The Fast and the Furious Flubs
I really like the film The Fast and the Furious, don't take this as a
criticism of the movie as being bad or not enjoyable.
The pre release press that the movie received made it sound like it would
be portraying all import car enthusiasts as reckless, gun toting thieves, who
stole everything that wasn't bolted to the floor to pay for the parts they bolt
onto their cars. We already get the short end of the stick whenever the police
are involved, and all we really needed was one more excuse for the local law
enforcement to harass us, especially if it gave them the idea to shoot first
and not bother with the questions. A loud muffler would suddenly be punishable
by street execution.
Stack that up next to the obvious thought that the film would basically be one
big honda commercial with nothing but wall to wall lemmingmobiles, and the whole
idea of this movie was that it would be nothing but one big disappointment.
However, after seeing the film, it was much more enjoyable, clearly action
fantasy on the level of a modern interpretation of Smokey and the Bandit
(Remember, they did not pay for the beer that they loaded onto Snowman's truck
and the whole point of having the Bandit run distraction was to keep the police
from finding out they were smuggling beer without paying the federal liquor tax).
And, above all, this was not a honda movie. In fact, anyone familiar with the use
of old Volkswagen Beetles in 1970s and 1980s movies and television as totally
expendible and destined to be crushed, will understand that this movie has found a
new totally expendible automobile. In 1970's and 1980's movies, whenever you see
a VW Beetle, you can be absolutely sure that at some point toward the end of the
film, that Beetle will be wrecked, crushed, destroyed, totally obliterated, or
otherwise turned into a one foot cube of steel. The Fast and the Furious
takes this additude and applies it directly to honda cars. Almost every single
honda car in the movie is wrecked, trashed, or otherwise defaced and destroyed.
It is refreshing to see that other people see hondas in the same light that we
do, worth nothing more than a good laugh when they are torn to pieces.
Additionally, the main characters in the movie are not driving hondas as
their primary vehicles. They are driving Mazda RX-7s, Toyota Supras, Mitsubishi
Eclipses, Volkswagen Jettas, and Dodge Muscle Cars. If a main character drives
a honda, it is going to be wrecked, and you know it.
But, as fun and exciting as the movie is, there are a few things that just
really stick out as really wrong. Things that should have been caught by
the technical consultants and editors, and corrected, but somehow slipped through.
This is by no means a list of them all, but some:
- You are going to go out and hijack trucks on public highways, so in order to make
yourself as inconspicuous as possible, you set your gang of hijackers up with a set
of flashy cars, customized with big spoilers, distinctive looking front bumpers,
tinted windows, and above all, neon underneath, so that you draw as much attention
as possible to the group and no cop in the world would ever pass up the opportunity
to stop the whole group just for the regular round of harassment, much less if the
descriptions of the cars were known to be a group of hijackers.
- There is not a single diesel truck on the road that does not have a handgun within
easy reach of the driver. Remember, truck drivers are above all highly independent
people who have to go into rough areas, drive at all hours of the night, and are not
about to expose themselves to the possibility of being robbed without being able to
shoot at their attacker. Every truck driver has a gun and anyone trying to pull out
and jump through the windshield of a moving truck would quickly find out that God made
all men, but Colt made all men equal.
- Notice the rear spoiler on the car the hijacker is jumping off, in every hijacking
scene. Sometimes the spoiler has the cross wing, sometimes it does not. A really
- There is roughly 42 inches of clearance under a shipping container on a trailer
frame. Standard trailers have less clearance. Even the most extremely lowered import
car measures 48 or more inches from the ground to the highest spot on the roof. It is
obvious that specially constructed trailers were used in the film for the "driving
under the trailer" portions of the hijacking scenes. These trailers would be too
tall to fit under any bridge or overpasses unless the tralier had a whopping four
vertical feet of interior space, rendering them useless for shipping product. Had a
real trailer been used for these scenes, the car would have been immediately destroyed
and the driver turned into a greasy stripe on the interstate.
