The “Fast & Furious” franchise — now 10 films strong with the release of “Fast X” — captures much more than muscle cars, scantily-clad women and stunts that defy gravity (and logic).
The fuel behind Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his gang of antiheroes isn’t Nitrous Oxide (NOS), although that powers them through more than a few chase sequences, it’s — all together now — family. Something anathema to woke culture.
The extended brood also takes faith seriously, favors merit over representation, and understands that actions have consequences. The word “family” is spoken early and often throughout the series, connecting both blood relatives and the ever-expanding gaggle of reluctant warriors. And it’s not just lip service.
The “Fast & Furious” clan may come from different mothers, but they work together as one. It’s a near-perfect metaphor for adoption.
We often see various members of the “Fast” family breaking bread, an element audiences understand. They may not look just like us, but that’s our family, too.
“Money will come and go: The most important thing in life will always be the people in this room,” Dom says in “Fast Five.” And he means it.
“Fast X” opens with Abuela Toretto (Rita Moreno) lording over a family meal, her age and wisdom given the proper respect by everyone gathered. Minutes later, we’re watching Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto counsel his young son Brian (Leo Abelo Perry) on how to drive a car.
Like most fathers, Dom longs to impart his son with the life skills necessary for survival. Unlike most dads, he knows extraordinary forces may tear them apart. (And he’s right given the events in “Fast X”).
That’s not all.
The saga may be the most ethnically diverse franchise in film history. The “Fast” gang features Diesel, whose lineage he’s described as “ambiguous,” black stars (Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), a Dominican/Puerto Rican actress (Michelle Rodriguez), an Asian driver introduced in the “Tokyo Drift” sequel (Sung Kang) along with a Samoan/Black frenemy (Dwayne Johnson) and the saga’s Dominican/British tech guru (Nathalie Emmanuel).
It’s a marriage made in Identity Politics heaven, and it’s hardly new to the saga.
The 2001 film that started the saga, “The Fast and the Furious,” similarly featured a robust cast set amidst the world of California’s underground street racing realm. That diverse backdrop remains a critical part of the series, showcasing how many of the key players grew up and learned about life … and driving, of course.
The third film, “Tokyo Drift,” is set in Japan.
So you’d expect every new “Fast” installment to lecture audiences on race, diversity, inclusion and the granddaddy of woke talking points – “systemic racism.” And you’d be dead wrong.
Race rarely, if ever, comes up in the long-running series. One of the heroes might crack wise about skin color, but it’s always playful and never approximating the kind of woke thinking that dominates too many stories these days.
The various “Fast” players joined the family through hard work, innovation and hustle. Each brings a unique skill set to the franchise, making them valuable in their own right.
No diversity hires here.
Gibson’s Roman Pearce spends much of “Fast X” leaning into his personal dream, becoming a leader of his own “Furious”-style squad. It’s not easy, he learns the hard way, but his family is there to pick him up and show why, even when he fails, his leadership skills are blossoming.
Results, not representation, matter.
The “Fast” saga, with his extreme violence, mayhem and antihero exploits, hardly screams “faith-based” storytelling. You won’t see Kirk Cameron joining the saga anytime soon.
Key characters still turn to their faith throughout the series, though, saying grace before meals and embracing Christianity’s redemptive power.
“Fast X” features a small but pivotal subplot involving a cross necklace shared by several family members throughout the series. Its appearance matters, both as a symbol of Toretto love and commitment and as a spiritual item with a significance far greater than this mortal coil.
Dom and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) get married in the seventh film in the series, the ceremony bearing all the hallmarks of a Catholic service.
Christianity’s redemptive nature remain critical to the saga’s success. Dom didn’t start out saving the day in film after film. He was a thug, butting heads with the late Paul Walker’s undercover cop character in the first installment. Dom didn’t become a hero overnight, drifting to the right side of the law over several films.
Dom is seen as the most spiritual character and some would argue a Christ-like figure, but Roman ends “Fast & Furious 6,” film with a prayer.
Father, thank you for the gathering of friends.
Father, We give thanks for all the choices we made because that’s what makes us who we are.
Let us forever cherish the loved ones we lost along the way.
Thank you for the little angel, the newest addition to our family.
Thank you for bringing Letty home.
And most of all, thank you for fast cars.
You won’t hear that in any Marvel or DC Comics franchise film.
There’s no doubt fans line up to see every new “Fast & Furious” film for the jaw-dropping stunts and death-defying heroism. The saga’s focus on faith, family and merit still matters, and remains a key reason the saga will live on for an eleventh installment … and maybe more.
Christian Toto is an award-winning journalist, movie critic and editor of HollywoodInToto.com. He previously served as associate editor with Breitbart News’ Big Hollywood. Follow him at @HollywoodInToto.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.