It's crazy to think that we're at the dawn of the fourth installment of The Fast And The Furious films... it seems like just the other day I was trying to wash away the disappointment from the first. But hate it or love it, there's no denying Hollywood took our burgeoning scene and thrust it in the glittery limelight, creating tremendous growth. While not a film I can personally identify with, at the very least, the first F&F tried to capture some of the spirit of the tuning scene. The second, on the other hand, didn't do any of the sort. It may have had the big director, big actors, and the big budget, but it was a big, bad, blatant disrespect to our scene and 2 Fast 2 Furious single-handedly took our culture and cars, and turned it into the automotive butt-end of a joke. The term "ricey" still haunts us to this day.
By the time the third film dropped, not only was I surprised, but expectations were at an all time low-think Mariah Carey in Glitter: The Sequel. Not only was I not going to watch it, I was going to make damn sure no one else would. I was in protest mode: Streets needed marching, signs needed raising, bras needed burning; Hell no, we won't go! I even turned down an invite to an early screening. But then I started hearing reactions to Tokyo Drift-favorable ones, at that. At first, they were nothing more than whispers-like being the first guy to admit to another they play with MMORPGs, Internet dating or themselves-but the numbers started growing. These weren't bandwagon-riding newbs either, but bitter old car guys who I planned on recruiting in my anti-F&F cause. So when a showing of Finding Nemo was sold out (long story, I used to own a reef tank... don't ask), I decided to give the movie a begrudging try. And after the trailers, a fumbled popcorn or two, and a 100-or-so odd minutes, it was over... and it wasn't that bad. Actually, it was pretty entertaining. It wasn't profound by any means, but that's not what I expected from a summer flick. More importantly, the film did our scene justice, and unlike the previous two, there was never a moment where I cringed in my seat in disgust, embarrassment or downright horror. They even got the rotary sound right! Yes, some of the action sequences were a little far-fetched, but it is fiction.
With some faith restored in the franchise, when I heard that the fourth film was greenlit, starring the original cast, I groaned. Back to the beginning. But then I found out Justin Lin, the director of Tokyo Drift was attached. Here's the guy who took a franchise that was in the toilet with respect to car enthusiasts, and turned out a solid film that portrayed our culture as true to the confines of Hollywood-and from interviewing him, I can see why (pg 28). As of press time, the new Fast & Furious is still in editing so I have yet to see a screening. Whether it's good or bad is too early to say. But its legacy is undeniable and something we at 2NR chose to explore. Some people hope that this film will give our scene a lifeblood. Don't. You're setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, take it for what it is-a movie. A movie with cars. And with Justin at the helm, hopefully an entertaining one at that.
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