I am going to analyse a sequence from the film The Fast and the Furious. The film was made in 2001 and was directed by Rob Cohen. The Fast and the Furious is an action thriller that shows us about the world of street racing and the rival gangs that take part in it in an effort to establish their street credibility and power. Add to the story an investigation into a hijacking ring by an undercover cop and who knows where it will lead. The cop, Brian Spindler (Paul Walker) wins the hard-earned respect of one of these street champs, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), when he proves he’s got the right stuff after a brawl with a rival gang led by Johnny Tran. But other members of Dom’s followers do not accept Brian into the fold as readily, especially the hard-nosed Vince who suspects he is not what he seems. Brian annoys Vince even more when he becomes attracted to Dom’s sister, Mia and his feelings are returned.
Meanwhile, the robberies that Brian is trying to uncover, big-rig hijackings that are as sensational as they are dangerous, continue. The young cop is under pressure to find out who is behind them before the truckers take the law into their own hands. The hatred between Dom and Johnny Tran’s groups intensifies and Brian becomes convinced that one of them is responsible for the highway hold-ups. But his situation is complicated by his feelings for Mia and the unexpected friendship that has developed between him and her brother. In a movie in which high octane action rules, a climactic hijacking, when both the truckers and Brian finally make their moves, is a high-speed nail-biter.
The sequence that I am analyzing is the point in the film at which Dom and Brian begin to get along a lot more than they have in the past and it is a start to their friendship. In the beginning of the sequence you see Dom Toretto running from a police car, and who else but Brian Spindler to come to his rescue. At this point there is a car chase as Brian and Dom try to escape the police, when they think they have got away from the police they are caught up by Johnny Tran and other members of his gang. They are told to follow them and they led back to their territory where they are talking before Johnny and his gang drive off. Just as Brian and Dom are about to leave Johnny and his cousin come back and blow up Brian’s car.
The first camera shot in the sequence is a wide shot of a street which Dom Toretto is walking down, from the shot it seems to be somewhere downtown in an American city. The use of the wide shot makes the audience think that the people may come from a poor background because the area is surrounded by what looks like abandoned warehouses. A few frames after this one Dom Toretto is seen running out of a wide shot as the police car comes after him, this then turns into a long shot when you see Dom running around the corner of a dark back street as he tries to escape the police. From these two frames it seems as though Dom knows his way around the area well so he has obviously been in this trouble before. This makes the audience think that he is regularly in trouble with the police for street racing. As Dom is running up the dark street you see the headlights of a car at the other end of the street coming up behind him, because you are unable to make out who’s car it is you automatically assume that it is going to be the police car, you then ride along with the car on a stead cam shot and as the car drives through light spots you can see that the car is in fact that of Brian Spindler.
There is a single shot from behind Brian’s car as he makes a turn through a sharp corner, this shot then cuts to a wide shot of the car coming out of the corner. These two shots make the audience think that the film is going to be at a high speed and will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way through the film. Next you see a long shot of Brian’s car with the collision between a police car and another car, which was driving down the street. This shots shows that Brian has out run the police and it makes the audience think that this guy knows what he is doing so he seems he is into the street racing lifestyle. Just when the audience thinks that they have gotten away from the police there is a point of view shot from inside the car looking ahead of them to see two more police cars coming towards them. This shot tries to bring the audience into the minds of Dom and Brian because it makes you think how are they going to get away this time. There is a rising view up a statue in the car park to an oriental place, which then moves to the right of the screen and lowers as the vehicles come into view. This shot shows the audience the type of area which they are in now and it shows a contrast to the last place which they were just in.
As the vehicles come to a stop the camera’s move into a close up on various oriental men when they remove their helmets. This shot shows that these people are some kind of gang and have something wrong with the Dom and Brian. The shot of Dom and Brian stood by their car and all the oriental people surrounding them backs up the previous statement that I just made. After the oriental people have driven off there is a two shot of Dom and Brian talking and getting back in the car, just when they think it is safe to drive off they are interrupted by the sound of the motorbikes coming closer. The pair gets out of the car and there is a mid-aerial shot so you can see the car and the motorbikes coming back, this then switches to a close up on the car as it is shot at. This angle has been used so as though you can see the damage that is being made to the car. After the car has been shot at there is a wide shot as Dom tries to jump out of the way because the car is exploding. There are a variety of angles used whilst the car is exploding, they use the wide shot with Dom in view, a close up of the front of the car and a close up of the rear of the car.
The use of the brakes when the police car is turning are enhanced sound effects, they have been amplified and also altered with to make it sound more dramatic and add more tension to the shot. As Dom is running from the police car a fast beat music starts to play in the background, again this builds the tension and makes the scene feel as though it going by a lot faster than it actually is. As the car behind Dom gets closer the sound of the engine becomes louder and is slightly amplified to give a better effect. The only time the music stops is when Dom is getting into Brian’s car but this done because this point the pace is slightly slowed down and then as soon as they begin to drive off the music starts up again at a fast pace to build the pace up again. When Brian is dodging through the two police cars the music becomes quieter but you can still hear it in the background and the sound of the engines from the cars becomes the main sound which you can hear, this sound is amplified to make you feel as though you could actually be sat in the car with Dom and Brian.
Once they have dodged through the police cars the music becomes the main background sound and as the car slows down the music also slows down to try and slow the pace of the film. A different type of music is heard in the background when the oriental people are getting off their bikes and taking off their helmets, this music is more like a drum beat. It creates tension and prepares the audience for if something bad is going to happen, this beat stops when the oriental people start to talk. Once the talking has finished and the oriental people are driving off the music starts up again and fades out when all the oriental people are out of sight. The sound of the machine guns is amplified when they are fired at the car and so is the sound of the windows smashing, once the car is actually on fire you can hear the sound of the fire crackling before you see the actually flames. The main sound that has had effects added to it is when the car actually explodes, this has been to done to add more effect to it and to make it seem more dramatic.
The editing that has been done on this scene isn’t that easy to see, but there is a cut from where Brian’s car is in the back street to seeing it on the main street making the sharp turn around the corner. Also there is a cut been used from the car dodging the first police to it coming out of dodging the second car. When the car is blowing up at the end of the sequence there are various cuts used so as though the audience can see the explosion from all different angles.
The only main special effect is when the car is blown up at the end of the sequence, they have added extra flames and sound to make the explosion seem more dramatic. Although there hasn’t been that many special effects used there were a lot of stunts in the sequence, most of these stunts were when Brian was driving his car and turning corners at top speed or dodging between cars. These extra stunts have been used because if they just had the car turning the corner like normal then it would slow down the pace and it wouldn’t be as exciting. The other stunt that stands out is when the car jumps as it is going over the small hill in the road. The car would have to be going at a high speed for it to jump that high off the ground.
There are three different locations for the sequence, the first is the empty downtown streets when Brian and Dom are escaping the police, the second is the main highway which they travel down as they are talking between them and are caught by the rival gang and the third is the china town area where the oriental rival gang takes them too. The first and third locations seem as though they are the home territory for the two rival gangs, with Dom’s gang living downtown and the oriental people all live near the china town area. The clothes, which the two different gangs wear, vary because all the oriental people are wearing black pants with tight tops and leather jackets, this makes them seem as though they like to keep to themselves. Where as Dom is wearing black cargo pants, a black vest top and a brown leather jacket and Brian is wearing a plain navy t-shirt and black pants. These two seem as though they like to be wearing the latest street fashions.