“The Fate of the Furious” is right around the corner, which means it’s the perfect time to reflect on how far the action movie franchise has come since the first film, “The Fast and the Furious,” debuted in 2001. Fortunately, someone has already gone to all the work of creating a highlight video of the series’ biggest moments, moments that encapsulate just how much a franchise about fast cars doing crazy stunts has changed over the course of 16 years and eight films.
The video, the work of YouTube user Burger Fiction, offers a commentary-free look back at all the big stunts, character moments and quips that have come to define the “Fast and Furious” series. While submarines and tanks have been featured prominently in trailers for “Fate of the Furious,” it’s easy to forget that the series began as a by-the-book story about an undercover cop, Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), trying to break up an illegal street racing syndicate run by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel).
“The Fast and the Furious” premiered in 2001 and was a financial success at the box office, netting $207 million globally on a budget of $38 million (a trend that could continue; the franchise has made nearly $4 billion since its debut). Directed by Rob Cohen, the film was both an action movie and a fetishistic tribute to cars. As the series evolved over time, the focus on all things automotive receded in favor of bigger stunts and smaller character moments, which have included everything from highly choreographed fight scenes to a tribute for Walker, who passed away in 2013.
The franchise has even played with its own chronology at times. The third movie in the series -- “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” -- is an entry that does away with the majority of the series’ regular cast in favor of a side story that takes place years ahead of the previous film, “2 Fast 2 Furious,” and the events of which are only acknowledged once the in-fiction timeline has caught up in “Furious 7.” “Tokyo Drift” includes a notable character death -- Han Lue (Sung Kang) -- that isn't addressed until years later. Han is even recruited into Toretto’s crew for a time after his death is depicted in “Tokyo Drift.”
Debuting in theaters on April 14, “The Fate of the Furious” is a production of Original Film directed by F. Gary Gray and starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren.