Spanning eight movies, a short film, and with an upcoming spinoff it’s fair to say The Fast & the Furious franchise has come a long way from its humble roots. Initially a story about an undercover cop trying to bust a gang of thieves in the underground street racing scene of LA, the most recent entries in the series have seen Dominic Toretto and his #family face down international criminals in locations all over the world.
As the series has moved further and further away from its roots, it’s also moved further and further from reality. There are bigger explosions, faster cars, more furious drivers, and higher stakes, but also a multitude of impossible stunts and crazy technological innovations way too powerful or plot-convenient to be realistic. The series has always valued high octane action and thrilling car chases over silly things like realism or story, and we’re not saying they should be doing anything else. But as each entry in the series seems to bend the laws of physics a little more than the previous we’ve begun to make wonder, just how far are they going to go and how much do they expect us to believe?
And so in response we’ve come up with a list of 20 plot holes, conveniences, stunts, cars and outlandish gadgets that are signs the series should maybe dial it back, but only just a little bit.
20 DOM DEADLIFTS A CAR
This first entry is also the first argument for the secret thesis of this list: Dominic Toretto (and possible his family) is a superhuman. Proof one: Dom deadlifts a Lykan Hypersport.
The Lykan Hypersport has a curb weight of over 1.5 tonnes, or just over 3000 pounds. For those who aren’t car-people, curb weight (or kerb weight) refers to the weight of the vehicle including all necessary equipment and consumables (ie gas and oil), but not passengers or other cargo. Considering the world record for deadlifting, set by Zydrunas Savickas, stands at 1155 pounds, we’re marking this one as a feat of superhuman strength.
19 WHEELIE BURNOUT
You don’t need to know a whole lot about cars to understand how impossible this stunt was. A wheelie requires a vehicle’s wheels to have too much traction, causing the front wheels to launch into the air. A burnout requires the exact opposite: not enough traction. This way the wheels spin in place and burn rubber on pavement.
So exactly how Dom’s Charger was able to pull off both at the same time is a mystery. Even more so? How both Dom and Brian are able to launch their cars into the air while crossing train tracks with no apparent ramps in sight.
18 DOM KISSES CIPHER
The major twist of Fate of the Furious is Dom’s apparent betrayal of his family. The movie’s villain Cipher, played by Charlize Theron, kidnaps Dom’s ex-lover Elena and the child Dom didn’t know they had together in order to force him to work for her.
We’ll leave the whole secret child thing alone for now, and just focus on the most frustrating aspect of Dom’s betrayal: the way he apparently revels in it. At times Dom seems to be fighting back against his captor (i.e. when he helps Letty escape). Other times he takes Stockholme Syndrome to a whole new level, like when he makes out with Cipher. There’s no reason for that other than shock value, and it’s a disservice to Dom’s character.
17 WHY DOES CIPHER NEED DOM?
Speaking of Cipher and Dom, why exactly does she need him in particular?
To be fair, Dominic Toretto has proven himself to be incredibly capable and maybe even superpowered (more on that later). With the help of his family he’s ripped a vault out of a bank, deadlifted a car, jumped out of buildings, flown through the air to rescue Letty - a lot of awe-inspiring things. But do all of these things somehow qualify him to be the only person capable of stealing nuclear launch codes and an emp for her? Maybe it’s motivated by revenge, since during this movie we’re told Cipher was behind the dastardly plots Dom and the family foiled in the sixth and seventh instalments, but that’s a pretty big stretch.
16 ROME’S MOBILE HOUSE ARREST
Someone should’ve explained to the writers of 2 Fast 2 Furious exactly how a house arrest works.
At the beginning of the film we’re introduced to Roman Pearce, a mainstay of the series and part of the family. When he’s introduced we’re told he’s been placed under house arrest, and part of his deal working with Brian O’Conner (back to being an undercover cop) is getting that lifted. However Rome is living in a mobile home at the time, which for obvious reasons is not allowed for someone in his situation. If your house moves, it’s not really house arrest is it?
15 FORGOT ABOUT HAN
For a group that’s constantly referring to themselves as a ‘family,' they sure do forgive and forget easy when one of said family members is slain in cold blood.
