Fast & Furious (2009 film)

Fast & Furious
Fast and Furious Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Justin Lin
Written by Chris Morgan
Based on Characters
by Gary Scott Thompson
Produced by
Starring
Cinematography Amir Mokri
Edited by
Music by Brian Tyler
Production
companies
Distributed by Universal Pictures[1]
Release date
  • March 12, 2009 (2009-03-12) (Universal CityWalk)
  • April 3, 2009 (2009-04-03) (United States)
Running time
107 minutes[2]
Countries United States
Japan[1]
Language English
Budget $85 million[3]
Box office $360.4 million[4]

Fast & Furious (also known as Fast & Furious 4) [5] is a 2009 American action film directed by Justin Lin and written by Chris Morgan. It is the sequel to The Fast and the Furious (2001) and the fourth installment in the Fast & Furious franchise. Fast & Furious stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, John Ortiz, Gal Gadot, and Laz Alonso. In the film, fugitive Dominic Toretto and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Brian O'Conner form an unlikely pairing to apprehend a drug lord and avenge the murder of Toretto's lover, Letty Ortiz.

A fourth film was announced in July 2007, with the returns of Diesel, Walker, Rodriguez, and Brewster confirmed shortly thereafter.[6] To account for the original cast seeing absences from either of the previous two installments, the film was developed to retcon The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) as occurring beyond the events of Fast & Furious.[7] Principal photography began in February 2008 and concluded that July, with filming locations including Los Angeles and the Dominican Republic.[8] Lin and Morgan also returned in their roles from Tokyo Drift, while Brian Tyler, who composed Tokyo Drift, returned to compose the score.

Fast & Furious was theatrically released worldwide by Universal Pictures on April 3, 2009, and was the first to feature D-BOX motion feedback technology. The film received mixed reviews with praise for reuniting the original cast and the action sequences, but criticism for its writing. It grossed over $360 million worldwide, subverting expectations to become the then-highest-grossing film in the franchise, and the 17th highest-grossing film of 2009. It also grossed $70.9 million worldwide during its opening weekend, the then-highest grossing worldwide spring weekend opening of all time, until the release of Alice in Wonderland (2010). A sequel, Fast Five, was released in April 2011.

Plot

Five years after escaping from the U.S.,[N 1] Dominic Toretto and his new crew, consisting of his girlfriend Letty, Tego Leo, Rico Santos, Cara and Han Lue, are hijacking fuel tankers in the Dominican Republic using heavily modified 1967 and 1988 Chevrolet trucks and a 1987 Buick Grand National. Dom suspects that the police are on their trail, forcing the crew to disband and go their separate ways, with Han deciding to go to Tokyo. Realizing that he must leave, Dom runs, leaving Letty behind to protect herself from harm.

Three months later, Dom is now residing in Panama City. He gets a call from his sister, Mia Toretto, who tells him that Letty has been murdered. Dom heads back to Los Angeles to attend her funeral and examine the crash and finds traces of nitromethane on the ground. He visits the only car mechanic that sells nitromethane in LA and forces him into giving him the name David Park, the man who ordered the fuel, and informs him that the only car that uses nitromethane in the area is a green 1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport.

Meanwhile, FBI agent Brian O'Conner is trying to track down a Mexican drug lord, Arturo Braga. His search leads him to North Korean drug lord David Park, and he tracks him down using an illegal modification record on his car. Dom arrives at Park's apartment first and hangs him out of the window by his ankles before Brian arrives. Brian saves Park and Park becomes the FBI's new informant. Park gets Brian into a street race. Brian selects a 2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 from the impound lot, which he modifies with parts from another Skyline and a 2007 Nissan GT-R. Dom modifies his 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS for the race. Ramon Campos, Braga's second in command and Gisele Yashar, Braga's liaison reveal that the winner will become the last driver on a team that traffics heroin between the Mexico–United States border. Dom wins by bumping Brian's car while it is in nitro, making him lose control. Brian uses his power as an FBI agent to arrest another driver, Dwight Mueller, and takes his place on the team.

The team meets up with Braga's personal henchman, Fenix, and Dom notices that Fenix drives the same Torino the mechanic described. They drive across the border using tunnels to avoid detection. Dom confronts Fenix and learns that he kills the drivers after their work is done, and that he himself killed Letty when she tried to escape him. A stand-off ensues, though not before Dom creates a diversion by loosening his car with nitrous—sparking a vehicle explosion that destroys his car and several others, including Brian's. In the ensuing chaos, Dom and Brian hijack a 1999 Hummer H1 with $60 million worth of heroin in it. Dom and Brian drive back to LA and hide the heroin in a police impound lot, where they pick up a modified 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Hatchback; they subsequently drive back to Dom's house, where they reunite with Mia.

Dom finds out Brian was the last person to have contact with Letty, which results in Dom attacking Brian until he explains that Letty was working undercover—she was tracking down Braga in exchange for clearing Dominic's record. Brian tells his superiors that in exchange for Dominic's pardon, he will lure Braga into a trap, forcing him to show up to exchange money for the heroin. At the drop site, the man who claims to be "Braga" is revealed as a decoy, and "Campos"—the real Braga—escapes with Fenix and the pair flee to Mexico. In the ensuing chaos, Fenix nearly runs over Gisele, before Dom saves her. The failed trap results in Brian being taken off active duty.

