4 Insane Fast And The Furious Stunts That Weren't CGI
The newest installment of the Fast And/Or Furious franchise raked in a fist-pumping $500 million in its first week. While studio execs will no doubt attribute this to international marketing and appeal to diverse audiences, it probably doesn't hurt that the film features a $3 million car casually driving between two Abu Dhabi skyscrapers.
But perhaps the most unsung secret to the franchise's success is how surprisingly traditional these films are when it comes to real-world stunts, as evidenced by the following explosionautoporn moments.
Furious 7 Dropped A Bus Off A Cliff, Cars Out Of A Plane
Although zipping between two absurd pillars of wealth isn't exactly possible without CGI, the above-mentioned skyscraper scene did involve plowing a real car through a 40-foot-high, steel and glass sound stage set. But that's not even close to this scene from the newest film. In order to create the illusion of sports cars falling out of an airplane, they, uh, threw sports cars out of an airplane.
Fuck yep. After months of planning, scouting a drop site, and multiple tests, the stunt crew managed to poop cars from 12,000 feet out a C-130 for six takes ... something the stunt coordinator claimed worked 70 percent of the time.
"The 30 percent that didn't caused 100 percent pants-shitting for those below."
Though they had compact military parachutes designed to deploy at 5,000 feet, the vehicles would often fall apart midair and flail so wildly off course that they would turn up a mile away. The only way this production could get any more impressively dangerous is if we learned they also did that crazy bus jump for real.
That bus was the nephew of the one from Speed.
Only, wait -- they actually did. To create this "effect," they literally just attached a bus to the side of a 160-foot quarry drop, plopped a stuntman on the side of it (wearing a safety harness), and had him run and jump the fuck off while they pushed the tub of steel straight to hell. All of which was coordinated with a second stuntperson swerving a car dangerously close to the quarry, the only unseen detail being a 35-inch cable tether keeping the action from skidding into oblivion. The whole thing was so crazy expensive to do that the producers almost backed out at the last minute in favor of CGI. Luckily, even the most cold-hearted of studio executives knows there's no point in having millions of dollars if you don't use it to hurtle metal and rubber over the side of a rock formation.
Fast & Furious Strapped Michelle Rodriguez To A Tanker Truck
The fourth film opens with the all-too-common crime of perilous mountainside gas theft -- the gang taking on a "land train" made up of multiple semi-trucks filled with flammable liquid gold.
"This was based on our actual pre-production work. Gotta cut budget somehow."
It goes like this: Vin Diesel blasts his muscle-guy car up to the back of the tankers, allowing Michelle Rodriguez one more chance to be killed off by climbing aboard and cutting each tanker loose as souped-up Chevys drive recklessly in reverse to attach themselves to each tanker -- a stunt that obviously required every element to be done for real. From the modified towing trucks ...
... to the tankers themselves, which were each individually driven by secret drivers ...
"Don't be ridiculous ... there wouldn't be enough meat left for a stew."
If we had to pick a "least insane stunt" on this list, we guess it would be this. Mind you, this isn't meant to belittle this scene. It's just that the next entry involves an actual goddamn tank.
Fast & Furious 6 Drove An Actual Goddamn Tank
When a script calls for a tank to monster-truck down a populated highway, the safest bet is to turn it over to a CGI company and have a snack. And while that might be the saner option, it lacks the obvious benefit of watching a real fucking tank demolish cars like they were tissue boxes.
Waluigi? Is that you?
There's no scientific way a human body cannot be aroused while watching that. In order to accomplish this sensational steel-on-steel violence, the crew took their carnage to the Canary Islands -- only to be welcomed with open arms by a government willing to wreck their brand-new highways for a Vin Diesel nod. From there they modified an actual Chieftain battle tank to reach speeds of 60 mph, stuck a driver in there, and then ...
A Los Angeles commuter's wet dream.
Movie magic! But it wasn't enough to give Death the pressed ham with highway explosions and tank jumps. They had to stick the actual Tyrese Gibson in the mix like a terrified hood ornament.
His only protection being his giant forehead.
And yet -- we'd be lying if we called this tank the most creative way this particular movie chose to break cars.
That there is the Flip Car, a custom-built, 500-horsepower vehicle designed to be fired head-on into opposing traffic. The idea came from director and destruction-savant Justin Lin wondering what it would be like to have a drivable death ramp, a question swiftly answered with the coolest goddamn traffic evasion method since the motorcycle.
Fast Five Threw People Off A Canyon And Dragged A Safe Around
If it's not already evident, the Fast & Furious franchise has long established itself as the production equivalent of a 5-year-old playing with Matchbox cars. So when two people need to jump a Corvette from a cliff, you bet your stupid ass they are just gonna throw a couple of paid strongmen off the side of a canyon:
2 Butch 2 Sundance
In fairness to safety, they didn't drop the car with the stuntmen, but rather did a second pass where they later destroyed the vehicle using a giant Hot Wheels launcher.
"It took all our willpower not to write a Super Loop into the scene."
Seriously, it's really difficult to see these films as anything but childhood mind ravings. For an earlier scene involving a vault heist, they went with the equally straightforward solution of chaining vault-sized replicas to the backs of cars and just dragging that shit like Napoleon Dynamite's action figure.
The crew spent four weeks preparing the shoot, building seven different vaults designed for individual stunt purposes -- including one that you could drive like a car that weighed four tons. The stunt driver was required to wear a temperature-controlled suit to combat the 100-degree climate that comes with living inside a metal box.
"It smells like Optimus Prime's taint."