'The Fast And The Furious': A Look Back On The Series

The Fast And The Furious has been around for over a decade as a series. Here's a quick run-down on the race movie series.

Despite popular belief, the Vin Diesel series The Fast And The Furious was not a remake of the 1955 film starring John Ireland. Both films do star men who drive fast cars for illegal reasons, but the original star's character was wrongfully imprisoned and forced into a life of crime. The 2001 film was about a man who nearly killed someone and faced prison time, and lives a life of crime by choice. The two films, though similar in basic aspects, have almost the exact opposite premise.

That said, The Fast And The Furious was a major success, mostly due to the fact that Vin Diesel, riding the wave of fame from the sci-fi thriller Pitch Black, played a tough guy (Dominic Toretto) in a plot that practically recycled every plot point from Point Break, switching surfing and skydiving for illegal street racing. Though the film had several factual flaws throughout, it was an entertaining thrill ride, no doubt at least partially thanks to a pumping soundtrack including its costar Ja Rule.

Its first sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious was the film that fans mostly felt should not exist, as it focused on Paul Walker's character in a movie so full of cliches that it just seemed to be phoned in. It wasn't until Fast Five that this movie actually fit into the storyline with its recurring actors Chris (Ludacris) Bridges and Tyrese Gibson. Vin Diesel was reportedly absent due to filming xXx at the time.

The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift was no doubt an attempt to get the original fans back as it took a relatively no-name actor once again (Lucas Black) and cast him as a cocky but honor-driven kid with nowhere else to go as he's sent to Tokyo to live with his strict yet surprisingly wishy-washy father. While there, he get involved in a street war with the son of a Yakuza gang boss, and has to settle the score in a suicide downhill drift race. What brought some of the fans back was an uncredited cameo at the end by Vin Diesel, reprising his role of Dominic Toretto.

Fast And Furious was a reunion of the more memorable cast of the original film, with Vin Diesel once again taking the lead and Paul Walker once again playing a rogue officer. Chronologically the third film in the series (currently ending with Tokyo Drift), it seems to pick up where the first film left off. However, this time Dominic Toretto takes the fall, only to have "the team" tease a breakout that leads into the next film. For the first time, the music of the film didn't carry it as much as just better acting all around.

Fast Five took actors and characters from every film that came before it and made them a team in a heist movie that still had the feel of a race movie. If that wasn't enough, it even threw in Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) for a fight scene that truly took the film to a new level.

The Fast And The Furious took a bold step into the wider action genre when Fast And Furious 6 had "the team," with help from former enemy Hobbs, take on a new international threat that took them to London. Michelle Rodriguez made a surprise return as Letty Ortiz in a storyline dating all the way back to Fast And Furious, and gave us yet another one of the best fights in the series.

Fast And Furious 7 is on its way now, and with a new but familiar face joining the group, we can only hope the series continues to push the envelope as the race movie franchise that won't die because the fans don't want it to. Just avoid the video games based on it.

What do you think of this look back on The Fast And The Furious?