Hello action fans, Slick Dungeon here! We’ve made it to the fourth movie in the Fast and Furious franchise. This is is just called Fast and Furious, not to be confused with The Fast and the Furious. This film is the fourth movie but chronologically it takes place third in the series. Just a warning, this review will contain spoilers for the first three films plus this one. If you want to get caught up quickly, you can read my review for The Fast and the Furious here, 2 Fast 2 Furious here, and Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift here.
The first film set up our characters with a nearly beat for beat exact match of Point Break. The second movie veered into generic action territory, but with plenty of fast driving. And the third film took us international, while ditching the focus of the main characters from the first two films. In the fourth, we have all the elements of the first film back. Paul Walker, Vin Diesel. Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster who all starred in the first movie are back for this one.
With all of the main stars returning, a bigger budget, and more pressure than ever to make a movie people would enjoy, this was going to be a difficult feat to pull off. So, did the film live up to expectations, or was this a sequel without a point other than to make money? Let’s dig in and find out.
Spoilers follow below!
The Story and the Stunts are Bigger
Much like the first film, this movie starts with a big action piece involving fast cars and a huge semi-truck in the Dominican Republic. The fast cars are trying to steal oil tanks right off the back of the truck. The team trying to grab the tanks includes Dom, Letty, Tego Leo, Rico Santos, Cara and Han Lue. The fact that Han is here signals to us that this happens before the events of Tokyo Drift. The stunt is pretty incredible and I feel like this stunt is the first of the really large and complex stunts the movies start trying to top every time. The robbery is successful for the most part. The driver of the truck even saves his iguana which I have total respect for.
After the job, we find out Dom is still on the run after the events of the first film. But the law is onto him and it’s time for him to split off from the group to protect his people. Han decides to go to Tokyo, and Letty stays behind as Dom heads to Panama City. While there, Dom gets a call from his sister Mia telling him Letty is dead.
Then we see Brian running around the streets of Los Angeles in a suit of all things. Turns out Brian has gone legit again and is working for the FBI once more. He’s trying to figure out how to get to a drug dealer named Braga. And, of course, his best way in, is to figure out what is going on in the underground race circuit. Dom goes back to LA and watches Letty’s funeral from afar. He asks Mia to show him the crash site where Letty died. There Dom finds evidence of nitromethane. This leads Dom to David Park who is the only guy in the area who sells the stuff. Meanwhile, Brian’s information has turned up the same guy so he also goes looking for David. Brian arrives on the scene just as Dom is about to toss the dude out of a window. Brian races up to the room and finds Dom there. He keeps Dom from killing David but Dom gets away. And, yeah, Dom is still pretty pissed that Brian was a cop the whole time.
Brian takes David Park in to the FBI and is able to gain entry into an illegal street race. This is an audition to be a driver for Braga. The man who is looking for drivers is named Ramon Campos and he says he wants real drivers. They have to run a course through streets full of traffic based on GPS coordinates downloaded into their cars. It’s a pretty fun race and we all know the only person who might even have a chance of beating Dom is Brian. It gets close in the end and Brian looks like he’s going to win but Dom knocks Brian off the road. Dom knows that one of the people driving for Braga killed Letty and he’s out for revenge so nothing will stop him. We even see a sequence where Dom imagines the crash in his head and Letty’s death. Takes notes on this because this will become a thing in the later movies as well.
Even though Brian lost the race, he’s able to have one of the other drivers arrested so now he also gets the job. Dom meets one of Braga’s top lieutenants, Gisele Yashar (Gal Gadot). She flirts with him but Dom is clearly a one woman man as he turns down Gisele after he basically describes Letty as his perfect woman.
The job the drivers are required to do is to transport a bunch of money across the border through a complicated series of underground tunnels based on GPS coordinates. The scene looks pretty good and it’s a fun race in this part of the movie. Once they get to the other side, drug dealers do what drug dealers do and try to kill the drivers. But, Dom has a plan. He wants to see a rival driver named Phoenix die because that guy killed Letty. So Dom rigs his car to explode enabling Brian and Dom to get away. Phoenix does live though.
Somewhere in there, Dom also learns that Letty was actually working for the FBI when she died. Dom beats Brian to a pulp when he finds this out but Brian tells Dom that Letty was only doing it to clear Dom’s name. Dom feels like a jerk for that one.
Once Dom and Brian get away, they stash the payload they were carrying in an impound lot that Braga owns. Braga has no idea he’s got his own stash right under his nose. Brian sets it up so that Braga will meet, the FBI will be able to arrest the guy, and in exchange, Dom gets to go free. Things do not go as planned.
Turns out Campos was Braga all along, and the FBI move in just a little too soon and blow the arrest. Brian and Dom make it out alive and for some reason Brian is to blame for the mess up, even though it was someone else who made the call to move the FBI in too soon.
Dom still has a vendetta against Phoenix and Brian reconnects with Mia. Brian and Dom decide to go and get Braga, even though he’s in Mexico, outside of US jurisdiction. Dom is just there to get Phoenix. Dom and Brian do capture the drug lord but then it’s a car chase back through the mountains. While the first sequence through the mountains looks pretty stylish, this return trip is kind of a confusing mess of an action sequence and it was pretty hard to follow what was happening.
In the end, Brian is almost killed by Phoenix, but Dom saves the day by hitting him with his car and Braga goes to jail. And Dom, allows himself to be captured this time.
We see a court scene where Dom is sentenced to twenty-five years to life in prison with no possibility of parole, despite the fact that Brian vouched for all the good Dom did.
The last scene is Dom in his orange prison suit on a bus headed to jail. But as the bus goes down the highway, three high speed cars pull up. Brian is in one, Mia is in another and Tego Leo and Rico Santos are in the third. We don’t see what happens but I think we can all assume Dom is about to be sprung from prison.
The beginning of this movie starts with a fantastic car stunt and it hints at bigger and better ones to come. Some of the more personal parts of the film come through as well. We get to see Brian reconnect with Mia and you can feel how much the loss of Letty gets to Dom. The plot with the drug lord is still pretty thin here but the racing and driving is great. The chase through the caves is probably the weakest of those sequences but it’s still fun to watch. It’s nice to see the core cast back here and it’s especially good to see Dom and Brian in the same movie again.
This film series will still go on to bigger, faster, and crazier stunts but this is where things start to get a little flexible with physics. There are definitely times where cars crash and people almost certainly should have died or been severely injured but walk away fine.
It does work best if you watch this one right after the second one but even watching it out of order is still kind of fun because you can start to figure out how the filmmakers realized they needed to retcon the timeline a bit.
If you haven’t seen this one in a while, it’s still worth checking out, just don’t expect the most complex plot here.
7 thoughts on “Fast and Furious (2009) – Movie Review”
Good review. Yes, I agree with you that this particular installment in the F&F franchise didn’t have the most complex story to tell, but it was definitely a welcome sight since it brought back Diesel’s Toretto back into the fold and how Walker’s Brian got tangled back with Dom again.
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Yeah their dynamic together is what makes this one work. Thanks for reading!