The Fast and the Furious

2001’s The Fast and the Furious is a bromance/car racing movie that has spawned one of the silliest and most profitable movie franchises in history.  Many say it’s a rip off of the basic plot of Point Break with a young, and presumably impressionable, law enforcement officer going undercover with a group of suspected robbers and falling under the sway of the group’s charismatic alpha male leader. Ok, I see it now.  It’s a rip off of Point Break.

However, The Fast and the Furious has a much better cast than Point Break. As unbelievable as the movie is, Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, and the rest do everything they can to make each scene as cool as possible.  They so wholeheartedly sell the idiocy in the movie that it’s hard to see past trees of their earnest portrayals to the forest of vapidity.

That forest, however, exists.  Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor has a character arc that veers so perplexingly and suddenly that you wonder if you missed 30 minutes of character development.  None of the film’s scenes seem to lead to the next in any meaningful way.  If you could take the DVD and set the chapters on “shuffle” like an MP3 player the movie would probably follow as well as the finished product.  The entire movie is a series of events set up to imply importance only to end up being a framework for some cool stunt work.

Kudos to the stunt work, though. One of the benefits of this film over Point Break is that it revolves around cars. Cars are much more popular than surfing and they look much better on film. Much of the driving was actually performed on real streets by real drivers using real cars, even if the streets are always empty.

Still, even with the great eye candy and the astonishing ability of Walker and Diesel to make each scene seem nearly believable in the moment, the movie is terrible. The lack of story cohesion and reliance on coolness-over-plot drives this movie into a ditch.



Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 |Chapter 16



Chapter 1: 00:00 – 3:05

The film opens at a loading dock. One of the stevedores makes a phone call and tells the person on the other line that the “money load” is on the way and to “look for the truck with ‘Rodgers’ on the side”. Said truck is seen driving off.

Next, three modified Honda Civics speed up to the truck as it drives along a deserted stretch of highway. One car passes the truck and a person emerges through the sunroof and fires a grappling hook at the truck’s windshield, and then pulls the windshield out. The truck driver swerves back and forth. The person in the sun roof then fires a harpoon into the passenger seat of the truck, and jumps on the front of the truck and climbs through where the windshield was. The truck driver tries to fight off his assailant with a bat, but the assailant shoots the driver with a tranquilizer. The truck driver passes out and the assailant assumes control of the truck. The assailant steers the truck through a construction site and the cars follow.

Analysis

This is the introduction which shows that people steal trucks in transit. It’s a tame scene compared to what this series has become, but there are still some problems with it. For starters, why is the driver of the truck only swerving a few feet? You see him turning the wheel, but he doesn’t seem to be trying to hit or evade anything. I will give the driver credit for not going softly into that good night by repeatedly smacking his robber with a bat. I don’t know who that robber is but the driver is a pretty big guy and he’s wailing on the robber but the robber seems unaffected. I’m also curious why the robber waits until he/she is within baseball bat range, inside the cab of the truck, before using the tranquilizer. I’d shoot the driver before I entered. I’m also unsure why the truck driver is swerving, albeit gently, until the robber is on his hood, then he keeps the vehicle nice and steady.

Once the robber has control of the truck, why not slow down a bit before barreling into that construction site? For that matter, what was the trucker’s route that took him directly through a road closed for construction? What was the construction crew doing? They have the road closed but just past the barricade there is a nice, open road. Finally, I understand why the robbers use small, fast cars, but why ones that glow green at the bottom? Why make yourself so noticeable?

What happens to the driver after the truck’s contents are unloaded? Do the robbers leave him on the side of the road in a heap?

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Chapter 2: 03:06 – 09:05

The next day, LAPD officer Brian O’Connor is seen driving a modified car around a makeshift track. He pushes the car to its limits and spins out. Brian then drives his pick-up truck to Torreto’s. He sits at the counter and Mia Toretto asks him if he wants the tuna with no crusts. Brian has been going to the store for 3 weeks asking for the same order. Mia makes Brian the sandwich and Brian watches Mia’s brother, Dom, who is sitting behind the counter in a screened off room.

Brian and Mia look outside as four cars wind their way through the neighborhood and park in front of Toretto’s. The cars are driven by Dom’s girlfriend, Letty, and his friends Vince, Jesse, and Leon. Vince and Jesse talk about a problem with Vince’s car. The quartet looks at Vince’s engine until Vince notices Brian’s truck. Vince has taken umbrage with Brian’s repeated visits and a presumed attempt to woo Mia. Brian pays and leaves, and Vince follows him. Vince tells Brian to eat elsewhere from now on, but Brian demurs. Vince attacks Brian and they fight in the street. Mia asks Dom to intervene.

Dom pulls Brian off Vince and tells Brian to not come around again. Dom points at Brian’s truck and asks if Brian works for Harry. Brian says he just started and Dom tells him he was just fired.


Analysis

You’ll have to trust me on this but Brian is supposed to be an excellent driver. Ignore that the first thing we see him do is lose control of his car because he can’t countersteer.

Instead, focus on Toretto’s. Is this a restaurant or a car shop? Why is Brian trying to sell car parts to a diner? What kind of acoustics does that neighborhood have? Brian and Mia turn their heads towards the outside like a pair of dogs expecting the home owner’s return, but the cars have to make two turns and travel a ways before making it to Toretto’s. They must have superior hearing.

Great camera work as Letty steps out of her car, stops, and looks at the sun before going into Toretto’s.

If Dom has a problem with Brian coming in week after week to sell his diner car parts or hit on his sister, why does he wait for Vince to attack before telling Brian that Brian isn’t welcome? Brian is the only customer there for lunch, why run him off when he comes in everyday? Are the tuna sandwiches a loss leader for Toretto’s?

How accustomed to Vince’s violence is this group? No one seems to think it’s out of the ordinary for him to attack a man, from behind, after the man spent money eating at his friend’s restaurant. I can see the diminutive Jesse not breaking up the fight, but what about Leon? He’s a strapping young man. Instead, it’s up to the women in the group to plead with Dom to stop the fight. That fight, by the way, is terrible. On two separate occasions, one of the attackers is on top of the other only for them both to be standing in the next scene. Great continuity.

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Chapter 3: 09:06 – 15:04

Brian drives back to Harry’s shop, The Racer’s Edge. Dom is on the phone with Harry. Harry complains to Brian that Brian is hurting his business. Dom uses Harry’s parts when he races and Dom always wins. Kids, in turn, go to Harry’s shop and buy the parts Dom uses. Dom wants Brian fired, but Brian tells Harry to relax and that he needs “Nos”, or nitrous oxide. Harry thinks it’s dangerous but Brian says he needs two big tanks by that night.