- OK, I'm out hijacking trucks because I need money, but I have enough money to
buy a veternary dart gun, injection darts, and drugs to fill them with, so that I
can harmlesly knock out truck drivers after ripping out and jumping through their
- I've driven a lot of cars, and I have yet to get find one that sounds like a AK-47
being chambered every time the transmission is shifted from one gear to the next.
The sound effects guys get extra recognition on this one for finding a new use for
the sound of a rifle being chambered.
- What is the point of waiting until the last moment, then stomping on the clutch
pedal while slamming the gear shift lever from neutral into first gear? Launching a car
involves holding the clutch down with the transmission in first gear while holding the
gas pedal to an engine speed above idle, then letting the clutch out while adding more
- So, we have this group of hijackers/street racers, and they are supposed to be
placing some importance on driving, after all, they all have racing buckets and
aftermarket steering wheels, but they are wearing the latest in urban assault style
footwear, big clunky boot type shoes with two and three inch thick soles and big,
wide, knobby soles, that most people can't even walk in, much less drive, or drive
- Even the biggest V-8 muscle car will get 20-30 runs on a standard sized nitrous
oxide bottle. Import cars get twice that many with ease. In all seriousness, a
nitrous bottle the size of a can of soda would be more than adequate for several races.
Meanwhile, our movie characters need not one, not two, but a trunk load of huge nitrous
oxide bottles so that they can run one race.
- Nitrous oxide is like turbo and supercharging. You can't just slap the biggest
nitrous setup onto a car and make 300 more horsepower unless you are willing to pull the
engine apart and go through the same low compression piston and reinforced bottom end
upgrades that you would need to do with a turbo or supercharger in order to make a lot
more power. However, our film characters just slap nitrous systems on without any of
- The green Eclipse has several wires hanging out from under the front end of the
car when it enters the wareshouse district for the pre race meet. Sort of embarassing
for a guy who is supposed to be impressing everyone.
- What in the world are cars with hydraulics doing at street drag races? These
suspension systems make driving dangerous at normal speeds, much less high speeds, and
the weight of the hydraulic equipment would make them into very slow cars.
- So, I'm going to go out and race on the street for $2,000 a race, and I'm going to
go out and find the biggest, heaviest 20 inch wheels and put 30 series interstate tires
onto them, instead of a nice set of 13, 14, or 15 inch alloy wheels and a set of real
drag slicks or drag radials, the shortest of which are 50 series. On top of that, I
load the car up with a big, heavy stereo system in the trunk so I can intimidate the
other drivers I am racing against, a bunch of neon under the car, a tail pipe flame
thrower system on the tail pipe, and not just a full interior, but a fancied up interior
with the added weight of thick seat covers and applied carbon fiber vinear. No ten
second import drag car is loaded down with that much crap and still runs ten seconds.
- Pizza delivery guys are all grey haired and over 40.
- Anyone who can count to ten should be able to figure out that there is no time
between the number one and the number ten to screw around with a lap top computer while
driving the quarter mile in ten seconds, much less mess with it several times and finally
throw it onto the floor of the car.
- If these racers are as serious as they are portrayed, wouldn't they be running
automated nitrous injection systems triggered by throttle pedal position and engine
speed, so that there is no driver error as to when they press the button to inject
the nitrous? After all, our star character is screwing around with a laptop that is
supposed to be opperating his nitrous oxide system, what is he doing with buttons to
punch if he already has the computer system in place?
- Someone explain how blowing piston rings causes nuts and bolts to fall out from
under the dash board of a car.
- Then, explain how blowing those piston rings causes the floor plate to fall out of
- Follow that up with explaining why anyone would cut the floor boards out of a car
and replace them with diamond plate pattern plates that would fall out when the piston
- So, you are an outlaw street racer, you go and cordon off an area to race and wait
for the police to get busy with other things before you actually conduct a race on the
street. You are this careful not to get caught, but, after running four cars abreast
down the middle of the street, you stop all four cars in the middle of the street and
everyone gathers around for a speach. Are you asking for the police to find you and
- So, you are the police, and you are charging into an area full of street racers
so that you can arrest them. Do you all drive in single file as if on parade to the
center of the group, allowing almost everyone to drive away and escape, or, do you simply
block off all the streets leading away from the racers, blocking any possible escape,
and then leisurely wait for the racers to file past and ticket/arrest them as they file
by. The Key Stone Cops look more realistic than this.