Redemption is certainly not out of the question in this series. Just look at Brian O’Conner and Dominic Torretto’s relationship from the first entry, or Gal Gadot’s Giselle. The problem here is Deckard apparently achieves redemption just by realizing Cipher was behind his brother’s demise the whole time, which in turn leads him to realize taking out Han was an oopsy. By the end of Fate of the Furious Deckard Shaw is now part of the family, so we guess they all agree. At some point Deckard’s role in Han’s death needs to be addressed by the rest of the family, otherwise his acceptance just feels cheap.
14 BRIAN & ELENA
One of the sweetest and most confusing plot points in The Fast & The Furious franchise is the existence of Dom’s son, Brian. Sweet because he’s named after the late Paul Walker’s character Brian O’Conner. Confusing because his mother is not Letty, Dom’s long time love interest, but Elena, his love interest from that one time they decided to knock off Letty.
After it was decided Letty was sorely missed and needed to be brought back, Elena was quickly left behind by Dom. Don’t worry though - she was totally cool with it (seriously). So cool with it she decided not only to keep their child a secret until after Dom and Letty’s honeymoon, but also to hold off on giving him a first name until Dom could give him Brian’s. Oh, and also Elena was executed in this movie. So…RIP?
13 THE BANK VAULT VS. A TREE
Spoiler alert: the tree wins. Fast Five has some of the best moments in the franchise, and definitely the best heist. The family manages to steal a bank vault by attaching it to Brian and Dom’s cars and dragging it through Rio.
Along the way Dom and Brian showcase their incredible driving skills, using the vault to take out police cars, parked civilian vehicles, streetlights, even the first floor of a building - but not, somehow, a tree. If you watch closely, you’ll notice the vault bounce right off one during this scene. To be fair, we don’t know just how deep those roots go.
12 DOM’S FLAMING CAR
A lot of questionable things happen in Fate of the Furious, one of the many standouts being the absolutely bonkers crazy street race that happens at the beginning of the film.
Remember that burnout-wheelie from The Fast & The Furious? It’s got nothing on this race. At one point fairly early on Dom’s car catches fire and he continues to drive it in excess of 200 MPH. Somehow he manages to dodge traffic and keep on the road while his vision is obscured by flames (which somehow aren’t burning his face off). The windshield of his car then explodes, but don’t worry - all the glass misses him. He then quickly throws his car into reverse (maintaining all his speed, of course) and wins the race driving backwards.
11 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS BOAT RACE
The climax of 2 Fast 2 Furious sees Brian O’Conner and Roman Pearce chasing down the villain’s boat using their car. Eventually they jump the shark boat in order to have a final face to face, but before Brian pulls off this stunt we get a glimpse of his car’s speedometer, clocking their speed at 120 MPH.
Thing is, it’s pretty unlikely the boat could ever reach even close to that speed, meaning Brian and Rome would’ve overshot their target by quite a bit. Still, it wouldn’t be Fast & Furious movie if they weren’t going pedal to the metal.
10 5000 HORSEPOWER
After Dom’s betrayal his entire family rallies and tries to take him down in order to stop him helping Cipher. They’re still not clear on why Dom’s betraying them, but they know he has to be stopped.
So how do you stop Dominic Toretto, superhuman fastest and most furious character in the franchise? With car-mounted harpoon guns, apparently. Forget about how one would aim these car-mounted harpoons because the family doesn’t miss a shot, they’re just that good. No, the flaw in this plan is that Dom’s car is packing not two, not three, but 5000 horsepower. Dom probably transferred some of his super-strength into the engine to make this one work.
9 HACKING A FLEET OF CARS
There are few if any movies that give us a realistic depiction of hacking and the Fast & Furious movies are no exception.
In Fate of the Furious Cipher and her team of fellow hackers hijack a thousand autonomous vehicles. Apparently hacking an autonomous car can be done, a fleet of a thousand is a little more unlikely. But what’s really frustrating about it is what comes next. Once they’ve taken control of all these vehicles, the hackers pilot them with unreasonable skill through the streets of Manhattan. They do this from their remote location onboard Cipher’s stealth-plane, yet somehow turn those corners and coordinate the fleet as though they were in the driver's seat.
8 BRAGA’S TUNNEL ON THE BORDER
There’s more than one plot hole in Fast & Furious, especially when you consider the events laid down by the movies following (why did Dom and Letty split up if they’d just gotten married?!), but the biggest one is Braga’s tunnel.
