By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures
Fast & Furious
Fast & Furious doesn't just bring back the original cast of The Fast and the Furious. It establishes a timeline and web of characters that connect with other films, like the spin-off Tokyo Drift too.
Justin Lin is Fast & Furious
"I think a lot of times when people think of Fast & Furious, they think of fast cars, hot chicks, and stuff like that," said director Justin Lin. "I do think there’s a reason why these people keep wanting to see more of these films in this franchise and part of it is the characters and the other is the theme. Aside from all the superficial things, this is really a franchise that’s exploring the idea of family in a non-traditional way. On this film, we were trying to hopefully take that and explore the idea of sacrifice."
Fans will be able to trace where Dominic Toretto has been in his life of crime, and where characters from the third film relate to the series. "I think that’s part of the fun. I’m a big fan. I grew up in the working class suburbs in the '80s so I do love Hollywood movies but what I don’t like is when they take something that’s successful and they recycle it. The goal here was not to do that, to say that there’s been time passage. When these characters go back to the car scene, they seem a little too old for that scene. There is growth and there is maturity and I think that’s part of the mythology and what’s happened between the first one and now is we’ve gone to different places and there is a relationship with Han. The way it’s presented, we want the audience to go and figure out the timeline for themselves. I think that’s part of the fun."
The racing has gotten more intense too. Remember in The Fast and the Furious, drivers just raced in a straight line for 10 seconds. "I think that’s part of the growth. That’s part of the evolution of this and hopefully people will enjoy it. The thing that made the first film work, and I can attest because I was actually in film school when I saw it in theaters, it was an introduction to a scene that nobody had seen before. The tuner cars and stuff, I remember I was TAing at UCLA and these kids had done this little documentary about the rice rockets and stuff and I thought wow. I didn’t understand but it was very intriguing. These kids were very proud. They know that the muscle cars are faster because they’re bigger cars but yet they were going to figure out how to beat these big cars and all that sub-culture was very interesting. So having that as the setting in the first film was great but I do think that you can still appreciate cars and how they move and drive and everything. In a way, the illegal street scene has really died down. They crush those cars now so they have actually kind of legalized it. People will go out in the desert and do the races there and make it more real. The scene has changed and I think characters grow. If we try to put the characters back into the same environment, it would be kind of silly."
Hence we have tunnel chases and drifting under flipping semi-trailers. "My job is to try to serve the theme in the film. What’s great about this franchise for me is that when I came on the third one, I was like well, okay, do you have to shoot it this way and it has to look this way? In a way, it’s a bit post modern in that stylistically it has evolved quite a bit and it’s changed a lot. That’s part of the plus for any director coming on to this."