That night, Brian drives to the scene of a street race. There are many cars and the street is full of people. Brian takes note of a group of Hispanic people and a group of Asian people. The leader of the Hispanic group, Hector, talks to Brian about cars and joining a pro racing circuit. Another street racer, Edwin, talks to Brian and Brian says he’s waiting for Toretto (Dom).


Dom and his friends arrive. Dom talks to a few of the women there and Letty warns them off. Dom says there will be one race, with a $2,000 buy in and winner takes all. Brian says he doesn’t have the cash, but he will put his car up as collateral. They inspect Brian’s car and Dom says Brian can race.

Analysis

More set up. We now know that Dom is a street racer and Harry uses him as promotion. Also, I promise Brian is supposed to be a good driver even though he drives Harry’s truck into the curb in front of Harry’s shop.

The street race is what is comically farcical. This movie was somewhat based on an article about street racing, so I’m sure there is a kernel of truth in there somewhere. However, you couldn’t find that many attractive people in one spot, dressed in their Frederick’s of Hollywood finest, anywhere. Why would so many people turn up, show cars off, and wait for Dom to show up? There are around 100 people milling about waiting for Dom. Don’t they have anything better to do?

When Dom appears, he says they’re going to have one race. One race? Everyone showed up for one race, and not everyone is in it? They aren’t even at the race site, as everyone has to convoy to another part of the city. Wouldn’t it be easier to set up the parameters of the race before gathering somewhere that isn’t the race course? I know there was no Facebook when this movie came out, but are you telling me these guys can put together $10,000 worth of car modifications but can’t send a group email?

Speaking on $10,000 worth of car modifications, who are these kids going to The Racer’s Edge to mimic Dom? All these kids have $10,000 lying around to spend on car parts? These kids have $10,000 in petty cash and they spend their evenings watching once street race at a time?

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Chapter 4: 15:05 – 23:00

The non-drivers block traffic for the race course, parking cars to block intersections and telling drivers to divert. The fans of the race line the street and cheer and the cars move to the starting line. Dom, Brian, Edwin, and an Asian driver are the contestants. Brian is nervous.


Dom turns on the stereo in his car, which is also heavily modified and has Nos. A woman, Monica, tells Edwin that she is his regardless of the outcome of the race but that if he wins he gets to have her friend as well. Brian turns on his Nos, and Dom does the same with Nos he has hidden under the passenger seat. Jesse listens to the police scanner and hears there is a homicide, which means the police will respond to it and the street will be clear for the race.

The race starts and Dom jumps to an early lead. Brian checks his computer equipment to determine when to use his Nos. He uses his first tank and shifts fourth gear to second but receives a warning about his manifold. He presses the second tank and his car starts to fall apart. He passes Dom, but Dom uses his own Nos and narrowly defeats Brian. Brian’s car has smoke pouring from it.

Dom is lauded by the crowd, Edwin doesn’t get either woman, and yet Brian is happy because feels he almost had Dom. Dom chides Brian for his poor driving to the crowd’s delight. Jesse hears about the race on the police scanner and tells everyone. They all scatter.

Analysis

So, how is this a test of driving ability when all they do is race in a straight line? Anyone can keep a car going straight. The only difference in the driving is deciding when to shift or press your nitrous oxide. Even the nitrous isn’t that difficult of a decision. The only concern is not using it all by the time the race is over. Ideally, you have none left at the end. Once you are at top speed, which shouldn’t take long in those cars, you use the nitrous immediately. It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going by the time you finish. It only matters how quickly you traverse the required distance. These are not complicated decisions. You traverse the distance as fast as possible regardless of what the other racers are doing.

Let’s discuss this distance. The race officially starts around 18:28. By 19:42 or so, Brian is travelling over 140mph. By 19:55 he’s over 150mph. The race concludes at 20:36. So, we can assume the winners are driving at 150mph for at least 30 seconds and 140 mph for 30 seconds. At 150mph, you are travelling at .04166667 miles per second. That would mean they travelled 1.25 miles in that time. At 140MPH, you are travelling, 03888889 miles per second, which would have them travel an additional 1.17 miles. That brings us to a distance of 2. 42 miles in the final minute of a two minute race. We can safely assume that the initial minute of the race, pre-Nos but still pretty fast, would have them travel an average of 100mph seeing as they had to accelerate but were already up to 140 before the Nos injections. At 100mph, you are travelling 1.6 repeating mile per minute. So, let’s round down give them another 1.6 miles. That puts the race’s total distance at four miles, conservatively.

How did the street racers manage to shut down ALL the cross streets on this route for a straight, level, four-mile section of road in Los Angeles, CA? How many cars would that take? And are we supposed to believe the denizens of Los Angeles are going to accept that many roads being blocked by non-police? This is the city where people shoot each other after being cut off in traffic. The police, for their part, are supposed to be too busy with a liquor store robbery that went wrong to notice four miles of road being blocked off by an armada of race cars. Who could have been killed at this store that required so many of the thousands of LAPD officers on duty at the time, that it assured the street would be clear? Great civic (pun intended) pride by racers; Hooray, someone was murdered, let’s race!

Another problem with the distance. How fun of a time is it going to be to watch this race? It’s four miles long! You can only see seconds of it as the cars blur past you. You get dressed up in your most revealing clothes and line up for a race and you can’t even see all of it? There weren’t even any people at the end to determine with winner! I know these are all street racers and they’re hearty and brave, but no fucking way I’m going to line up on the street while people I don’t really know drive their cars over 100mph mere feet from me. Brian isn’t even looking at the road – he keeps checking his computer! (Really, he’s supposed to be a good driver)

And just what is that computer system anyway? It tells him stage one is complete. Stage one of what? What is stage two? How does the computer know there is a threat to the manifold?

Why is everyone worried about the police? Outside of the racers and the people blocking he streets, who’s breaking the law? They’re merely standing next to their cars. Is that illegal in Los Angeles? Are they worried about having to give witness statements?

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Chapter 5: 23:01 – 29:55

Dozens of marked police cars and a helicopter descend upon the racing area. The police chase the race crowd. Dom is able to pull off the road into a parking garage and leave his car. He walks out into the street and a police car passes him. The officer in the car calls Dom by name on the loud speaker and tells him to stop. Dom runs.

Brian pulls up next to Dom and Dom enters Brian’s car. Brian evades the police. Dom is surprised Brian helped him. Brian says he hopes that Dom will let him keep his car if he stays in Dom’s good graces. Dom says he’s keeping the car. Dom asks Brian if he has ever been arrested. Brian says he hasn’t but Dom says Jesse found out about Brian’s juvenile arrest in Tucson for stealing cars. Dom says he did two years in prison and will die before he goes back.



