic elements of the franchise.
Dominic Toretto and the sense of family, super modified cars that whiz by almost at the speed of light, excellent spy action plots: perhaps we could summarize in all these elements why Fast and Furious is such a beloved film saga, but these are topics that deserve to be explored through some food for thought.
With Fast and Furious 9 which has recently arrived in cinemas, and with two other films (the last) in the pipeline, one wonders what could have made this film saga so long-lived and so loved by the public. We have listed some of the reasons, now let’s try to dissect them.
Vin Diesel, powerful cars and life to live a quarter of a mile at a time
The scene of Wasted Youth in which James Dean starts to race in a car at breakneck speed accepting a mortal challenge in which the two drivers risk their lives darting at maximum speed near a cliff is something comparable to the feeling of adrenaline and transience of life that he has always felt to instill the saga of Fast and Furious. Of course, this poetic of running at breakneck speed, burning life and risking to consume it in an instant is an element that in Fast and Furious is declined in more “tamarra” ways, but the principle is the same.
I live my life a quarter of a mile at a time, I don’t care about anything else, not the mortgage, not the store. For those ten seconds I’m free
He says Dominic Toretto in the first film by Fast and Furious. This phrase is nothing more than a carpe diem declined in the automotive sense. The character of Vin Diesel with his powerful and modified cars he finds his reason for living in those few minutes of the race, with the whole meaning of his existence concentrated in a few tens of seconds.
Probably many find outlets in passions and attitudes capable of concentrating the strongest emotions in a short time. Music is made of this, and so is sport. Motoring is a sport that combines the mind and body of man with the performance of a car, and Dominic Toretto focuses his daily work on his cars to get ready for those night races that burn all the greatest emotions in some ten seconds.
While the first films of Fast and Furious they gave a lot of space to clandestine competitions, and to all that collateral moved around those events a Los Angeles, the following films have tried in other locations and situations to keep intact that sense of adrenaline and the desire to consume life in a short time. Risking to lose everything you have (your existence) gives meaning to your life. The principle is that.
Risking to lose everything you have (your existence) gives meaning to your life. The principle is that.
To give substance and charisma to these elements there is a level character like Vin Diesel, an actor who has been able to embody in Dominic Toretto this sense of continuous play with one’s life, but at the same time this ability to transmit affection and brotherhood.
The face of Vin Diesel is one of those that belong to those “soft” action actors, that is, able to be quite badass and tough on the big screen, but also to have that sweetened expression of a friend that we would always like to have next to us, ready to everything for us and with us, even go down to hell … accompanied by a roar you can.
The action, the spy, and the sense of family
One aspect that gives flavor to the Fast and Furious movies is also the thriller and spy plots who manage in every feature film of the saga to keep the viewer attached to the screen, to discover yet another ruthless villain, and a new situation at the limit capable of putting Toretto and his group at risk, but sometimes even an entire nation, and not only.
The Fast and Furious saga is also so beloved because it manages to travel on that line drawn by James Bond And Mission: Impossible, offering a cross between engaging and well-written and well-crafted action and espionage stories. The first films of the saga managed to convey that sense of history and local situation, which, in the end, closed the plot within the scenario of Los Angeles. As the saga has progressed the scenarios have expanded, and the latest film has fully acquired that characteristic typical of Mission: Impossible, in which each film is set in different continents (indeed, Fast and Furious 9 adds even Space as a new frontier).
In over twenty years the saga has also been able to decline into other subgenres, acquiring in some chapters a superhero and cinecomics touch, with situations and characters over the top, or sometimes with extraordinary powers (see the character played by Idris Elba in the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw).
And then, one of the elements that make the Fast and Furious film saga more iconic and so loved is that sense of family and the emotional ties that have been transmitted since the first film.
THE Toretto and the bond that unites brothers and friends carries on the whole saga, and makes relationships strong, also giving more tension to the most risky scenes, in which not only the lives of the symbolic characters risk, but the viewer also identifies with the person he is seeing a loved one endangering himself in a situation or position that is sometimes just as uncomfortable.
And then, one of the elements that make the Fast and Furious film saga more iconic and so loved is that sense of family and emotional bonds that has been transmitted since the first film.
So that sense of carpe diem returns, of seizing the moment and gambling on one’s existence in a matter of seconds. All this keeps the Torettos going, but at the same time creates a short circuit? How can such a strong sense of brotherhood and an extended family go on if the individual members risk their lives continuously? This is an element that is deepened and touched upon in Fast and Furious 9, and which will be among the basic ideas of the last two films.
Because Dominic Toretto himself declares in the last chapter of the saga that, by now, he can no longer live his own life “a quarter of a mile at a time”, and therefore all lives change, even those of great movie characters. And the changes of Fast and Furious are leading more and more towards what is perhaps the most natural epilogue: after so many adventures our heroes retire in search of quiet, fulfilling the most important mission, that of growing new lives and expanding and to strengthen the family and its values.
After all, that’s also why we love the Fast and Furious saga.
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