Brian and Dom travel to Mexico to catch Braga in the Subaru and Dom's freshly rebuilt 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, with the help of Gisele, who gives them directions as a favor in return for Dom saving her life. Brian and Dom find him at a church and apprehend him. As Braga's henchmen try to rescue him in their cars, Brian and Dom drive through the tunnels back to the United States. In the chase, Brian is chased by Fenix ahead of the others until he is injured after being T-boned by Fenix and pushed out of the tunnels. Meanwhile, Dom jumps from his car and into a henchman's 1973 Chevrolet Camaro, pushing him out and taking control, setting off a chain reaction that causes the tunnels to collapse, killing Braga's henchmen. Before Fenix can kill Brian, Dom drives out of the tunnels and directly into Fenix, killing him and avenging Letty's death. As police and helicopters approach the crash site on the American side of the border, Brian tells Dom to leave, but Dom refuses—saying he is not running anymore. Despite Brian's request for clemency, the judge sentences Dom to 25 years to life in prison.

Brian resigns from the FBI and Dom boards a prison bus that will transport him to Lompoc penitentiary. As the bus drives down the Navs, Brian, Mia, Leo, and Santos arrive to intercept it in their cars, a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, a 2003 Honda NSX, and a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am.

Cast

  • Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto, a professional street racer, criminal, and fugitive.
  • Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner, an FBI agent and former LAPD officer, who previously aided Dom in avoiding law enforcement, and was in a relationship with Mia Toretto later got patched up again.
  • Michelle Rodríguez as Letty Ortiz, Dominic's wife, who dies in an automobile explosion caused by Fenix Calderon.
  • Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto, Dominic's sister and Brian's ex-girlfriend but later patched up with Brian again.
  • John Ortiz as Arturo Braga / Ramon Campos, a Mexican drug lord who recruits street racers to smuggle heroin across the Mexico–U.S. border.
  • Gal Gadot as Gisele Yashar, a liaison for Braga, who shows a romantic interest in Dominic.
  • Laz Alonso as Fenix Calderon, Braga's right-hand man.
  • Ron Yuan as David Park, a North Korean drug lord who delivers drugs to the United States.

The central cast is rounded out by Sung Kang as Han Lue, Dominic's right-hand man, while Puerto Rican singers Tego Calderón and Don Omar feature as Leo and Santos respectively, members of the oil heist team. Shea Whigham plays Brian's snarky colleague Michael Stasiak, and Liza Lapira portrays Sophie Trinh, an FBI agent who works closely with Brian. Jack Conley features as Penning, Brian's boss, a scout of street racers for Braga. Greg Cipes, Neil Brown Jr., and Brandon T. Jackson play Dwight Mueller, Malik Herzon, and Alex, respectively, the other members of Braga's street racing team.

Production

The film was announced in July 2007. Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, and the rest of the cast of the original film all reprised their roles. Filming began in 2008. The movie cars were built in Southern California's San Fernando Valley. Around 240 cars were built for the film.[8] However, the replica vehicles do not match the specifications they were supposed to represent. For example, the replica version of F-Bomb, a 1973 Chevrolet Camaro built by Tom Nelson of NRE and David Freiburger of Hot Rod magazine, included a 300 hp crate V8 engine with a 3-speed automatic transmission, whereas the actual car included a twin-turbo 1,500 hp engine and a 5-speed transmission.[9]

The original Dodge Charger 426 Hemi R/T that was used in the original movie was a 1970, but the car in this movie was a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T 426 Hemi with a slightly modified front grill and rear tail lights to appear as a 1970 car; the original 1970 Dodge Charger was in pieces, being totally disassembled for restoration.

The original red 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS seen in the end credits of the first Fast & Furious movie, also makes an appearance but is later highly modified for a street race.

The most radical vehicles built for the film were the Chevy trucks constructed for the fuel heist. Powered by 502ci GM big block motors, the '67 had a giant ladder-bar suspension with airbags using a massive 10-ton semi rear axle with the biggest and widest truck tires they could find. The '88 Chevy Crew Cab was built with twin full-floating GM 1-ton axles equipped with Detroit Lockers and a transfer case directing power to both axles and capable of four-wheel burnouts.[10]

Another vehicle built for the film was the blue Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 owned by an uncredited owner which brought a 241-mile per hour top speed at the Bayshore Route Highway in Japan. It was a hard car to build by the production so they made clones by acquiring Nissan Skyline 25GT's and made them look like the original car. The Skyline that was also used at the desert was actually a dune buggy using a Skyline R34's shell.

Music

The score to Fast & Furious was composed by Brian Tyler, who recorded his score with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox.[11] The score album was released on CD by Varèse Sarabande Records with over 78 minutes' worth of music.

