The Fast and the Furious returns: what makes the franchise so successful?
Back in 2001, petrol-powered The Fast and the Furious earned average reviews but proved a massive hit with audiences, pulling in more than £164 million worldwide. What followed was an almost unbelievable success story. The speedy series has spawned seven episodes so far, becoming one of the most successful franchises in film history. Part seven earned an astonishing £1.2 billion, making it the sixth highest-grossing movie of all time
The latest trailer for the upcoming Fate of the Furious broke the record for the most views within the first 24 hours. But what is the secret fuel that propels this saga to new heights.
The first impression
Pimped out cars, hot girls, cool guys, exciting scenes and lots of over-the-top action - at first glance, the franchise provides everything an audience expects from pure popcorn movies. But they’re not the only reasons why an eighth instalment will appear in April 2017, and two more are planned.
It’s not just the actors, props and locations that appeal to cinema goers, but the stories also attract both men and women. Neither pure action, romance nor comedy, The Fast and the Furious mixes elements of them all. The saga has created its own cast of superheroes set in the real world
The secret powers of this crew are fast moves, daring stunts and elaborately planned heists. The plot always revolves around revenge, honour and family - themes which are also the driving force behind most superhero films.
Speaking of superheroes, what might have looked artificial in the case of The Avengers happened almost naturally in The Fast and the Furious as, over time, more and more characters came to join the group. What started small in 2001 - with Paul Walker as a cop and the dodgy Vin Diesel - has become an illustrious band of at least nine different members over 14 years.
Another distinctive feature is the diversity of representatives from different cultures, with the white Walker, the Italo-American Diesel, Dwayne Johnson with Samoan roots, Sung Kang, son of South Korean immigrants, and the Israeli Gal Gadot. From the beginning, the producers chose characters from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The main protagonists weren’t just defined by their undoubted good looks but boosted the group dynamic with their own unique characteristics. The franchise showed that various people, regardless of their nationality, could come together to fight for a more important goal.
However, the greatest strength of the films is probably their character development. It’s no surprise to see the current trend in television of series outdoing individual film productions in terms of character growth. Similarly on the big screen, some of the genres with the most success are the major franchises like Star Wars, Harry Potter and the Marvel Universe. Why? Because characters and plots can gain more depth over time.
The Fast and the Furious has managed this like almost no other series. With each new part came fresh faces, and even the genre itself has changed over the years. The stories don’t follow the same format, whether it’s a robbery thriller or undercover agent action spectacle. And while initially, underground street racing played an important part, the saga progressed and after the fourth instalment of the series, it began to unite all the storylines. And of course, with ever richer stunts.
And the moral of the story:
It doesn’t matter that the actors won’t win Oscars, the cars don’t correspond to real models, or that the stunts defy logic. The Fast and the Furious series cleverly combines entertainment, characters and themes that appeal to a wide fanbase.
For two hours, the viewers can switch off and immerse themselves in a glittering, clattering, dangerous world of action. The Fate of the Furious arrives in April 2017 and, even without the late Paul Walker for the first time, is set to take audiences in yet another new direction