Paul Walker

The Fast & Furious Franchise: Why It’s So Great

I love the Fast & Furious franchise. Yes, they’re supremely campy and about as realistic as spotting Bigfoot in the wild, but for most car guys of my generation, they occupy a special place in our nostalgic, petrol-filled hearts. The Fast and The Furious the first time that I was properly exposed to “tuning culture”. Sure I was reading Import Tuner, Super Street and had a loose understanding of modification, but I was only in 8th grade and a long way from owning my own car. The Fast and The Furious made owning an exciting car a realistic possibility for all of us. The characters in the film weren’t driving Ferraris and Porsches, they were driving Hondas and Nissans. They were cars you’d see on a daily basis and it made the dream of owning something flashy, loud and (potentially) fast, attainable.

6 films later and the franchise is still going strong. Fast Five was the highest grossing and in my opinion, the best film of the series. I only see the sequel doing better. A 60 second teaser aired during the Super Bowl and the following day, there was a 3 minute extended trailer online. Judging by the footage, Fast & Furious 6 looks to be another 2 hours of car porn coupled with the most unrealistic plot imaginable. I think it looks fantastic.

The Fast & Furious franchise doesn’t care about winning awards or pleasing critics. It’s only goal is to have as much fun as possible. With ticket prices bordering the obscene, there are few ways to get better value for your money at the theater. One of the reasons the franchise is so successful is because it sticks to a recipe that works: exciting cars, attractive women and plenty of action. The Fast & Furious films aren’t concerned with our perception of reality or even with their own. The character Han died in Tokyo Drift, yet he’s still part of Toretto’s crew 7 years later. If director Justin Lin wants to bring a character back, he just does it. Who cares if their return makes no sense within the context of the film. You get the vibe that most of the cast are friends with each other and hanging out for 3 months on set is just as important as doing another film. Think Ocean’s Eleven.

Fast & Furious 6 is to Hollywood what drifting is to motor sports. They’re both about showing off and doing so in the loudest, flashiest way possible. Once we understand what the films are trying to achieve, we accept them for what they are. Once that happens it all begins to make much more sense. A decent plot is just icing on the cake.

There will be plenty of naysayers and I’m sure many of you reading this completely disagree with my argument. The thing us though, you’re all going to see it, regardless of how much you hate the franchise. There are plenty of bad films out there. Many of us choose to avoid them, but the Fast & Furious franchise is unique in the fact that we still pay our hard earned dollars to see the films, even if they look awful. We get nostalgic about them and yearn to journey back to that alternate reality, were everyone is good looking, drives a fast car and doesn’t have to pass a smog test. As an audience, we know beforehand we’re not about to whiteness cinematic excellence, but we see them nonetheless because we know we’ll be entertained. See the funny thing about entertainment is that it can be good, even great, but it’s never bad. That’s what these films are all about.

Hey, It’s Paul Walker At Mine’s

For anyone who’s feeling bummed about the recent events in Japanese tuning, all is not lost. There are still many great shops out there, doing big things. A slew of awesome blogs like 7Tune are working very hard on keeping the scene alive with motor sports and events coverage. So while things have seemed a little doom and gloom lately, I’m certainly guilty, there’s still a whole lot to be excited about! As long as there’s passionate people out there, the scene will live on (in one way or another).

This brings me back to 7Tune, where earlier they posted a feature on Paul Walker’s visit to Mine’s in Japan. Many scoff at Paul’s acting chops, but he’s a legit enthusiast and he knows his stuff. Here’s the video, courtesy of GT Channel.

First off, holy shit it’s Tarzan acting normal and speaking English! Maybe I’ve seen him in too many Option videos, but I had no idea the dude spoke the language so well!

I can’t believe this is my second post in a week, involving Paul Walker. It’s exciting to see a movie star who’s passionate about the import industry. I don’t know the specifics, but he has ties with AE Performance. That would explain why so many of their stickers were popping up in Fast Five. This is a guy who’s around cars all the time and genuinely loves everything about them. Visiting a Japanese tuning shop will make any car guy giddy and there’s no exception here. I love that Tarzan let him drive the Mine’s GT-R too!

I’d go so far as to say that Mine’s is one of maybe 5 shops in Japan, to occupy the top tier of aftermarket tuning. Their attention to detail and level of craftsmanship are so high, they more closely resemble a manufacturer-funded racing program. ASM and Powerhouse Amuse would be another couple shops to add to the top tier. All in all, the guy has good taste and I’ll certainly be making an effort to plan my own visit to Mine’s next time I’m in Japan.

Video courtesy of GT Channel.

Paul Walker Knows His Roots

I just got back from watching Fast Five and after going in expecting nothing, I came out thinking it’s one of the best in the series. Like a lot of people have been saying, this one doesn’t have such an emphasis on cars, especially imports. I didn’t really see that as a bad thing. I think the tuning trends have moved well away from what we saw (and liked) in the first film and seeing that reproduced 10 years later wouldn’t have the same effect. I thought the cars in Tokyo Drift were over top and that was 5 years ago. This movie is a reunion of sorts and they’ve managed to cast nearly every major character from the series. It’s what makes Fast Five so entertaining. No matter which entry was your favorite, they’ve got you covered.

This is brainless action in it’s finest form. It’s the movie I look forward to seeing every summer.  Don’t expect it to win any awards or your girlfriend to like it, but it’s certainly worth a look. Make sure you stay until the end of the credits. Not sure how I feel about what you’ll end up seeing.

Zero Expectations

I’m a little behind the rest of pack. I’m going to see Fast Five tonight. Everyone I know who has seen it, has good things to say. The reviews haven’t been half bad either. I’m going in with no expectations. I find it’s the best way watch any movie (especially a sequel).

I’m going to drive the WRX tonight because I’m a ricer and I think I’m still in high school. I’ll have the review later tonight.