Film Junk Premium Podcast #38: The Fast & Furious Franchise


When you’ve got nitrous oxide in your blood you’re bound to miss a few things, which is why this month we decided to revisit every movie in the Fast & Furious franchise, some of which we hadn’t seen previously. Whether you’re a fan of the series or not, it’s pretty clear that it has one of the most interesting trajectories of any Hollywood franchise to date and also one of the strangest chronologies as well. For this epic road trip we invited Row Three’s resident gearhead, Mr. Andrew James, to school us on the intricacies of street racing and the art of pimping your ride. Discussion topics include the star power of Vin Diesel, the diversity of the cast, the financial feasibility of the heists, and the insane amount of retconning involved in the series. Is there more to street racing than just pushing a button at the last minute? Are Brian and Roman trying to suppress their mutual attraction in 2 Fast 2 Furious? Is the addition of Dwayne Johnson a turning point in the series for the better or worse? Live life a quarter mile at a time by downloading this month’s premium podcast below.

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This series of premium podcasts was created to help support the regular weekly Film Junk Podcast. Head on over to Bandcamp and download full episodes for a minimum donation of just $1. As always, let us know if you experience any technical difficulties or if you have any other suggestions for future specials. Thanks for your support!

  • Sam

    The Rock is awesome in this series!

    I don’t love the series but I completely disagree with Frank saying that they aren’t in on the joke. I feel that they are fully aware of the ridiculousness of it all and are just having fun with all the melodrama. Wrestling feels like a good comparison.

    A lot of The Rock’s seem purposefully ridiculous:

    Cop: I got good news and bad news.
    Rock: You know I like my dessert first.
    Cop: blah blah blah…..
    Rock: Give me the damn veggies…

  • 1138sw

    uuugghhh sorry guys I’ll pass on this one. Never was a fan of the series after I saw the first one which was for me just terrible.

  • devolutionary

    After rewatching most of them, with Furious 6 being the only one I remember little from, I must say that the franchise really starts to find its footing with Fast and Furious (the 4th one). They seem to remove a lot of the plot filler which put a dated style and “coolness” factor over an actually engaging story (for a blockbuster). Like Andrew James, I also attempted to watch the series in a chronological story order. Still haven’t seen Lin’s Better Luck Tomorrow though.

    Chronological Order of the Fast and Furious universe:

  • Sam

    The first three (and partly 4 too) aren’t very good so that’s understandable. I think they’re entirely watchable, but just not good. Series definitely redefines itself with Fast Five and becomes just fun blockbuster franchise.

  • Colin

    Just got to Tokyo Drift in the premium, but I gotta say that I’m disappointed that – save for a brief mention from Jay – there was not much discussion re: how much the original film rips off Point Break wholesale.

    I’m assuming that there is a similar dearth of discussion re: Tokyo Drift ripping off The Karate Kid. Boo.

  • Sean

    I thought about the similarities to The Karate Kid, but it’s only the remake that had a kid in school in another country and the remake came out *after* Tokyo Drift.

  • Colin

    I’m sure Jay can attest to the fact that the California Republic is as alien to a kid from New Jersey (or Canada) as Japan would be to a kid from the American midwest.

    But if you have any question that Tokyo Drift is knowingly a pseudo-remake of ~the original~ The Karate Kid, well…

    Han: There’s no ‘wax on, wax off’ in drifting.

  • devolutionary

    And then Karate Kid Part II predominantly takes place in Japan where they attempt to somewhat reboot Daniel’s fish out of water story.

  • Captain Morgan

    For the first time I’ve been rewatching the franchise to listen to the show. So far it’s awesome. Good work gang.

  • Sean

    I mean I can see the influence and the reference makes sense but I would never call it a ripoff in the same way that the first movie steals the premise and plot of Point Break.

  • Yeah I’d recommend checking out 5 and 6. The others are just fillers. But 5 and 6 are legit crowd pleasers.

  • I watched Better Luck Tomorrow a couple of days ago. Sort of reminded me of an Asian Trainspotting (though not anywhere near as good) – except it’s general crime and violence rather than hard core drug use. It’s fun to see Han as a chain smoker (as alluded to in Fast Five) and check out his roots.

    I talked about it for a bit on our show last night if you’re interested:

  • Sam

    Jay does compare Tokyo Drift to Mr. Baseball though. He’s gotta get SOME credit for that. Right?

  • kent88

    Regarding future premiums,

    Am I the only that thinks a Wes Anderson-premium sounds somewhat dull? I mean, how many times can you listen to Jay bitch about the accents in THE LIFE AQUATIC?

    Friendly suggestion:

    People these days are on a big True Crime kick. Why not cash in on that by having a True Crime documentary premium? I’ve really enjoyed your discussions of both SERIAL and THE JINX and think it’s a good idea.


    THE STAIRCASE is an absolute must too. I saw that movie only recently for the first time and it’s kind of driving me crazy. I would love a truly in-depth discussion about it. Hopefully one including the infamous “owl theory” ;)

  • Sean

    A Wes Anderson premium has been requested frequently over the years but it does have the problem of there being very little to complain about.

    Almost all of the true crime docs you mentioned have been featured on the regular podcast in great detail at some point. Thanks for reminding me about The Central Park Five though.

  • jurassicalien

    Super enjoyable listen.

    Really clicked in when Andrew compared the series to hair metal music. They are in on the joke of what they are but take them selves just seriously enough. It’s a hard balance to hit but I feel like the last two films especially hit it just right. If you take yourself to seriously with a goofy concept you’re in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter or Robocop remake territory which is tedious.

    But I agree 5 and 6 are both just a hair to long.

  • Indianamcclain

    Will we finally get a Nightmare on Elm street premium this year?

  • b

    Sean, you got to do PREDATOR

  • yonato

    Yay, another premium!. I would love to hear premiums on film-series/directors which are maybe just a little more outside the blockbuster-genre in the future… Maybe someone like Kubrick or even David Lynch would make for a more “serious” discussion in the future?
    Thanks for endless hours of entertainment.

  • LordAwesome

    Isn’t this the first series in film history to be cast entirely of trees?

  • I like this idea.


  • Tommy

    Woody Allen, babe. You got your comedy and your art type shit. Perfect.
    e: Make it two premies, comedy and not so comedies.

  • pcch7

    Alexander Payne
    Coen Bros
    Sergio Leone

  • Tim

    Any Premium delivering one of Jay´s famous “jerk off freak outs” is definetely a buy!

  • Dstrbpx

    Frank wouldn´t be able to handle David Lynch, that´s for sure.

    The Winky´s scene alone would send the KOC straight to the ICU.

  • traynor

    Jay’s code

  • yonato

    Yeah, the sadistic side in me definitely wants Frank to experience the Winky’s scene as well as the “clown-face” scene in Inland Empire. I think those, as well as several BOB moments in Twin Peaks, might have scarred me for life.. I can only imagine Frankie’s reaction.

  • traynor

    I’m still rooting for the Erotic Thriller Premium.


    i watched all these movies in preparation and i am very offended that you guys never mentioned that all of these films at one point mention the PINK SLIPS! it is what every driver wants.

  • mk

    Seconding this.

    I’ll buy them regardless, but the past few months have been pretty heavily tilted towards amusing-chat-about-mostly-shitty-movies. It’d be good to hear you guys talk about some legitimately good films again.

  • Sean

    We agree, which is why we’re doing Wes Anderson. But most of the other suggestions will certainly be considered for the future.

  • Danny

    I´d love to hear a Premium about the Italian horror masters like Bava,Argento,Fulci,Deodato etc.
    That would give Jay a reason to talk passionately and excited about movies and Frank would be challenged to come out of his narrow comedy shell, which is always positive

  • pcch7

    Boss Nigger Trilogy would also be good

  • Flo Lieb

    Great to have Andrew on this one, the only one who gets this franchise

  • Flo Lieb

    Great to have Andrew on this one, the only one who gets this franchise

  • Bob

    I’m glad everyone had good things to say about Han. I actually like the Gisele character as well and would even say she has a couple nice action moments.

    I agree with Andrew that the cast’s diversity is interesting. Even if it’s as calculated a decision as Frank believes, it still seems like a good thing to me. It’s true the movies are also very earnest and sentimental, but I think there’s an obvious sense of self-awareness also present, e.g., part 6 finally showing the end of the runway at the end of the scene, so even if you weren’t thinking about the ridiculous length during the action, you surely will by the end (at least that’s how I saw it).

    Regarding Brian’s prison mission in part 6, his conversation with Braga actually does help the crew find Shaw. Braga told Brian that you only find Shaw if he wants you to, or something, so Brian uses that info to figure out why Shaw’s guy at the military base was captured so easily – it’s a decoy! You see, brilliant writing, bro!

    I get why the Gina Carano-Michelle Rodriguez is always brought up, but I don’t really get why nobody seems equally impressed by Joe Taslim (from “The Raid”) beating the shit out of Han and Roman. I actually think it’s the more memorable fight, partly because of the way it injects humour into the scene by having him basically toy with two of the movie’s heroes.

  • Guest

    On second thought, a Rob Reiner premium would be awesome

  • pcch7

    Maybe a Rob Reiner or Sergio Leone premium in the future? And Tarantino of course.

  • Thanks man. Film Junk commentary is notorious for hating on its guests (wink) – glad to have some people with me on this journey.

    PS – Furious 7 was outstanding. Kind of wish it was the end.

  • Captain Morgan

    I have to say, Andrew is the one who “gets” it. Totally agree.