Here's the thing: the Fast and Furious series is, by and large, pretty amazing. Who would have thought that the first film, a fairly simple and derivative Point Break riff with cars instead of surfing, would evolve into one of the most entertaining, continuity-heavy and rewarding franchises in recent memory? But there's no denying it -- these movies are ridiculous. They disrespect the laws of physics. They're filled with characters who think and act like they're from another dimension. They take place on Earth in name only.
And this is not a bad thing.
Half of what makes these movies so great is their sheer insanity; their commitment to a universe of questionable actions and characters doing things that no sane human being would ever do. So let's go on a little journey. Let's recount the most ridiculous decisions made in the Fast and Furious franchise. Let's take a look at the moments where characters approached a difficult situation and, instead of doing something reasonable, made the most ludicrous choices possible. This isn't making fun of this series. It's all written with an absurd amount of love.
Paul Walker Crashes His Car into a Boat
If there's one thing the Fast and Furious series has taught us, it's that every character in this franchise has no respect for their physical well-being, their property, the property of others and the laws of physics. All of this is summed up in one moment late in 2 Fast 2 Furious. With the bad guy making his getaway on his private yacht, Brian (Paul Walker) makes a decision that only a crazy person will make -- he speeds up along the coast, finds a convenient ramp and drives his automobile straight into the boat. Will he survive? Will he accidentally kill the captive Eva Mendes? Will the boat sink? These are not questions that run through his mind.
Nothing Quite Like Street Racing Stolen Police Cars!
Police officers tend to frown on people stealing their cars, but you'd expect they'd frown even more on a group of hoodlums using their recently acquired patrol vehicles to do some impromptu street racing. Racing in stolen police cars through the streets of Rio is dangerous enough, but it's even more dangerous when you have an elite team of badasses led by the Rock attempting to track you down. That's why it's so awesome (and completely baffling) that Dom, Brian, Roman and Han decide to have a friendly high stakes competition mere moments after raiding a police station. In their insane little world, there's never not a good time to race, even when every eye in the city is on you. Of course, this is far from the most insane thing they do in Fast Five.
Vin Diesel and Paul Walker Race Toward a Speeding Train Because They're Men
Although the original The Fast and the Furious isn't as full-tilt ludicrous as its follow-ups, it has its fair share of ridiculous decisions. The best of them comes toward the end of the film, where Dom (Vin Diesel) challenges Brian to one final street race… toward a railway crossing with an oncoming train. Since this is a universe ruled entirely by gasoline and testosterone, Brian agrees and the two of them barely escape with their lives ramping right past a speeding locomotive with milliseconds to spare. The race barely serves a narrative function, instead just giving the bromance between Brian and Dom one final cathartic moment. Bros before hoes and deadly street races before common sense and so on.
A Brutal Street Race for What's Her Name
In the opening scenes of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Lucas Black's Sean finds himself in a predicament common in many movies involving teenagers: he wants to impress a girl. Of course, that girl already has a boyfriend in the form of a rich, snobby jock with a fancy car. One thing leads to another and soon, Sean and the jock are racing their cars through a neighborhood under construction. Not wanting to lose (because impressing an unnamed girl who doesn't know who you are is the most important thing in the world), Sean drives his car straight through a house, causing untold amounts of damage and wrecking both his and his rival's cars. This is psychopathic behavior in real life, but in this universe, it's just another day at the race track.
Paul Walker Just Can't Make Up His Damn Mind
Paul Walker's Brian is a very confused man whose entire career has been built on him making knee-jerk decisions about where his loyalty lies. When we first meet him, he's a seemingly dedicated police officer trying to bring down a team of crooks. But like a teenager who hangs out with the wrong crowd, the influence of Vin Diesel's Dom causes him to fall off the straight and narrow, letting his new buddy escape the long arm of the law at the end of the first film. From there on out, the rest of the franchise is all about Brian flip-flopping between the law and outlaw on a whim. He's a cop who becomes a street racer who becomes a fed who becomes a thief. It's a wonder anyone believes a word he says at this point.
