There's a scene in Furious 7 that totally exemplifies the series' creation of mythology. At one point, Vin Diesel is hanging out with Kurt Russell, and Kurt Russell starts talking about how great Belgian beer is. It's euphoric to him and brings about enough personal ecstasy that he keeps a bunch of it in his military base, out in front of soldiers who are just trying to get some goddamn work done. I imagine that they keep busy solely so that Kurt won't bother them with another speech about his favorite alcohol.
After he's done expounding on the glory of his beer of choice, he offers some to Vin, who refuses his offer, because he's a Corona man. Kurt, having used a chess player mentality to remain a few steps ahead, brings out an iced bucket of Coronas with a Corona logo on it. He offers one to Vin, who accepts this with glee. It couldn't be more glaring product placement if Vin launched into song about how great Corona is, but how you also shouldn't drink and drive. I'm Vin Diesel, and I drink Corona. Please drink more Corona.
But it's also a callback to the multiple times that Vin and company have drunk Corona in the series. And it's funny to people who weren't aware of that, because of course Vin Diesel would listen to Kurt's detailed monologue about European booze, only to tell him that his heart yearns for bottles that he'll inevitably drop on a beach somewhere. That is world-building and history when it comes to the Fast And The Furious franchise, and it works. There are a lot of callbacks to earlier films, especially in the sixth and seventh movies, and they're usually, "Hey, remember when we did [insert ridiculous vehicle-themed stunt here]?" But you never have to rely on knowing about things that have happened prior to the current movie in order to enjoy it.
This scene explains the entire series!
I started with Fast Five, having already constructed a hilariously stupid vendetta against the whole series, and I never had a problem keeping up with it. I attribute this success to a system called "Paying Attention To The Fucking Movie."
It pays off to be a fan of these movies in the same way that it pays to know the history of the Marvel characters. While every movie can stand alone pretty easily, you get a different kind of satisfaction by being a Fast And The Furious nerd and knowing exactly what they're referring to when they talk about the time they went to a certain beautiful city and rampaged through its streets. And if you've never seen one, you're able to learn that stuff has happened before, but digging what you're viewing now is not specifically reliant on further knowledge. You can appreciate it on multiple levels, and no level is superior.
"Fast And The Furious nerd." This is truly a wonderful world.
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For more from Daniel, check out 5 Famous Movies With Insane 'What If' Scenarios and 6 Classic Horror Films You See Differently in a New Audience .
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