Perhaps it’s because of the recent release of F9, but the Vin Diesel original entry into the Fast franchise is climbing the streaming charts.
It’s been 20 years since Vin Diesel introduced us to the world of illegal street racing and now, after all this time, The Fast and the Furious has found a new audience (or maybe an old one searching for nostalgia) as it sits at number five on HBO Max.
When Vin Diesel took on the late Paul Walker in the original film, no one could have predicted 20 years later we would be seeing the ninth film in the franchise. The story is one big setup to watch cars go fast and it does a great job of that.
The Fast and the Furious sees Paul Walker’s LAPD officer Brian O’Conner going undercover to locate a heist crew that was driving modified Honda Civics. His investigation first takes him to Dominic Toretto’s Market where he begins to flirt with the market’s owner, Mia (Jordana Brewster), she being the sister of infamous street racer Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel).
This doesn’t go over well with Dominic’s crew, mainly Vince who has a crush on Mia. He starts a fight with Brian, only to have Dominic intervene.
Brian (Paul Walker) then moves his way in deeper with the illegal street racing crowd. His suspicions are that Dominic (Vin Diesel) has something to do with the heist scene at the beginning of the film. While running down leads, Brian finds himself in a street race pitted up against Dominic and two other drivers. When Brian’s car malfunctions, he is unable to finish the race.
L.A. police arrive on the scene before Brian can hand over the car he wagered to Dominic. As the two make their getaway from the police, they accidentally enter the territory of Dominic’s old racing rival, Johnny Tran who, with his cousin Lance Nguyen, destroys Brian’s car.
Brian’s suspicion now falls onto Tran. This leads him to one of Tran’s garages where Brian discovers a large number of electronic goods, similar to what was stolen earlier. Though Tran and Nguyen are arrested, it is determined those electronic goods were purchased legally. Brian’s suspicion’s once again fall back to Dominic.
Brian’s suspicion’s turn out to be right on the money. Dominic and his crew plan one final heist. Brian convinces Mia to help him locate the crew and take them down, but things don’t go as planned when the bullets start firing.
Vin Diesel and The Fast and the Furious was an unexpected hit. Rob Cohen directed the action thriller on an unbelievably minuscule budget (comparatively speaking) of $38 million. It was by far the smallest budget in the franchise but the film, written by Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, and David Ayer brought home $207 million. It was the second-lowest box office take, only lowered by the $159 million brought home by the third film and least popular in the series, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
For Vin Diesel, The Fast and the Furious was the second franchise he started within a year’s timeframe. Diesel was beginning to gain some notoriety first with Saving Private Ryan and the underrated Boiler Room but then jumped into his first franchise as Riddick in 2000s Pitch Black. He would start a third franchise two years later as Xander Cage in XXX.
Vin Diesel would return to his Riddick roots in 2004 with the inferior The Chronicles of Riddick. His growing popularity got him the Disney flick, The Pacifier, then Diesel would return to the illegal street racing world with Fast & Furious. He would continue on with that franchise in five more films.
Another big franchise Diesel joined was through the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that was as Groot in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. He would voice the tree-like humanoid, pairing up with Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon for much of the fun.
Vin Diesel would voice Groot a total of five times, including a guest voice in Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet. He is also slated to voice Groot again in the upcoming The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special which looks to be a Disney+ special as well as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Vin Diesel is also about to make Riddick fans happy once again as it was recently announced that he will be reprising his role as the notorious criminal and anti-hero Riddick in Riddick 4: Furya, where Riddick finally makes it back to his home planet.
As for the Fast franchise, Diesel has stated that his part of the franchise will end after F11, which means two more films in the series. Until that time, you can see how it all began for Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious, now available on HBO Max.