After their discussion, Dom and Brian are surrounded by motorcycles. One of the motorcyclists points a gun at Brian and tells him to follow the motorcycles. The motorcyclists take Dom and Brian to an oriental food store. They ask Dom why he’s in their territory and he says he was lost. He calls Brian his new mechanic, and introduces Brian to the leader of the Asian gang – Johnny Tran. Tran and his cousin, Lance, look over Brian’s car and talk to Dom about seeing him in the desert in a month. Brian asks what happened and Dom says he’ll tell him later. The motorcycle gang drives off, but Tran and Lance return and shoot Brian’s car, igniting the nitrous and causing it to explode.

As they walk away, Dom tells Brian the beef with Tran is about a business deal that went sour and that Dom slept with Tran’s sister.

Analysis

Dom does the smart thing and gets off the road. Now, he’s just a guy walking down the street – no need to be stopped for either a liquor robbery across town or street racing (unless it’s a foot race). Yet, the LAPD officer who happens by knows Dom by face and name, and for this Dom runs. I can’t explain why he runs instead of talking to the police. Dom could easily lie and say there was a street race but he wasn’t involved. On what grounds are the police going to hold him? They don’t even have reasonable suspicion for a stop. If they need to get Dom, they can always stop by his diner.

In the car, Dom lets Brian know that Jesse was able to unearth his juvenile arrest records on the Internet. Why would the state of Arizona put sealed arrest records on the Internet? They could have said Jesse found out that Brian’s alias is from Arizona based on the driver’s license Brian showed at Toretto’s, and then he hacked into the state servers, but no. Instead, they go with the Internet.

How did Tran and Lance find Dom and Brian? Did they see Dom running from the police and get into Brian’s car? Did they see him through the passenger window of Brian’s car? If so, when did this happen? The first we see of Trans’s gang is when they pull up next to Brian, already aware of who was in the car. Their reason for stopping Dom was that he was in their territory, but they were the ones who led him there after they rode up next to him. Other than letting the effects guys make an explosion why do Tran and Lance ride back to shoot Brian’s car? Why only the two of them? Did they not want the rest of the gang to see what happened? If they’re worried about witnesses, why bring the woman on the back of the bike? What was the initiator for the nitrous to explode, and why is there so much of it left after Brian used it all up in the race?

See, I told you Brian was a good driver. He impressed Dom by outrunning the police in a souped-up car even though he couldn’t ram a motorcyclist who was threatening to kill him.

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Chapter 6: 29:56 – 38:06

Brian and Dom take a cab back to Dom’s house. Brian starts to walk off away Dom invites him in for a beer. Mia sees this and stops doing the work she was doing her bed and beatifies herself. A party is underway at Dom’s place. Dom is upset with his friends because they didn’t help or look for him. When Vince wonders why Brian is there, Dom tells him it’s because Brian helped him while they all ran. Dom gives Brian Vince’s beer.

While Brian is in the bathroom, Dom’s friends express concern over Brian. Basically, they don’t know him and thus are suspicious. Dom takes Letty upstairs and tells Brian that Brian owes him a ten second car. As a confrontation brews between Vince and Brian, Mia steps in and takes Brian into a different room. She tells Brian that Dom likes him, which is rare. Mia offers to take Brian home.

The next day, Brian is pulled over by an unmarked police unit. They remove him from the car and drive him to a confiscated house. In the house is a joint operation between the FBI and the LAPD. They placed Brian undercover to investigate the truck hijackings. Over $6 million in electronics has been stolen. The FBI agent in charge says he can help Brian get his detective badge soon. Brian’s supervisor, Sgt. Tanner, says the hijackers of the trucks are using the same cars – three Honda Civics with Mashimoto ZX tires. This means the drivers must be street racers.

The FBI agent, Bilkins, worries the truck drivers will start taking matters into their own hands. Brian says that the street racing world revolves around Dom, and that if Dom isn’t hitting the trucks Dom knows who is. Brian just needs time to gain Dom’s confidence. Bilkins wants something soon. Tanner asks Brian about Harry’s opinion of Dom and Brian thinks Dom is too controlled to be robbing trucks. Brian says he needs a new car.


Analysis

Why are Brian and Dom in the same cab? Does Brian live in Dom’s neighborhood? Dom goes to his house and Brian walks down the sidewalk like they’re neighbors. Shouldn’t Brian get at least start to get back in the cab before Dom invites him in for a drink? Dom’s neighbors must be very understanding. In that nice suburban area, no one seems to worry about the loud party with drinking and drugs going on. Also, if the police are looking for Dom specifically, there’s his house!

There are two silly things at the police hideout. First, the FBI tells Brian they can help him make detective. How do they plan on doing that? There is a process within police departments for promotion and it doesn’t involve the FBI. Bilkins also has the nerve to make this bold claim in front of Brian’s supervisor! Second, Tanner says that since the hijackers use Honda Civics with a neon green glow, drive well, and use a specific tire brand they are from the street racing community. Right, only street racers could possibly have that rare combination.

Brian says the street racing world revolves around Dom. Is the street racing world that organized? How many street racers are there in Los Angeles? Apparently few enough exist to allow Dom to run a monopoly on the activity from his diner. Bilkins wants something soon, and he complains about the loss of the $80,000 car. For one, you could easily round up Johnny Tran and his cousin Lance for the attempted murder of two people, and destruction of said car. I guess that’s not important enough, though. It’s also a surprise that the FBI spend $80,000 on a car but wouldn’t give Brian the $2,000 for the race.

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Chapter 7: 38:07 – 44:55

The next scene is Brian showing up to Dom’s garage with a burn husk of a Toyota Supra, which Brian offers to Dom as the 10 second car he owes. Dom scoffs at first, but when Brian shows him the engine, Dom is impressed. Dom wants the car to be fixed in order to make money off of Brian’s driving. The event in which Brian will earn Dom money is called “Race Wars”, and it takes place in the desert.

They decide that Brian will work on the car in Dom’s garage. Brian, Dom, and the gang purchase parts from Harry’s garage to rebuild the new car. Jesse shows Brian a computer model of what the car will be like when it’s finished. Brian says Jesse could be at M.I.T. but Jesse relates how his A.D.H.D hindered him in school. Vince stops by, sees Brian and leaves because of Brian’s presence.

Brian is invited to a barbeque at Dom’s house. Brian helps Mia with the dishes, which impresses her. Brian asks her our but she says she doesn’t date her brother’s friends. Vince enters the kitchen and mocks Brian for cleaning dishes. Mia asks Vince the name of the restaurant to which he wanted to take her and when Vince tells her the name, she tells Brian he can take her there.


