“I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters. For those ten seconds or less, I’m free.” Those famous words uttered by Vin Diesel’s character, Dominic Toretto, pretty much summed it up for a street racer. In 2001, Fast and Furious was introduced. It gave us an inside look into a culture that was known to be predominantly Asian American. Moreover, it gave the import car world an affirmation for their love.
Now, as the highly-anticipated fifth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise directed by Justin Lin comes out, a reunion of cast members from each chapter come together. Joining Dom, Mia, and Brian in Brazil to pull off a hundred million dollar heist are Han (Sung Kang), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Vince (Matt Schulze), and Gisele (Gal Gadot). The group who grew up modifying, racing, and drifting their cars have come together to use their skills in what has been called “an Ocean’s Eleven-esque plan with fast cars at 120 mph”. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays Hobbs, a militant federal agent who never misses his target, is now on the hunt for them. But soon, as with everything dealing with Dom Toretto, Hobbs cannot tell the good guys from the bad guys.
Despite my initial reservations, Fast Five definitely came through. I agree with previous reports that the physics of some stunts are not realistic. But who cares? It’s a movie – not real life. The cars, the action, the races, and the people we were introduced to ten years ago still stands strong. And though the fifth installment has slightly switched gears from its original import racing world, it nonetheless satisfies our adrenaline-junkie and car needs.
From the traditional imports of a 1972 Nissan Skyline, 1996 Toyota Supra (when is that new model coming out?), and 2010 Subaru STi to four 2011 Dodge Charger Police Interceptors racing in a million dollar race, our guilty pleasure remains intact.
And let’s be real. Yes, we love (and I mean love) the cars and the races, but Fast Five is more about the people. It’s about the ones Dom chooses to surround himself with – friends that become family. Import bliss brought them together. Their common bond of living life to the fullest, one quarter-mile at a time, kept them together. It’s a bond that cannot be broken despite federal agents, warrants, and false allegations about the precision drivers.
As for the real-life racers of Fast and Furious, they face their own discrimination and scrutiny as well. There is a saying that if you are a young Asian driving a modified import, the police are sure to target you for suspicion of illegal street racing. It’s true that the world of import racing is mostly comprised of Asian Americans, but almost anyone in it would agree on one thing for those on the outside looking in. It’s not about your ethnicity – it’s about your car. The money and time spent on your modified machine is more than just a hobby – it is a statement and a lifestyle. It doesn’t just go away as you get older. It merely progresses to something more.
Also, just as the franchise has shown, we do it for more than just a race. It’s more than just standing by your car. It’s a love that flows in your blood. It’s about body kits, JDM engines, intake systems, and aftermarket parts. It’s about the Civics, Integras, Eclipses, Supras, and so many more.
Most importantly, it’s about being free, even if it’s only for a quarter mile at a time.
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Fast Five Featurette