- The Toretto character is driving a RX-7 for the street racing scenes, and hides
the car from the police, but the car is not seen in the rest of the movie, not even
at the Race Wars event. If the car beats everyone on the street, wouldn't he be out
at the organized race event racing it as well?
- Spilner has blown the piston rings on his green Mitsubishi Eclipse, and
the car is in bad enough shape that it is belching out smoke when he rolls up after
the race, seemingly the last rolling that car will be doing for a while. However,
suddenly, when the police show up, those blown piston rings are no longer a problem
and the green Eclipse is loose and outrunning police interceptor patrol cars.
- Toretto jumps into the Eclipse for a quick gettaway, but he doesn't seem to
worry about his feet hanging out the bottom of the car. Remember, the floor fell
out during the race.
- You have to remember, all Asian Ameirican import car enthusiasts carry Mak-10
machine guns and ride motorcycles. I'm hoping any stereotyping was unintentional.
- So, these guys pull back around on their motorcycles with their girls riding
behind them, they pull out those Mak-10s, and fill the green Eclipse full of lead.
Women freak out when they are a passenger in a car racing another on the street, just
how much more would a woman freak out when the driver of the motorcycle they are
riding on pulls out a machine gun and starts spraying it around?
- If nitrous bottles in the back of a car blow up, the floor boards of the car
would reflect most of the force of the blast out the weakest area, the top, and
through the windows. The car would blow down, not up.
- Nitrous oxide does not burn. Compressed nitrous oxide would blow like a
concussion grenade, not like a accelerant or explosive.
- The police say they know the hijackers are street racers because they are
running "Moshimoto ZX" tires. This would purport special drag racing tires, but
it was already mentioned that these cars are all running huge, heavy wheels
with ultra low profile interstate tires. If the tires were identifiable as drag
racing tires, they would be wholely unsuitable for hijacking trucks on the interstate,
because drag slicks and drag radials have no sidewall stiffness and pretty much peal
off the wheel if the car is thrown into a hard corner. If these guys were setting
up cars for hijacking, they wiould likely be using a hard aurocross or road racing
- We find out the shop owner who is working with the police in helping our protagonist
with his cover, is doing so because he is somewhat less than scrupulous (three counts of
accepting stolen property), so I guess this is showing the caucasian business man to be
the recipient of some reverse stereotyping.
- Spilner is picked up by the police in the morning and taken to their expensive,
confiscated house they are using as a headquarters, and they enter with the sun low
in the sky and the sun shining through the entry gate. But, when they get inside,
the sun is straight up in the middle of the sky with the roof shadows on the exterior
pilasters coming down vertically. Then, when Spilner leaves after ten minutes inside,
the sun is showing the time to be early with the shadows coming down at a forty five
degree angle and the entry gate is in full shadow.
- The mechanical genius character is talking about selecting parts for the Toyota
Supra, and indicates that Koni struts are "two pounds lighter on each corner". What
is eight additional pounds of weight when you know these guys are going to build a
full interior car with neon underneath it, a big heavy stereo inside, and a flame
thrower on the tail pipe?
- There is a lot of talk about turbos spooling up, blow off valves, and the sound
of blow off valves ("woosh"), but I don't recall ever hearing a single blow off valve
during the entire length of the movie. I thought everyone was running a turbo? You
can even hear stock blow off valves activate when a car is driven hard, aftermarket
valves tend to be pretty obvious.
- Nothing like a little more stereotyping of the Latin American crowd at a local
drinking establishment. As was mentioned before, I really hope this was unintentional.
- Spilner breaks into the Latin American group's garage to check their cars
to see if they match the description of the hijackers. He goes past the fact that two
of the three cars are grey, not black, none have big spoilers on the back, and the one
on the lift obviously has a stock exhaust system, which pretty much eliminates any of
them from being suspect, but he has to check the tire brand just to make sure, a stock
tire mounted on a stock alloy wheel, not even a big, heavy wheel with a ultra low profile
- The mechanical genius is left outside to watch for the Asian Americans when Torretto
and friends break into their garage. He is in a white VW Jetta with blue and silver
stickers across the side, very inconspicuous. And when the Asian American group
rides by on their motorcycles, he hunches down in the seat to hide, as if a white
Jetta with blue and silver stickers across the side like a billboard wouldn't be enough
to give away that he was there and who he was.
