In light of the recent passing of Paul Walker, I decided to dig up an old post and repost it for your reading pleasure.
Over the years I’ve come to appreciate and respect the Fast & Furious saga. The films don't offer a deep metaphysical look into humanity nor will they win any prestigious awards, aside from those given by a tequila-infused Jalop scribe. The films are 100% entertainment, but for us car guys they are more than that.
I respect the Fast & Furious series because it captures, even if inaccurately at times, automotive culture and then, through the power of Hollywood, heaves it into the faces of common people. The same people the media say hate cars and care nothing of car culture.
Fast & Furious is single-handedly responsible for every Civic wearing a 6ft wing and primer-ready body kit and that's precisely why I admire the series so much. Automotive customizations are a reflection of activation within the automotive culture, even if sometimes misguided.
Car films are a public service announcement and their message is clear: cars are (fucking) cool.
After watching these films countless people will leave the theater, jump in their 2009 Camry and drive away wishing they were behind the wheel of something more fast and furious.
For that brief moment they not only get us, they envy us.
If we're lucky, a few of them will walk away with a new or revived interest in the hobby of automotive. They may not jump on Craigslist and start looking at Swedish bricks and Miatas, but maybe when they're looking for a new Focus they'll consider an ST (**_if_** they can drive stick that is).
Automakers benefit in a very unique way when it comes to this series too.
Car movies are a brothel for automotive product placement, but films like Fast & Furious that rely heavily on customization, gives automakers a chance to show their cars in a very different light –_ an enthusiast hue._ In this shade the audience, who we’ll call potential enthusiasts, get to see vehicles for what-they-could-be rather than what-they-are sitting in dealer inventories. Wild colors, ride heights, wicked sounds, neon glow, custom wheels, expressive vinyls and only-in-the-movies durability and performance: all make cars more attractive than any 30 second spot ever could.
I like to think of Fast & Furious as a car guy’s Star Wars without a complex narrative, but still chock full of cultural impact.
My hope is series like this will help to preserve and evolve a hobby that we all enjoy so much, even if it means educating our friends on the do’s-and-don’ts of automotive accessorizing.