Analysis

The barbeque scene is standard bonding fare. Brian fits in with the group, I assume because he shares a taste for chicken and Dom’s sister. We see that Vince has a crush on Mia, even though he was just shown at Dom’s house entertaining floozies while Dom was avoiding the police and Mia was in her room. He also seems to have a societally unacceptable short temper to go along with his chauvinism.

Since I wrote chauvinism, now seems like a good time to discuss about Mia. Does she have any life outside of things that relate to Dom? She works at the family diner while he broods in the back. After weeks of Brian showing up at the diner, she tells him that Dom likes him. What about your feelings, Mia? Finally, the top diamond on her dating decision flow chart is “Is he a friend of my brother?”.

The garage scene is better. Vin Diesel makes Dom seem like a charismatic person whose approval you want. Paul Walker makes Brian seem like a young guy looking for approval. Dom has a two bay garage with every tool one could need to work on a car. Where is this garage? If the garage isn’t at his house, then it is at one of two locations. It could be in the rear of Dom’s café, but who is buying a sandwich at a garage? Or, Dom owns his home, a diner, and a well-equipped garage. Dom’s doing well for himself. Forget being “too controlled” to rob trucks, Dom is “too affluent.”

We can assume Brian requisitioned the nearly destroyed Supra from an impound lot, so no issues there. The only other humorous part is how impressed Brian is with Jesse. I suppose that in 2001, when this movie came out, that being able to use a program to simulate a car is enough to be accepted to M.I.T..

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Chapter 8: 44:56 – 53:36

Hector goes to Harry’s and orders a lot of parts for a Honda Civic – three of everything. He pays Brian in cash. That night, Brian breaks into a garage across from where Hector and his friends are having a street party. Inside Hector’s garage, he finds several Honda Civics, but they have the wrong tires. When he climbs back down into the alley where he parked his car, Vince hits him in the back of the head with a shotgun and knocks him unconscious. Vince drags him to a secluded storage area where Dom is waiting.

Dom asks why Brian was in Hector’s garage. Brian claims he was spying on Hector for an advantage in Race Wars. Vince thinks Brian is a cop. Brian denies it. Dom tells Brian they’re going for a ride.

Jesse drives Dom, Brian, and Vince to Johnny Tran’s place. Vince, Dom, and Brian hop the fence, climb the roof, and sneak into Tran’s garage. Inside they find cars with no engines, prompting Vince and Dom to wonder what they’ll be racing. Brian sees a lot of electronics equipment in boxes stacked in the back of the garage. Jesse calls Dom and tells him that Tran and his friends have returned. Dom, Vince, and Brian hide as Tran and his buddies enter.

Tran and his guys have a hostage. It’s a fence named Ted. Tran asks Ted where his engines are. Ted feigns ignorance until Tran forces him to the ground and pours motor oil into his mouth. Ted admits the engines are in his warehouse.

Analysis

It makes sense Brian would be suspicious of Hector. He’s buying parts for three Honda Civics like the ones used in the robberies. However, you’d think he’d report this information to the FBI and let them deal with it rather than break into the garage himself. Even if he found damning evidence, it wouldn’t be admissible in court. What part of breaking into a garage illegally makes Vince think Brian is a cop? Why is Vince walking the streets of Los Angeles with the largest shotgun he can find? Does he want to be arrested?

What kind of advantage is provided by knowing the type of car your opponent has? Wouldn’t you build the fastest car possible regardless of your opponent’s vehicle? How did Ted end up with Tran’s engines? Did someone steal them from Tran, then try to sell them on the black market through Ted the Fence? Why isn’t Tran interested in who sold them to Ted? Why is Ted more worried about the motor oil than the men with guns? The presumption is that if Ted resists swallowing oil, there are greater consequences. I guess it’s to show Ted that Tran and Lance are serious.

Side note: what kind of program does Harry use for ordering parts? As Brian is putting in the numbers, photos of the parts are popping up on the screen, obscuring the work order. How is that helpful?

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Chapter 9: 53:37 – 58:28

At the FBI’s house HQ, Brian is debriefed. Agent Bilkins wants to move on Johnny Tran based on the presence of the electronics in the garage, Tran and Lance’s aggressive behavior, and prior arrests of his gang. Bilkins is in a hurry because his supervisors are going to visit, and because he worries the truckers will take justice into their own hands. Brian prefers to wait until he can find proof that Tran is committing the robberies. Brian also discounts Hector. Sgt. Tanner asks about Dom, but Brian thinks Dom is too controlled. Brian thinks Vince might be behind the robberies, but feels Vince isn’t smart enough. Another agent, Muse, asks Brian about Mia, and Brian becomes angry and pushes Muse. Tanner shows Brian photos of a man Dom almost beat to death, showing Dom’s ability for violent behavior. Brian says he needs a few more days.

Later, Brian is working on the car with Dom and his crew. Dom threatens to break Brian’s neck if Brian breaks Mia’s heart. Dom then takes Brian to his house and shows Brian the car in his shed. It is a custom made Chevy with 900 hp. Dom and his father made it. Dom has never driven it because it scares him. Dom tells Brian the story of Dom’s father’s death in a car race. Dom met the man who caused the accident and beat him with a wrench. Dom was banned from the circuit as a result.

Analysis

While I agree with Brian that there is no probably cause for arresting Tran on the truck robberies, there is certainly enough evidence to arrest them of firearms charges and for assaulting one fence named Ted. That doesn’t include the time when Tran and Lance shot automatic weapons at Brian’s car. Even if Ted doesn’t press charges, Brian, being a sworn law enforcement officer witnessed the crime. He could fill out an affidavit and remain undercover while the LAPD makes the arrest once a warrant is issued. Instead, Bilkins is worried that his supervisors will…what? Are they going to remove him from the case because he hasn’t made an arrest by the time they show up for a tour of his confiscated house? Do they need to show up in person for that? Did the FBI not have phones, faxes, or email in 2001?

What is the reason for the story about Dom’s dad? Are we supposed to give Dom a pass for savagely, and in an apparent fugue state, beating the man who caused the accident that killed his father? This isn’t an accident on the freeway, by the way. This is a car race, where the risk is known to and accepted by the participants.

I assume this is why Dom spend time in prison. Dom previously said he’d never go back to prison so it must have been quite the event in his life, but the big take away is that he can’t race on the circuit? How large is this circuit that Dom can’t race anywhere? Does it encompass the local area, state, nation, or even the entire world? He can’t go anywhere and do any racing, so he has to race illegally on the street?