- The Asian American group is working over another caucasian business man, the fence
who sold the engines that were stolen from them. I guess this excuses some of the
- A little more stereotyping, the Asian Americans are arrested at a Oriental resturaunt.
I guess it wouldn't have the same impact if they were arrested at McDonalds.
- So, we have an organized racing event, supposedly legitimate, called Race Wars.
They have a very noticable security force, what appears to be track officials, and are
even assigning numbers to cars as they enter the event. Why are they not requiring
the use of helmets by all participants? What about racing harnesses? All of these
cars have racing buckets, but nowhere in the whole movie is anyone seen wearing a
harness. And these ten second cars would be required to have roll cages, but it
appears that nothing but the Supra has a cage unless it is one of the extra cars
- Everyone is at the legitimate Race Wars drag racing event, still racing on those
big, heavy wheels with the ultra low profile interstate tires, instead of some nice
drag slicks or drag radials.
- You are looking for a place to hide your hijacking cars, so you pick a big, well
lit building to park them next to, the only building out in the moddle of nowhere,
because everyone knows that parking suspicious looking cars next to a row of flood
lamps is the best way to hide them.
- Back to the hijacking, notice the wing on the lead car appears and disappears at
- The hijacker car driven by the girl doesn't have a roll cage in it until the car
is rolling over and over after being run off the road, then it has a nice yellow roll
cage, clearly seen after all teh windows have been broken out of the car.
- A truck driver, attempting to fold and reload a shot gun over and over, is still
going to hold a steady rate of speed and keep the truck rolling in a nice straight line
so that hijackers can jump onto and off of his truck while he is trying to shoot them.
Even if he were not likely to try to swerve all over the road and drive faster and
slower just to discourage the hijackers, most people can't eat a sandwich while
driving and keep the same speed and straight line, much less repeatedly fire and load
a gun while driving a perfectly straight line at a steady speed.
- Our movie characters are all out driving all over creation and street racing and
racing at Race Wars and hijacking trucks, and they never stop to get gasoline. Boy those
things get good milage.
- Our Asian Americans are back on their motorcycles with their Mak-10's, more
- The motorcyclists ride up and start spraying bullets, scattering lead across most
of the front yard and porch, the VW Jetta, and generally missing everything they are
aiming at, except the mechanical genius, which they hit with sniper like precision,
with a single shot, directly into the heart.
- And these would seem to be the only smoothly functioning Mak-10 machine guns in
existence, because, unlike real Mak-10s, which jam on every third round, these spray
thousands of bullets at a time without ever missing a lick.
- So, our motorcycle snipers are now hanging off the back of their motorcycles,
spraying bullets in every direction, by waiving their guns in a circular pattern,
hitting every car parked on the side of the road, and never hitting the car that
is chasing them. How soon they loose their sniper like precision.
- Of particular novelty is the fact that some of the cars parked on the side of the
road get entry bullet holes in the windows on the side of the car facing _away_ from
the two gunmen on the motorcycles.
- And Mak-10s hold several thousand bullets in each and every clip, they must, our
motorcyclists never do have to change clips.
- Spilner, he's one heck of a marksman, while sitting in his car, he lays a
round into one of the motorcyclists riding away from him at a good 50 yard distance.
I don't think Hickock himself could have made that shot.
- Why does Spilner have his windshield wiper running when he is jumping the
railroad tracks? Is he anticipating Toretto going airborn in the Dodge?
Like I said, I really enjoyed this movie, it is the only movie I actually paid to
see at the theater within the last four or five years, and the only movie I ever went
to the theater to see twice. Don't get the wrong impression that I am ripping on this
movie, it is more a compliment that I was interested enough to pay close enough attention
to pick these little details out.
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