Photo: Fast and Furious
It’s no doubt that the “Fast and Furious” franchise has been a part of American culture since the first initial release of “The Fast and the Furious”, directed by Rob Cohen and starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster, in 2001. The franchise is distributed by Universal Studios and has produced 9 films with 2 spin-offs and a video game series that has inspired other video games. The series has its foot in multimedia platforms making it impossible to ignore its existence. I mean, let’s face it, you can’t look at a Skyline without thinking of Paul Walker. The movies did incredibly well at the box office during the film screenings in theaters; Fast 9 made 169 million dollars domestically and 642 million dollars worldwide.
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Fast and Furious
You’re probably wondering what makes these films so successful and have worldwide success. Let me explain by pulling elements of the film apart, such as cinematography, sound, and mise-en-scène. What is something you vision when driving in a sweet car, such as a 1999 Skyline GTR? You’re not imagining anything; you’re simply driving down a beautiful highway with a beach overlooking the ocean or making precise turns along a curvy mountain road; this is what the Fast and Furious franchise makes you feel with its mise-en-scène. Mise-en-scène is everything you see at a certain point in the film. Everything visible in the frame is Mise-en-scène, even the cars used on set have to match the feeling the film is trying to evoke in you. Can you imagine the same feelings if the films were shot with Toyota Prius? The scenes are shot in the most beautiful places that give a tropical vibe; most of the films were shot in Spanish-speaking countries like Puerto Rico and Mexico. (Brazil predominantly speaks Portuguese, very few speak Spanish.)
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The Franchise is More Than Just Cool Cars and Action, It Brings Respect and Individuality To The Big Screen
“The Fast and Furious” franchise has 9 films attached to it as well as the two spin-offs: “Hobbs and Shaw” (2019), directed by David Leitch, which has also inspired a video game. Throughout the series, the franchise takes a bold step and includes a more diverse cast while respecting their diverse cultures; the films authenticate the story by incorporating the culture within the films. The cultures represented in the films are primarily Latin, the person that helped attract this audience to the film is the talented Michelle Rodriguez. Michelle Rodriguez is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent, she rose to stardom after her debut in the 2000 film “Girl Fight”, directed by Karyn Kusama. It was not an easy film to get through to a majority-white industry at the time. Karyn Kusama had spoken about her struggle to add an authentic Latin American actress to fit the role of Diana Guzman, a Latin American character. White producers and directors kept challenging Karyn to make her lead role a white character.
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“The Fast and Furious” franchise has a diversity policy that allows a more diverse cast to be present in the film. The film’s music throughout the series consists of Latin music that represents the community in which the film was shot. The music is a variety of reggaeton that is matched with cinematography that shows wide shots of beaches and city nightlife; this has been a hit with Latin American audiences as most of the franchise’s success comes from Latin American countries. In the U.S., 37% of the box office came from American Hispanics who have been returning fans of the franchise. Latin countries make up at least 30% of the global box office. Asian countries have also had a huge impact on the franchise as “Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift” was released in 2006 and helped enlighten fans of drift cars and tuners that take place in Asian culture; this has propelled the story into taking place in foreign countries and has continued ever since.
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What We Can Expect From The Up and Coming ‘Fast X’ and How to Prepare For a Possible 11th Film
“Fast X” moved into production earlier this month but has been reported to have problems with their crew department. The film is scheduled to release in the theater on May 19, 2023; the cast has some new characters along with returning ones such as Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto. Some new faces returning to the franchise are Jason Mamoa, Brie Larson, and John Cena. John Cena was in “Fast 9” and will be a part of “Fast X”. The problem that seems to be arising on set is the sudden change of directors. Justin Lin has decided to step down from the franchise, leaving Universal Studios in a scramble as production has already started, and it could be costly to find a replacement and FAST. They were successful in finding Louis Leterrier as director to replace Justin Lin.
The franchise is expected to have 2 more installments; the 10th and 11th installments will bring an end to Dominic Toretto, his family, and the franchise altogether. As the second production team in the U.K. seems underway, the U.S. production unit must find a new replacement before the studio sacrifices any more costly expenses to keep the cast and crew on board with the project to avoid losing valuable crew members or beloved cast. It was crucial to find a replacement to avoid losing its release date of May 19, 2023.
By Noah Spencer
Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.
I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV. media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.”
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Growing up as one of Jerry’s kids, Noah Spencer found his passion for the Film and Television industry through the Muscular Dystrophy Association working as the Southern Arizona Ambassador where he resides. He has been a part of numerous local productions that have been broadcasted nationwide, aside from writing for The Hollywood Insider, Noah is a film and television major at the University of Arizona. With Noah’s writing skills, he hopes to bring truth and awareness about how people with disabilities are presented within the industry and hopes to open the door to new opportunities that will change the industry and bring content for audiences and readers to genuinely enjoy and hopefully learn something they will remember for a lifetime after the read. His positive personality and ambition align with The Hollywood Insider’s brand identity while staying away from gossip and slander against others.