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Chapter 10: 58:29 – 1:05:07

Brian finally takes Mia to dinner. He asks about how Dom’s team was formed. Mia tells him that Dom and Vince were childhood friends, and Letty grew up in the same neighborhood. Jesse and Leon “showed up one night and stuck around”. Mia says Dom attracts people like gravity. Brian counters and says he was attracted to Mia and being friends with Dom is a bonus. After dinner, the couple goes for a drive, with Mia impressing Brian with her driving skills.

The next scene is another robbery. The three civics with glowing under carriages are seen approaching a truck. Brian then receives a call from Tanner, who informs Brian of the robbery and says the FBI is going to move on Tran as a result. Brian is lying next to Mia in bed.

A montage shows the raid on Tran. Brian is along with the LAPD, wearing a balaclava to protect his identity. Lance, Tran’s cousin, is arrested in a restaurant. The LAPD sends a S.W.A.T. team to Tran’s home, where he is eating dinner with his family. These scenes are intercut with scenes of Dom and his team working on cars, and a love scene between Dom and Letty.

At the house HQ, Bilkins tells Tanner and Brian that the DVD players were purchased legally and that Tran’s father bailed Tran out. The only charges they have on Tran are weapons charges and unpaid speeding tickets. Bilkins tries to blame Brian, and tells Brian he has “36 hours to crack this bastard, or you might want to think about another career.” Tanner tells Brian that Dom is behind the robberies. Brian tells Tanner that Dom won’t go back to prison.

Analysis

Why the dinner scene? It adds nothing to the movie, other than to imply that Brian is too close to Mia – a fact we have already figured out. Of course, all Brian and Mia talk about at their dinner is Dom, so it doesn’t go very far towards cementing Brian and Mia’s relationship. It does, however, support Mia’s very important role as “Dom’s Sister”. There is also no reason to show Mia driving fast. She couldn’t be one of the robbers, since she was with Brian while the recent robbery was committed.

The raid scenes are glorious. At one point you see Tanner walk in with what we can reasonably assume is a warrant. I’m curios what sort of warrant it is. If it’s a search warrant, why was the S.W.A.T. team necessary, and did they have to kick in the door? They could just knock and serve the warrant then bring in the search team without so much damage to the Tran residence. Also, why serve the search warrant at Tran’s home instead of where Brian saw the DVD players? If it’s an arrest warrant, what’s the charge? Are they arresting Tran for the weapons charges and hoping to find the DVD players nearby when they arrest him?

Bilkins has some enormous federal balls to blame Brian. Brian flat out told him that there wasn’t enough information and he cautioned Bilkins against arresting Tran. Also, how can it be Brian’s fault when the FBI is the overarching entity? Any calls for arrests would come from Bilkins, so no matter how much he wants to blame Brian, he’s the guy making the decisions. Bilkins also threatens Brian’s career. Is Bilkins, a special agent for the FBI, going to fire Brian from the LAPD? Bilkins recommends putting a gun to someone’s head, blowing his cover, in order to get information. What the fuck? Any information Brian might get at gunpoint, is not going to be admissible in court. Bilkins also says all they have against Tran are “weapons charges and some unpaid parking tickets.’. First, that’s not so bad. Second, he forgot to add on shooting at Dom and Brian, and the assault on Ted the Fence.

Finally, why the love scene between Dom and Letty? No reason for that. We know they’re an item. If you’re going to throw in such gratuitous kissing between two very attractive actors, why have it spliced in with scenes of a S.W.A.T. team arresting an Asian family? Am I missing some deeper message here?

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Chapter 11: 1:05:08 – 1:09:05

Dom and his team have finished their work on the refurbished Supra. Brian and Dom take it out for a drive, with Brian behind the wheel. They pull up next to a rich couple in a Ferrari, and challenge the driver of the Ferrari to an impromptu race. Brian weaves through traffic and is able to leave the Ferrari behind.

Dom and Brian pull into a beach side restaurant and talk. Brian implies Dom must be supplementing his cash flow with something other than his garage and grocery store business, and Brian wants in on the venture. Dom gives Brian a piece of paper on which is written the directions to Race Wars. Dom says he’ll talk to Brian further after he sees how Brian does at Race Wars.

Analysis

Short chapter, sort of a calm before the storm. However, why bother with the scene where Brian races the guy in the Ferrari? Sure it shows some moderate stunt driving, but it’s not spectacular and it doesn’t advance the plot a whit. That time could have been better spent explaining why Brian and Dom decided to take their new race car, drive it around on-coming traffic, all in order to have some shrimp. I suppose it does finally show Brian demonstrating above average driving ability. It’s subtle, but I have to commend Vin Diesel for looking a little worried at Brian swerving into oncoming traffic. It makes Dom seem human as opposed to the caricature the character becomes in the sequels.

Dom has the directions to Race Wars written down on a piece of paper in his pocket. If it’s such a secret, why have it written down? How long did Dom have that piece of paper in his pocket? Was that the reason for the lunch? Also, didn’t they already agree that Brian was going to earn Dom money at Race Wars?

Is it intentional to have the competition called Race Wars and have a team of Asians, a team of Hispanics, a team of African Americans, and then our anti-heroes are mostly Caucasian, with one Hispanic woman and whatever Vin Diesel is?

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Chapter 12: 1:09:06 – 1:13:20

Brian drives his Supra to Race Wars. It is being held at what looks like an abandoned U.S. military base in the desert. There are people everywhere, including uniformed security, plenty of cars, scantily clad women, and even a wet T-shirt contest. There are straight line races taking place, and many tents and pavilions set up. Letty races a dreadlocked man for $2000 and wins.

Brian meets up with Jesse. Jesse is betting his car against another racer’s vehicle, loser has to give up his car. Brian feels Jesse shouldn’t bet his father’s car, but Jesse is confident. Jesse says that after he wins, he’ll have an extra vehicle so that he and his father can ride together when his father is released from prison. Jesse is racing Johnny Tran. Brian cautions Jesse against the race, suspecting Tran has “at least $100,000 under the hood”. Jesse hits his Nitrous Oxide boost, but too early, and Tran hits his and overtakes Jesse to win the race.


Analysis

So, Race Wars is a secret? There are thousands of people there. Someone hired security! People have tents, I assume there are port-o-potties, there must be food served, and they even have a wet T-shirt contest, or just a woman being hosed down. This is like Burning Rubber Man. This isn’t some closely held street racer event. You could see it from orbit!

I know safety probably isn’t their primary concern, but those races are not safe. These people selected a wide open area like an old military base, then the line the race track with other cars and people. What if someone accidentally veers off course, or has a mechanical error? Everyone in the crowd is going to be pasted. Also, there’s no one at the finish line to determine close calls. Does security handle people fighting over contested finishes?

