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This Fast And Furious Knockoff Will Make You Appreciate The Original Franchise Even More

The "Fast and the Furious" franchise has been delighting audiences for more than 20 years, raking in nearly $2 billion in the United States and more than $6.6 billion worldwide (via The Numbers). Fans can't seem to get enough of Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), and Universal has complied with nine saga films and one spinoff — "Hobbs and Shaw" — to date, and two more of each on the way. "Hobbs and Shaw 2" is in the planning stages, as is a spinoff centered on Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), written by Lindsey Beer ("Sierra Burgess is a Loser") and Marvel veterans Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Nicole Perlman. 

The main saga will wrap up in two parts — with "Fast X" coming on May 19, 2023, and no date announced for the yet-unnamed 11th film — but as long as the spinoffs continue to bring in box office revenue, fans can probably count on a steady supply of them going forward. Bleary-eyed viewers looking for even more "Fast and Furious" content may inadvertently click on some titles that at first glance appear to be parts of the franchise, but would reveal themselves in just a few minutes as cheap imitations.

The Fast and the Fierce is a transparent imitation

"The Fast and the Fierce" doesn't stop its mimicry of "The Fast and the Furious" with the title. The knockoff also tries to emulate the visual style of the original blockbusters but doesn't have the budget or production acumen to pull any of it off. The CGI is comically cartoonish in most places, including a gash in the plane's fuselage that looks like it was drawn in Microsoft Paint. Additionally, the film tries to mimic the tight zooms, jump cuts, and perspective shots of the "Fast and the Furious" franchise, but the shots are sloppily composed and often chained together in a way that is disorienting. There is no consistency to the color balance from shot to shot, with skin tones going from green to purple to blue in a way that might seem intentional if it weren't so haphazard. 

The plot is minimal, yet somehow also overly complicated with numerous dead ends and bits of exposition that never pay off. A terrorist named Juliette (Dominique Swain) somehow plants an impossibly complex, remotely controlled bomb on a plane in a scheme to obtain the code for something called Genesis 7 — which we never learn anything about beyond the name. Alexis (Jannica Olin), a flight attendant, and Donna (Mimi Davila), a passenger, lead the on-board fight while Homeland Security Agent Coleman (Adrian Paul) and air traffic controller Stevie (Sophia Thomas) try and manage the crisis from the control tower.

The logic in The Fast and the Fierce stretches viewers' credulity

Even fans of the over-the-top camp of "The Fast and the Furious" will have their ability to suspend belief challenged when watching "The Fast and the Fierce." Leaps in logic are huge and plentiful, including a scene where two planes are tethered together with a rope that probably isn't strong enough to keep Vin Diesel attached to The Rock. The two giant passenger jets fly much closer than real-world physics would ever allow, and the plane carrying the bomb and most of the film's main characters later makes an impossible slalom run between city buildings.

Juliette is stabbed in the eye with a USB thumb drive containing the code that she claims, without any further explanation, is worth $100 million, and her two compatriots on board — neither of whom actually need to be on the plane to ensure their plan's success — suffer comical deaths. One masquerades as a passenger named Kurt and is sucked out an open emergency door directly into one of the plane's engines, and Alexis, who is either a real flight attendant who broke bad or a very clever impostor, is somehow killed when Donna smacks her broadside across the head with a flimsy plastic meal service tray. 

The dialogue in The Fast and the Fierce is unintentionally hilarious in places

"The Fast and the Fierce" is not intended to be a comedy but has some lines of dialogue that generate more laughter than tension. Co-pilot J.C. (none of the characters other than the pilot are graced with both a first and last name) announces to Alexis that he would "love to pin all my hopes and dreams on you, but I only got one pin left and I'm all out of dreams." The clichés by no means end there, and Agent Coleman wields simile and metaphor with the precision and sharpness of a couple of soggy pool noodles. He says the TSA has "less sense than God gave a rock," and calls fellow agent Michaels (Kyle Butenhoff) "as useful as a pogo stick in quicksand." 

Later, when a plan is devised to disable the jet-powered bomb by sending a military jet to shoot out the engine powering the device, Coleman says, "This is gonna be trickier than trying to get a mule to mate with a sheepdog." "The Fast and the Fierce" also includes perhaps the most painfully cringe-inducing flirtation in film history, between the terrorist mastermind Juliette and security guard Andy (Jeffrey Lippold), with some come-hither looks that are far more pained than passionate. 

The direction and photography were not the work of Hollywood rookies

The film's wonky visual effects are likely more a product of the film's unknown but probably relatively small budget than the talent and experience of the creative minds behind them. Cinematographer John Allerdice  got his first bit of film work in the 1978 "Star Wars" parody short "Hardware Wars" and was part of the visual effects team for masterpieces "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." He also served as the visualization supervisor for the long-awaited upcoming "Top Gun" sequel, "Top Gun: Maverick" (via IMDb).

"The Fast and the Fierce" was the final project for director Ron Thornton, who died between the film's production and release and was thanked with an in memoriam title card in the final frames. Like Allerdice, Thornton brought decades of Hollywood experience to the project, including his Emmy-winning work on the visual effects for "Babylon 5." "Star Trek" fans might also recognize Thornton's handiwork, as he contributed his know-how to three franchise series and the 2001 remake of the original 1979 film. He also served as executive producer for the "Star Trek: Starship Creator" video game (via IMDb). 

Unfortunately, neither man's talent nor experience is of much use in "The Fast and the Fierce," which lacks the production value and compelling character arcs of "The Fast and the Furious" films.

The Fast and the Fierce even inspired a sequel

"The Fast and the Fierce" franchise didn't end at one film, either. The sequel, "Fast and Fierce: Death Race," starred DMX and Paulina Nguyen in a script that tossed aside the one major difference between the two imitators and the "Fast and the Furious" franchise, taking the protagonists off an airplane and putting them in brightly hued supercars and in the middle of organized crime and street racing drama. The sequel was directed by Jared Cohn, who has dozens of credits as an actor, producer, director, and writer (via IMDb) and was apparently blessed with a larger budget than Thornton. Neither film's resemblance to giant blockbusters meant much for public opinion, however, with the original earning the lowest possible score from nearly half of IMDb reviewers and a 20% with Rotten Tomatoes audiences, and the sequel faring worse by both measures

The studio responsible for the "Fast and Fierce" movies, The Asylum, also brought us such imitative fare as "Top Gunner" (2020), "Battle Star Wars" (2020), and "Bachelor Night" (2014) after hitting the motherlode of schlock with the six "Sharknado" movies and additional mockumentary, "Sharknado: Heart of Sharkness" — in which Cohn stars as filmmaker David Moore. Fans of Hobbs, Shaw, Toretto, Ortiz, and friends who sit through "The Fast and the Fierce" and its sequel might find themselves feeling like they've been felled by a Sharknado themselves, but can hopefully take comfort in the imminent arrival of "Fast X."