The trailers for the film feature the track "We Are Rockstars" by Does It Offend You, Yeah? and a Travis Barker-remixed version of "Crank That" by Soulja Boy Tell 'Em.

The official soundtrack was released on March 31, 2009, on Star Trak. The first single from the soundtrack was titled "Blanco" and is by Pitbull featuring Pharrell Williams and is produced by The Neptunes.[11] The second single from the album is "Krazy" by Pitbull featuring Lil Jon. The track is also featured on Pitbull's album Rebelution. The third and final single from the album is "Bad Girls" by Robin Thicke. The soundtrack also features the song "G-Stro" by Busta Rhymes featuring Pharrell Williams and also produced by The Neptunes. The track is a leftover track from Busta Rhymes' album Back on My B.S. Amazon.com gave the album an average score of 3.5 out of 5, calling it a Spanish-themed rap soundtrack with mostly average tracks. Interscope and Star Trak Records released the soundtrack for the film with "Crank That" not included.

Another song that was omitted from the album was song "Rising Sun" by South Korean group TVXQ.

The Japanese version of the movie features the song "Before I Decay" by Japanese rock group The GazettE.

Also featured in the background under a club scene which was omitted from the album, was song "Ride" written by Kervins Joseph and Travis Baker, published by InDigi Avenue Music Publishing (ASCAP), courtesy InDigi Music, and Virtual Diva performed by Don Omar.[citation needed]

Release

It was originally set to release on June 12, 2009, but moved it up to April 3, 2009, instead. It was the first motion-enhanced theatrical film to feature D-BOX motion feedback technology in selected theaters.[12]

Home video

Fast & Furious was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 28, 2009.[13] The DVD is a two-disc set that includes:

  • Digital copy of the film
  • Under the Hood: Muscle Cars & Imports
  • High Octane Action: The Stunts
  • Shooting the Big Rig Heist
  • Driving School with Vin Diesel
  • Original short film Los Bandoleros, the never-before-seen short film that reveals the events leading up to the explosive beginning of Fast & Furious. It is written and directed by Vin Diesel and was produced in the Dominican Republic.[14] This was released on the iTunes Store as a free download.

As of June 2021, the DVD and Blu-ray sales have sold 4,616,164 copies generating $77,846,318 in sales revenue.[15] It was re-released in Australia on Blu-ray including a digital copy and re-titled Fast & Furious 4 on March 30, 2011.

Reception

Box office

On its first day of release Fast & Furious grossed $30.6 million, and peaked at the top spot of the weekend box office with $70,950,500, more than Tokyo Drift earned in its entire domestic run.[16] The film had the sixth-biggest opening weekend of 2009 and was double what most industry observers expected.[17]

It also held the record for the highest-grossing opening weekend in April[18] and of any car-oriented film, the record having been previously held by Cars, which grossed $60.1 million. Both of these records were broken two years later by Fast Five, which grossed $86.2 million.[19] Fast & Furious also held the record for the highest opening weekend for a spring release, until it was broken by Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Its worldwide gross on its opening weekend stands at $102.6 million[3] with $7.2 million coming from the UK, $8.6 million from Russia, $6 million in France and $3 million from Germany.[20]

The film ended its theatrical release on July 2, 2009, with a gross of $155,064,265 in the United States and Canada and $205,300,000 internationally for a worldwide total of $360,364,265,[4] making it the 17th highest-grossing film of 2009.[21]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, Fast & Furious has an approval rating of 28% with an average score of 4.6/10, based on 176 reviews, with this critical consensus:

"While Fast and Furious features the requisite action and stunts, the filmmakers have failed to provide a competent story or compelling characters."[22]

On Metacritic, the film has a score of 46 based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[23] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[24]

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+:

"Fast & Furious is still no Point Break. But it's perfectly aware of its limited dramatic mission...and...it offers an attractive getaway route from self-importance, snark, and chatty comedies about male bonding."[25]

Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter thought this movie was the first real sequel to the first and also gave it a positive review:

"Fast & Furious is the first true sequel of the bunch. By reuniting the two male stars from the original and...continuing the story from the first film, this new film should re-ignite the franchise."[26]

Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times gave it a positive review, providing viewers were car fans:

"If you're a lover of stomach-clenching speed that turns the world into a neon blur...then Fast & Furious, the fourth edition of that metal-twisting series, should leave you exhausted and satiated for a very long time."[27]

Roger Ebert, who had given positive reviews to the previous films, considered the story, dialogue, and acting to all be perfunctory, giving an unfavorable review of the film:

"I admire the craft involved, but the movie leaves me profoundly indifferent. After three earlier movies in the series, which have been transmuted into video games, why do we need a fourth one? Oh. I just answered my own question."[28]

Accolades

Award Category Nominee Result
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Action Fast & Furious Nominated
Choice Movie Actor: Action Paul Walker Nominated
Choice Movie Actress: Action Jordana Brewster Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Male Performance Vin Diesel Nominated

Sequel

Paul Walker and Vin Diesel reunited for a Fast & Furious sequel, entitled Fast Five. Justin Lin directed, while Chris Morgan wrote the screenplay. It was released in April 2011.[29]

Copyright