Speaking of security, what are they checking? Brian rolls up, offers no credentials, and the security guy just says “Welcome to Race Wars”. How does Brian find Jesse in that throng? Did Dom give him directions to the actua Jesse would be? Letty and her adversary are side by side talking smack, and making a bet. Then we see that they are already lined up to race! Shouldn’t they have determined the terms of their race before lining up? Did this take place off screen?

Jesse is racing Tran, using his father’s Jetta, so that he can win a car to go driving with his dad? What kind of bonding is that? “Hey son, let’s for a ride. You get into your car and I’ll get into mine and I’ll talk to you once we reach our destination.” I don’t know what Jesse’s dad did to land himself in prison, but I think he’ll be less than enthused at Jesse wanting to race him in a car when he gets out. I’m also curious about Jesse’s dad’s Jetta. Was it like that when he went into prison? Is Jesse’s dad a teenage boy?

Johnny Tran put $100,000 into his car. One hundred thousand dollars into a car. This kid must have some serious family money. There’s no way he’s going to recoup his investment. He races Jesse, who doesn’t even own the car. How is Tran going to register the vehicle? Did Jesse’s Dad sign over the title to Tran?

Tran defeats Jesse because he’s a master at using Nitrous Oxide. I cannot stress this enough – there is very little skill in this. There are really only two concerns for the deployment of the boost. The first is whether or not it hampers the engine in the process of using it. If the engine cannot function at full capacity after using the boost, and the result is a lower top speed, then yes, you have to be careful about when you use it. You’d use it at the very end. Otherwise, there is no benefit to waiting. As soon as you hit top speed, hit the boost. The idea is to travel as fast as you can for as long a duration. If you are finishing at your maximum speed, you did it wrong. You SHOULD be decelerating as the Nos boost ends. There is no reward for having the highest velocity at the finish line. It only matters who finished first.

It shouldn’t take much work for Jesse to figure out the optimal time to use the boost, given the relative constant of acceleration of his car, the known top speed, and the fixed distance. And please, if you’re travelling at over 100mph, with bystanders all around, don’t turn your head to look over your shoulder. Look where you’re going!

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Chapter 13: 1:13:21 – 1:18:50

Rather than give his father’s Jetta to Tran, Jesse drives away. Brian informs Dom of Jesse’s actions and Tran drives up to Dom to ask where Jesse went. Tran tells Dom to get his car and accuses him of calling the police on him. Dom punches Tran until security can pull him off. He tells Tran he “…never narced on nobody.” Letty also punches Lance.

Later that night Race Wars becomes a party. Brian works his way past revelers to Mia’s trailer. She isn’t inside, but through the window, Brian can see Mia talking to Dom and Vince. Mia is upset with Dom, asking him not to go somewhere, but Dom drives off with Vince, Letty, and Leon.

Brian approaches Mia and asks her about where Dom is going. She says she has no idea and Brian brings up the trucks. When that goes nowhere, Brian tells Mia he’s a police officer. Mia is upset. Brian tells her he meant all the things he said about her but that at the moment, he needs her help. He explains how Dom, Letty, Leon, and Vince are in danger as the truckers will be fighting back against the robberies and that law enforcement in California is going to come down hard on the robbers. Mia agrees to get in the car with Brian and they drive away. Mia knows roughly where the Civics used in the robberies are stored but she and Brian can’t figure out where exactly the others would be now. Brian calls Nextel and requests a phone trace, but he doesn’t have Dom’s cell phone number. Mia provides it.

Analysis

See, this is why Race Wars needs referees at the finish line. Jesse drives right off and there’s nothing to stop him. All Tran can do is complain to Dom. What’s Dom going to do? Is he going to make Jesse sign over his dad’s Jetta to Tran? Is Tran supposed to go to the authorities? Actually, even if there were referees at the finish line, there’s still no one there with the legal authority to take possession of Jesse’s dad’s car.

Yet Tran tries, and impugns Dom’s honor in the process, netting Tran a nice beating. What is the job of security at Race Wars? As Dom is attacking Tran, who did nothing other than verbally accuse Dom of narcing on him, there are several members of the security team holding the crowd back. How about you stop the beating first, guys? Finally, security pulls Dom off and Tran smiles at him like he got the better of Dom. I guess he’s happy because Dom will be arrested or thrown out of Race Wars. That doesn’t get Tran his car, though. Then again, Dom isn’t even thrown out of Race Wars!

There is no aftermath for the beating, or if there is it’s not shown. The movie jarringly jumps ahead in time to the night party where Brian is mysteriously alone. Mia suddenly has a trailer and no one seems to care that Jesse has absconded. Did security throw Tran out?

Brian’s entire reason for being at Race Wars was so that Dom could check out his racing skills with the Supra in which Dom installed thousands of dollars of equipment and Brian doesn’t race even once. Neither does Dom. I guess this happens off screen.

Brian divulges his undercover status to Mia, in the open, where anyone could hear him.

Brian is able to convince Mia she needs to overlook his subterfuge to help him stop her brother from robbing more trucks. Brian can see Mia when Dom leaves, and he is pressed for time. We can safely assume Brian goes right up to Mia and talks her into helping. Let’s say it takes him a few minutes to catch up to her because she’s crying about her brother leaving but isn’t going back to her trailer. Brian talks to Mia for about 30 seconds. We can give them another maybe 5 minutes to get to Brian’s car. That means they Brian and Mia are at most 10 minutes behind Dom and company. Mia knows where the Civics are stored. Why don’t Brian and Mia go to the Civics? Surely Brian can make up some time on Dom and crew, and even if he doesn’t it will take Dom’s team more than 10 minutes to swap cars, and grab their equipment.

Nope, Brian and Mia can’t figure out where Dom and his group are. They look at a map and figure that Dom and will strike in a particular area. Brian calls Nextel for a phone trace. I mean that literally. The woman who take’s Brian’s call in the middle of the night answers the phone answers by saying “Nextel”. Whom did Brian call? He must have some special police number that goes right to the phone trace bureau within Nextel. He doesn’t have a warrant, he doesn’t give the woman a reason, and this is before the Patriot Act. All he tells the Nextel woman is his name and serial number. She must have a list of the LAPD’s serial numbers handy, and she must be familiar with Brian’s voice because she immediately agrees to provide the trace without verifying his identity.

Brian is supposed to be concerned with the welfare of Dom and his cadre because they are in danger from the truckers. Why does Brian want to risk his career for Dom when Dom doesn’t see Brian as close enough a friend to give him his cell phone number? Brian has to know that he’ll be in deep trouble when he knows that Dom and his troop are going to rob a truck, he knows the rough area, he even has a way to track Dom, and yet he doesn’t inform any other law enforcement agencies. He doesn’t even call his sergeant. Someone is going to figure out it was Brian who tried to trace Dom’s phone using Brian’s police serial number.

