THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001)— Roger Corman, eat your heart out.

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This week The Cultists Present Rob Cohen's The Fast and the Furious (2001). This unassuming summer flick, filmed on a shockingly modest budget of only 40 million in the early days of 2001, was never supposed to be anything other than a one-off— a “lifestyle movie” examining the intimate network of the LA Street Racing scene with a bit of petty larceny thrown in. With a title borrowed from Roger Corman to evoke the heyday of 1950s teen drive in exploitation, and packed with homage action recreations of 1930s Westerns, no one anticipated that such an effort would grow into one of the longest and highest grossing international franchises in history, turning from a love letter of the local quarter mile into Mission Impossible with high luxury imports. Where the Fast series will go is fun, but really stopping to appreciate its origins is better. The Cultists do just that, examining where it all began and how this first film, if one slows down enough to really appreciate the scenic details, is an unexpectedly unique and earnest gem of incredible technical skill.

Deep dives include: how this got made; breakdown of the digital effects, editing; camera work and composites; those real-life street racing extras; the “borrowed” action homages (from Stagecoach to Bullet); filming locations and the home base allure of Echo Park; That House that confusingly has nothing to do with Eddie Fisher or Elizabeth Taylor; and the history and uses of the lifeblood that is NOS.

Episode Safeword: “slow”

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