Braga smuggles drugs across the US-Mexico border through a secret tunnel in the mountains. He needs really fast (and probably really furious) street racers to get the drugs through. This is because his gang can knock out some of the Border Patrol’s tech for a short amount of time, creating a window of opportunity for the drivers to sneak by. Seems like shaky logic, but the real problem here is the tunnel itself. If they can only interfere with the border’s security for a short amount of time, how did Braga’s cartel manage to build the tunnel (which is in full view of the cameras) in the first place?
7 AN AMERICAN SIREN IN LONDON
The Fast & Furious franchise has been taking us all over the world since Tokyo Drift, with films taking place in England, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and, of course, Tokyo.
We’ve seen some pretty exciting if at times unrealistic stunts and heists pulled off, but it’s likely only citizens of the UK noticed this unrealistic sound. While racing through the streets of London in Fast & Furious 6 the family is chased by London Police using American Police sirens. A pretty minor screw up sure, but anyone born in London would likely have noticed immediately.
6 THE GOD’S EYE
In another instance of technology that’s just too good to be true (a la perfectly coordinated autonomous cars) Furious 7 introduced audiences to Nathalie Emmanuel’s character Ramsey and her incredible device God’s Eye.
God’s Eye is a device able to track any person anywhere in the world. It does so by hacking into any and all pieces of technology that make use of a camera, apparently regardless of whether or not that camera is connected to the internet. How exactly it does this and how exactly it’s able to process all of this information while running some kind of facial recognition program is never explained. The God’s Eye is quite literally too deus ex machina for us to believe.
5 WORLD’S LONGEST RUNWAY
As far as stunts go in the franchise, pulling a plane out of the sky using their cars is right up there with dragging a vault through the streets of Rio.
It made for an epic climax and an incredible visual, but it doesn’t take much to poke holes in this plot point. How long exactly was that runway? The family are driving on it for a good 13 minutes movie time, and while ‘movie time’ definitely isn’t the same as real time, shouldn’t they have reached the end at some point? Especially considering how fast they were going.
4 LUKE HOBBS’ JOB
How on Earth does Luke Hobbs still have a job? When he’s first introduced he’s a DSS agent tasked with taking down Dom, Brian and Mia. He fails pretty monumentally at this, and with the exception of Elena, his entire team is wiped out while trying.
After determining who the real bad guys are, Hobbs lets the family go. Definitely the noble thing to do, but how did his bosses not find out about it? And in Fast & Furious 6, how are they ok with him working together with the same crew of criminals he was tasked with arresting in the first place? Especially considering he enlists their help only after failing to catch Owen Shaw himself, chasing him across four continents we’re told. Really, wouldn’t the DSS just assign a more capable agent at that point?
3 DEUS EX MR NOBODY
One of the most recent additions to the franchise is Kurt Russell’s Mr. Nobody, and while nobody here is arguing that Kurt Russell isn’t a great addition to the movies, his character’s influence is a little too convenient for us.
What government agency does he work for that allows him to do what he does? He comes and goes as he pleases, enlists a family of criminals to do government business, helps them out in shootouts and mysteriously appears out of thin air to rescue Dom from Deckard Shaw. A little more exposition on this character would go a long way.
2 COMPLETE DISREGARD FOR BYSTANDERS
Over eight films the Fast & Furious family has been responsible for an incredible amount of destruction spanning multiple countries, but no one outside of themselves, the police, and other criminals ever seem to get hurt.
Dom and Brian take out an entire floor of a building with the bank vault in Rio, but we never hear of the consequences. We find it pretty hard to believe no one got hurt in that incident, or in any of the other high speed chases they’ve staged in broad daylight through busy city streets, but if they did the family doesn’t seem to care. Either they’re incredibly accurate with their random mayhem and destruction, or just completely remorseless.
1 THE FAMILY’S SUPERPOWERS
And now, with our final entry in our list of frustrations with The Fast & The Furious, we come to the secret thesis of the list. Dominic Toretto and his #family are superhumans.
The proof is all here in this list. How else could Dom have deadlifted that car? Could Letty have survived that explosion? Could Brian have the reaction time and skill necessary to drive a vault through a city and never lost control? But especially, especially, how could Dom have vaulted himself through the air from a speeding car, caught Letty in his arms, and then perfectly landed on the hood of another car on the other side of the bridge to rescue her from certain death in Fast Five? I’m pretty sure there are even some Avengers who couldn’t pull that stunt off.