Finally, if Brian wanted to warn or help Dom, how about he CALLS DOM ON HIS CELL PHONE!? Is he worried Dom will figure out he’s a police officer? That secret is no longer worth keeping, once Brian told Mia he was undercover. Plus, Brian was going to be pulled out of cover in a day anyway. Did he expect to keep his friendship with Dom and the truck thieves while investigating bank robberies or whatever for the LAPD?

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Chapter 14: 1:18:51 – 1:29:48

Dom, Letty, Vince, and Leon pull up to where their Civics are stashed. Since Jesse isn’t with them, they are going a man short. Letty and Leon think they shouldn’t do the robbery, but Dom feels it’s worth the risk as this is the “mother load”. Dom and his pack load up and drive away.

Brian receives a call from Nextel, who has traced Dom’s cell phone. Brian realizes he and Mia are about 40 miles away.

The robbery takes place in daylight sometime later. As with previous robberies, Vince, shoots out the windshield of the truck and tries to climb into it. This time, however, the driver has a shotgun. He fires at Vince but misses. Dom calls off the job, but Vince is trapped on the front of the truck. As Vince tries to unhook himself, the driver of the truck periodically fires his shotgun at Dom’s team. Letty moves up to distract the truck driver, having her Civic shot at, while Dom helps Vince, who is now hanging on the passenger side of the truck, with the wire wrapped around his arm. The truck driver shoots Dom’s tires out but Dom perseveres.

Brian and Mia come speeding up the road to help as the truck driver continues to shoot at Vince, grazing him once. The truck driver also hits Dom’s engine with a shotgun blast, disabling Dom’s car. Brian and Mia drive close enough to the truck to allow Brian to jump onto the truck. Brian is able to free Vince from the wire and help him into his car (which Mia is driving). Brian then jumps into his car just before the truck driver shoots at him. The truck knocks Mia’s car off the road and continues on.

Brian is placing a tourniquet on Vince’s arm when Leon drives up with Dom. Dom goes to help and Brian says Vince needs to go to a hospital. Brian uses his cell phone to call for a medical helicopter, but tells the person on the phone he is a police officer. Dom glares at Brian but continues to help treat Vince. Soon the medical helicopter arrives and flies Vince to the hospital. Dom, Letty, Mia, and Leon drive off in the remaining Civic.

Analysis

Dom has the Civics stashed next to a well-lit oil tank? You’d expect those vehicles would be stored somewhere out of sight, not next to well maintained, private storage facility.

Dom feels this will be their last job, as this truck is the “mother load”. What could be in that truck that would set up 4 people for life? Is he hauling a truck full of diamonds? Also, if they want to retire, there are six highly modified cars right there. Sell some of them.

The robbery scene is good – with some fine stunt work and driving. The acting of Paul Walker and Vin Diesel is underrated in the driving scenes. That sounds silly, but when you see Michelle Rodriguez’s driving actions, it makes sense. She looks like a child with a toy steering column pretending she’s in a race. It’s a real feat to look uncool while driving. Vin Diesel actually looks concerned for Vince and frightened of the shotgun-wielding trucker.

What really makes me wonder in this scene is who is driving this truck? If this truck is the “mother load” why doesn’t it have any security? Sure, the guy has a shotgun along for protection and he uses it to ward off the attack. That’s of dubious legality as I doubt lethal force is warranted. Surely, the diamond company has that truck insured, right? The driver keeps shooting at all the cars around him, and the guy on the grill of his truck. He shoots out his windows, he fires two blasts into his own engine block, he blows out his passenger side window. Not only is the driver damaging his vehicle, but after the robbery is clearly a no go, he tries to murder them. He keeps reloading and shooting at Vince, even after Vince is having his arm sawed off by the wire that holds him to the truck. When Brian shows up, minutes after the initial robbery attempt, the driver shoots at him as well. I guess the driver realized that he was on as stretch of road on which NO CARS DRIVE so any vehicle there must be a robber. Look at that pristine road. Not a car in sight! I’m surprised the driver didn’t stop and turn around to finish everyone off once Vince was free from the truck. I thought that when the Medevac arrived the truck was going to ram it before it could save Vince.

Vince is saved by Brian calling the helicopter, though. Of course, that appears to be all Brian calls as he doesn’t bother with asking for back up to arrest the team of robbers he has now caught red handed. Brian doesn’t even bother to report the homicidal truck driver who tried to kill Vince, Dom, Letty, and even Brian himself. There are going to be some serious questions what with those crashed two Civics with buckshot holes and Letty and Dom’s fingerprints all over them.

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Chapter 15 1:23:45 – 1:29:12

Brian drives to Dom’s house and sees Dom about to drive off in Dom’s father’s car. Dom has a shotgun and Brian points his weapon at Dom. Brian asks where Leon and Letty are and Dom says they’re “long gone”. Dom has to find Jesse before Tran does. Brian says he will call in Jesse’s plates and have the police pick Jesse up before Tran can. Mia comes out of the house and tells Dom “it’s all over.”

As Dom tells Brian to move his car out of Dom’s way, Jesse drives up. Jesse apologizes to Dom as two men on motorcycles race towards the house. The motorcyclists are Tran and Lance, who open fire with muffled automatic weapons. They hit the house, Jesse’s car, and Jesse before they speed off. Jesse is unconscious or dead in Dom’s arms.

Brian goes after the two shooters in his car, and Dom takes his father’s car in pursuit.

Analysis

While this is a short period of time in the movie, it’s one of the most perplexing. Let’s first examine the timing. Leon and Letty are “long gone” according to Dom, but how far could they have made it? Brian left from the same place as Dom and his platoon in similarly speedy cars. How did it take Brian so long to make it to Dom? Did he drive slowly on purpose, or wait around after the helicopter left in order to give them a head start? If Dom is at his house, but Leon, Letty, and the Civic aren’t they must have dropped him off there. Brian JUST MISSED them.

Another timing issue is with Jesse. Where has he been all night? He drives up shortly after Dom makes it home from the botched robbery attempt. Didn’t he at least call Dom to find out how the robbery went, or to apologize on the phone? Did he agonize over his actions until the sun came up, and then drive to Dom’s house? If he’s so smart, and he’s so scared, why did he drive to the one place where Tran and Lance could find him? Speaking of those two, how did they manage to end up at Dom’s at such a fortuitous time? Were they following Jesse and finally caught up to him? Did they just now get around to driving by Dom’s house? Have they been making passes by the house all morning?

