It was called The Fast and the Furious.

I’ve seen clips and such, but I hadn’t watched the whole thing through since I saw it in the theater when I was 15. And you know what? It’s actually a pretty good movie. Yes, it’s cheesy, and there were certain plot points that didn’t make sense, but it was a really cool idea for a story and the characters had surprising depth.

I think most of the negative reaction to FF1 has come from the car community for the car lingo BS, and not undeservedly. “Double-clutchin’” is just silly, the manifold is not really in danger, and I’m not sure any of us overnights parts from Japan. But it seems they put some effort into the dialogue about specific mods. When they discussed turbos, Koni adjustable struts, and fuel management, I thought, “Yeah, those are pretty good mods.” The lingo was basic, but I’m not sure I’d talk about them any differently if I was checking out someone’s work at Cars and Coffee.

Yes, the cars are ridiculous. Big wings on FWD, absurd body kits, crazy decals, street glow, and a Del Sol on air suspension. But Rob Cohen used actual car clubs around LA for all the extras, which makes the film a pretty solid monument of the era, even if it’s silly and cliche now. At least it was accurate.

And we all scoff at Brian for showing up with an Eclipse to the first race, but I think his car choice rather reflected his character. He started with a DSM not known for reliability and thought he could quickly and easily boost it with NAWS to get “the respect” he needed to infiltrate the world of underground racing. He ruined the car and had to rebuilt another from ashes, this one a much more serious performance car. Eclipse to Supra was an appropriate analog for his arc.

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Also, holy crap, Leon had an R33.

Anyway, The Fast and the Furious held up, even if the series has since been diluted and morphed. I enjoyed it.