Before you see Furious 7, Here’s a quick recap.
I was working in a small movie theater back in 2001 when The Fast & The Furious, the first in the series, was released. On opening day, the parking lot was filled with “tuner” cars, complete with racing wheels, giant aluminum spoilers, and crazy graphics. They would cruise around for hours, scraping their fart-tip mufflers on every speed bump. For the first couple weeks, it was like a constant car show. The cops showed up almost every night due to noise complaints, because each time a showing ended, it sounded like a swarm of angry hornets leaving the shopping center.
What started as a niche action movie has turned into a franchise that has spanned over the last 14 years. On April 3, the latest, and most highly anticipated installment in the Fast and Furious series, Furious 7 kicked off the summer movie season at full throttle. It’s success was bittersweet with fans still mourning over the 2013 death of Paul Walker, who played Brian O’Connor in the films.
The story line has taken many twists and turns over the years. Following along can get pretty confusing, especially since the movies aren’t in chronological order, so here’s a timeline that might help clear things up.
1. THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001)
Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Connor must decide where his loyalties really lie when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy.
Brian goes undercover to investigate Dominic Toretto and his gang of street racers who have been stealing electronics. Brian falls in love with Dom’s sister, Mia. When things get crazy, Brian blows his cover to save Dom’s team and they become bros.
2. 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (2003)
Brian O’Conner and childhood friend Roman Pearce are re-united by the FBI to bring down a Miami drug exporter in exchange for clear records.
Brian goes undercover again and teams up with his buddy Roman Pierce to capture the leader of a drug cartel.
3. LOS BANDOLEROS (2009)
What, you didn’t see this one? That’s okay, most people didn’t know about it. It’s a short film, produced and directed by Vin Diesel, that was released on the special edition DVD/Blu-Ray of Fast & Furious. If you want to catch up and don’t have a copy, watch it below:
4. FAST & FURIOUS (2009)
Brian O’Conner, now working for the FBI in LA, teams up with Dominic Toretto to bring down a heroin importer by infiltrating his operation.
Another drug lord, Arturo Braga, kills Dom’s girlfriend, Letty. Dom wants revenge. Brian, who now works for the FBI, is also chasing Braga. They get their guy, but Dom ends up getting sent to prison.
5. FAST FIVE (2011)
Dominic Toretto and his crew of street racers plan a massive heist to buy their freedom while in the sights of a powerful Brazilian drug lord and a dangerous federal agent.
The gang frees Dom, gets back together, and decides to help Vince steal cars from yet another drug cartel dude. Some DEA agents get killed in the process and the gang gets blamed. Hobbs (The Rock) gets sent to arrest them with the help of a local cop, Elena. Hobbs chases the gang, the gang chases the drug dude, and the gang defeats the drug dude by stealing his money. Everybody gets rich. In the process, Dom saves Elena and they bond. In the end, Hobbs wants to hire the crew to chase a British bad guy named Shaw, and we find out Letty is still alive. Uh oh…
6. FAST & FURIOUS (2013)
Hobbs has Dominic and Brian reassemble their crew to take down a team of mercenaries: Dominic unexpectedly gets convoluted also facing his presumed deceased girlfriend, Letty.
The gang goes after Shaw in London and they find Letty who’s working for Shaw. She doesn’t remember anything. Dom fills her in after she shoots him. Eventually, they get Shaw and put him in a Coma. They also get their freedom because they’re on Hobbs’ good side. One member of the team, Han, loses his love interest and gets all depressed.
7. THE FAST & THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (2006)
A teenager becomes a major competitor in the world of drift racing after moving in with his father in Tokyo to avoid a jail sentence in America.
Han showed up in Tokyo and teaches a teaches a troubled teenager how to drift. Han dies.
Wait a minute, isn’t that the one with the kid from Slingblade? Why are we going all the way back to 2006? With an unfamiliar cast and a completely new setting, most people thought this movie signaled the end of the franchise. It seemed like a desperate attempt to milk it for all it was worth, but when Toretto shows up at the end, it gave fans a little hope. Fortunately, with the release of Furious 7, we finally get to see where it fits in the storyline.
8. FURIOUS 7 (2015)
Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for his comatose brother.
At the end of Fast & Furious (#6 on the list), Shaw’s brother (Jason Statham) shows up, and we find out how Han died in Tokyo Drift. In Furious 7, another big question also gets answered: What about Brian? With the death of Paul Walker, big changes are in store for this film. I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t tell you where it goes from here, but from what I’ve heard, everything finally comes together. I just hope nobody spoils it for me before I get to watch it.