Once Tanner figures this out, and it shouldn’t take long, he’ll be asking Brian what happened. Tanner will be particularly curious when he finds out that Brian was at the scene and called for the helicopter. Brian is hiding the identity of armed robbers/carjackers. Brian is not only going to be up for some stiff departmental discipline, he’s aiding and abetting the criminals. What is his plan? What’s he going to do, make nice with Dom and Mia and live happily ever after with them? Sgt. Tanner is going to be there soon with warrant for Dom’s arrest because Dom has been arrested in the past and his fingerprints will be in the database as well as all over the car he was driving. That would be the car left behind in the robbery attempt. If Brian planned on warning Dom and Mia of this, why not call first? Time is of the essence.

Brian also asks Dom where Leon and Letty were. What was his plan for them? Was he going to arrest them? Is he planning on helping them escape? Why is Brian suddenly such a dumbass?

While we’re on the topic of dumbasses, what is up with Tran and Lance? Tran is rich! He put $100,000 (and this is in 2001) into a car just for fun. He and his family bought a truckload of DVD players, which couldn’t be cheap. He lives with his family in an enormous house in the hills with a beautiful beach view. Why is he so angry and vengeful? He obviously doesn’t care about Jesse’s dad’s Jetta as he doesn’t bother to ask for it. Tran and Lance instead drive by and spray bullets in a residential neighborhood, hitting Jesse, and the car Tran said he wanted. At least Tran was careful enough to bring silencers for his weapons so that no one would notice two people on motorcycles shooting up a house in broad daylight. And for fuck’s sake, if you’re going to perform a drive by on motorcycles wear a helmet that obscures your face!

Back to Brian, he must value Vince’s life more than Jesse’s. When Vince was shot, he called for a helicopter to come out and save him. When Jesse is shot, Brian gets in his car without even asking for an ambulance. Why is Brian even going after Tran? Does he suddenly want to be a police officer again? Is Brian going to arrest them and take them in for booking while Tanner waits to arrest Brian for sheltering Dom and Mia? If Brian was willing to call put out a lookout for Jesse, why wouldn’t he do the same for Tran and Lance who just committed a drive-by attempted murder?

Who wrote this shit?

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Chapter 16: 1:32:11 – End

Brian chases after Lance and Tran. He follows them down a hilly street while they shoot at him but miss. Brian gradually closes in on the two motorcyclists and fires a few rounds from his handgun at them. Lance veers off the road and then comes back on the road behind Brian. Brian tries to lose Lance unsuccessfully until Dom shows up and hits Lance with his father’s car. Lance is forced off the road and crashes. Brian is able to catch up to Tran and he shoots Tran, forcing Tran to crash as well. When Brian checks on Tran, Tran is dead.

Brian sees Dom up the road, he tells someone to call 911, goes back into his car, and then pursues Dom. Brian pulls up next to Dom at a stop light. Dom says he used to drag race on that strip of road as a teenager. Dom tells Brian that from the stop light to the railroad tracks in front of them it’s a quarter mile. Dom says “on green, I’m going for it”.

The light turns green, and Brian and Dom take off down the street. They are even, but a train is coming down the tracks. Dom’s car starts to catch fire, but he presses on. As Dom and Brian near the crossing, they can see a train coming. They both narrowly make it across the tracks in time, but in the next block Dom is broadsided by a truck. Dom’s car flips and crashes.

Brian goes over to check on Dom. Dom is injured but ok. Sirens are heard in the distance, and Brian gives Dom the keys to his car. Dom asks Brian if he knows what he is doing and Brian says he owes Dom a 10 second car. Dom drives away and Brian walks off in slow motion.

Analysis

What is Brian doing going after Tran and Lance? Is he chasing them as a police officer, or Dom’s friend, or just a concerned citizen? It can’t be as a police officer, because he should be contacting the LAPD to request assistance. After all, there are two of them and only one Brian. What’s his plan if they split up? Plus, these two just committed a driveby homicide, and they are wantonly shooting at Brian as he pursues them, hitting just about everything on the side of the road. There are an immediate public safety risk and should be neutralized as soon as possible. Brian even takes the extraordinarily dangerous step of firing his weapon from a moving vehicle at other moving vehicles in a residential area.

Instead, Brian follows them, non-plussed by the hail of bullets flying past his car. Where do Lance and Tran get all these rounds? How are they reloading while driving at high speeds on a motorcycle? For that matter, how to they turn all the way around to shoot at Brian while driving at high speeds on a motorcycle? The camera angle for the shooting scenes is from the shooter’s shoulders, and in the wide shots you can see the stunt drivers can’t pull off the feat of operating the motorcycle while facing backwards. A good rule of thumb for movies is if your stunt drivers can’t actually perform the action implied, don’t make it seem that some random hoodlum could do it.

While Lance and Tran are impossibly adept at firing backwards, Lance is unable to shoot at Brian when Brian is right in front of him. Brian, for his part is unable to figure out that the easy way to deal with a motorcycle behind him is to merely brake and let the guy either crash into the back of his car or to hit him as he goes past. Brian needs Dom to come in from off screen to take out Lance.

Dom knocks Lance off the road and seems satisfied. Is that why he chased after Lance and Tran after they gunned down Jesse? He just wanted to push them down a dirt hill? Why did he have that shotgun when Brian pulled up to his house? The movie makers specifically tell us of Dom exacting revenge by beating an innocent man with a wrench, but when Dom sees someone kill his friend he just knocks the shooter into the dirt. I guess Dom has learned from previous experiences not to be so violent, but why then bother with the story in the first place? This is a clear violation of Checkov’s Wrench.

One of the best scenes in the movie comes in this part of the film, though. When Brian pulls up and shoots Tran, he looks very competent. It’s a throwaway scene, but Paul Walker makes it look smooth and practiced. Sure, it’s followed by Brian checking the body and not rending care to someone he just shot and instead deciding to drag race Dom, but it’s a great work by Paul Walker.

The final scene is a real humdinger. All the danger has passed. Brian is clearly not going to arrest Dom, he told him that back at Dom’s house. Tran is dead, Lance has fallen and can’t get up, Letty and Leon are long gone, and presumably Mia is packing up the house. So, why in the hell does Dom decide to race Brian and a train? Why, for that matter, does Brian do the same? Why did Dom stop at the red light? Dom crashes his dad’s car for no fucking reason.

The best is when Brian gives Dom the keys. Dom asks “Do you know what you’re doing?” Of course Brian doesn’t know what he’s doing. The last 20 minutes of the movie are Brian not knowing what’s doing. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT BRIAN IS DOING!! Nothing he has done since Race Wars makes any sense. The only thing we can be sure that Brian is doing is getting his ass fired.

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