The Fast and the Furious
The Fast and the Furious (also known as Wild Speed in Japan) is a 2001 car film starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster. Directed by Rob Cohen, The Fast and the Furious was the first mainstream film to feature the Asian automotive import scene in North America. It is the first film in The Fast and the Furious film series. The concept was loosely inspired by a Vibe magazine article about street racing in New York City.
Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) is a police officer tasked by an LAPD/FBI joint operation with infiltrating the Los Angeles street racing scene, suspected to be the origin of a string of high-speed truck hijackings perpetrated by a trio of black ’95 Honda Civics with green neon lighting under the chassis. Brian gets a job at a local shop and works his way up until finally getting an opportunity to compete against elite street racer Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and two other contestants at a large, late-night event. Brian barters his way into the race with the title for his ’95 Mitsubishi Eclipse RS. He loses the race, but gains Toretto’s respect when he picks him up after the police arrive and bust the race. After losing the police, the duo unexpectedly encounter a rival gang led by Johnny Tran (Rick Yune), who promptly destroys the Eclipse with machine gun fire.
The next day, Brian’s superior Sgt. Tanner (Ted Levine) and FBI agent Bilkins (Thom Barry) voice concern that Toretto might be the source of the hijackings and warns Brian not to let anything cloud his judgment. Since Brian’s first encounter with Toretto, the duo become close friends while Brian becomes romantically involved with Toretto’s sister Mia. As Brian’s Eclipse was destroyed, he gives Toretto a salvaged ’95 Toyota Supra for him to restore and modify and offers his services as a street racer. Soon afterward, Brian discovers a cache of electronics hidden in the back of Tran’s auto shop, and authorizes the police and FBI to raid the garage and Tran’s house believing them to be the source of the hijackings. However, a connection is not found, as the electronics were legally purchased by Tran. Tanner and Bilkins again warn that Toretto is behind the hijackings and tells him that truckers all over the state are about to take matters in their own hands. Running out of time, Brian asks Toretto about how he gets his income. Toretto agrees to reveal the source as long as Brian wins at the upcoming Race Wars, a legitimate closed-track event for auto enthusiasts.
During Race Wars, Toretto’s friend Jesse (Chad Lindberg) races his imprisoned father’s ’97 Volkswagen Jetta against Tran’s ’00 Honda S2000 for pink slips and loses. In a state of panic, Jesse hastily flees the track instead of surrendering his car. Later that night, Toretto and his gang go out to do another hijacking. Brian confesses to Mia that he is an undercover cop and tells her that the truckers are now armed. He convinces her to come with him to save her brother and his friends. Mia gives Toretto’s cell phone number to the cops and they track him down.
During the hijacking, gang member Vince (Matt Schulze) is severely injured after the trucker pulls out a shotgun and shoots him in his side. The other gang members attempt to help, but are thwarted by the trucker, who sends Toretto’s girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) out of control and crashing off the highway. Brian comes in, rescues Vince, and jumps off the truck as the trucker finishes reloading his gun and shoots, narrowly missing him. Brian then calls an air ambulance in for the critically injured Vince, revealing to Toretto that he is a cop, and Toretto drives off angrily with the rest of the gang.
Back at Toretto’s house, Brian attempts to confront Toretto, who is out to look for Jesse before Tran’s gang does. Just at that moment, Jesse shows up. Tran and his cousin suddenly appear and do a drive-by shooting at the house, injuring Jesse. Brian and Toretto go after them, with Toretto using his late father’s prized ’69 Dodge Charger. Toretto forces the cousin off a road embankment while Brian shoots Tran, killing him. The duo then engage in an impromptu street race, narrowly missing a passing train. Toretto, however, is injured after he sideswipes a passing truck, sending his Charger up in mid-air before crashing violently. Instead of arresting him, Brian lets Toretto escape before police arrive by handing him the keys to the Supra.
After the end credits, Toretto is seen driving through Baja California in a ’70 Chevrolet Chevelle SS and his voice can be heard saying, “I live my life a quarter mile at a time, nothing else matters. For those ten seconds or less…. I’m free.”