Vin Diesel Taunts the Rock (and the Rock Smashes Back)
Look, there are a few things you shouldn't do. Inviting an elite law-enforcement team to an illegal street race to taunt them is a ridiculous decision. However, it becomes the king of ridiculous decisions when that team is led by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Who the hell lets the Rock know where they are when he is hunting them? Who then humiliates the Rock in front of a huge crowd? Naturally, the Rock has to strike back in the most personal way possible: he has to smash Vin Diesel's car. But that's also an incredible ridiculous decision: Who thinks it's a good idea to smash the one thing that Diesel seems to love more than Paul Walker? It's no surprise that these two almost kill each other in the ensuing fight scene.
"Hey Redneck, Take My Car!"
In the Fast and Furious world, cars aren't extremely expensive modes of transportation that are required to get to work and get around town. Oh, no. They're extensions of your ego, your reputation in physical form. They're also as disposable and easy to come by as tissue paper. Why else would the mysterious Han (Sun Kang) give a random redneck white boy (Sean, played by Lucas Black) the keys to his pride and joy? Of course, the new-to-the-drifting-scene Sean totals the car, which Han had to see coming. To be fair, Han does explain himself a little later. You see, he wanted to see what kind of stuff Sean was made of and decided to sacrifice his car to test his mettle. Well, that may be the kind of thing that an insane crazy person does in real life, but it apparently worked here since the two become fast friends and partners.
The World's Least Efficient Bus Rescue
So, your buddy is on a bus full of inmates, on his way to prison. You decide to break him out, because that's what friends do. So, how exactly do you stop a speeding bus and extract your bro? Well, if you live in the Fast and Furious universe, you swerve your car straight in the path of the bus, cause it to flip over a dozen times and apparently kill everyone on board because that's what happens when you flip a bus full of people. Of course, the movie claims no one died and that Brian was able to pull an unharmed Dom from the wreckage, but there had to have been a more sane way of getting the job done… but since when has anyone made a sane decision in this series?
Dom and Brian Declare War on the Cars of Mexico
What do you do when the man who killed your girlfriend eludes capture from the regular authorities? You go after himself. Plenty of movies have seen people illegally cross borders to take down bad guys, but few movie heroes have led an army of aggressive drivers straight into a decrepit tunnel under a mountain. Look, even supernaturally talented drivers like Dom and Brian have every reason to fear putting the pedal to the metal in narrow, crumbling, dark, debris-filled tunnels (not that they ever show any fear or hesitation), but all of those random henchmen? Really, guys? You think you can drive an entire convoy into a narrow tunnel and not crash and explode and die horrible deaths? Silly, silly henchmen.
Paul Walker and Tyrese Complicate a Predicament with Homemade Ejector Seats
In 2 Fast 2 Furious, an undercover cop (Eva Mendes) warns Brian and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) that once they deliver Cole Hauser's ill-gotten cash stash, their henchmen ride-alongs will put bullets in their brains. Now armed with this knowledge that the men in the cars with them mean them harm, these two geniuses devise a plan to avoid getting killed. Since this is a Fast and Furious movie, they don't arm themselves. They don't have them knocked out when they briefly hide away among dozens of friendly street racers who are in on the plan. Oh, no: they build homemade ejector seats to launch their would-be assassins straight out of the car. It's a decision that feels like it was made not because it would be practical, but because it's really cool. The fact that Brian's shoddy ejector seat doesn't even work exposes the flaws in this plan.
The Entire Final Heist in 'Fast Five'
The final half hour of Fast Five is one long string of ridiculous decisions, made all the more ridiculous because they're part of a plan that an entire team carefully laid out, thought through and decided was okay. Imagine the offscreen discussions! Everyone sat down and decided that towing a massive vault out of a police station with two cars and then using it as a wrecking ball to take out an entire army of corrupt cops was a sensible plan. Heck, everything in Fast Five is a ridiculous decision… and that's why it's the best film in the series.