Why Fast & Furious is the best film franchise of all time | Arwa Mahdawi

I can’t wait to see Hobbs & Shaw – with its diverse cast and focus on loyalty, the car-racing series encapsulates the best of the US

If you need some cheering up, I have two words and an ampersand for you: Hobbs & Shaw. As in, the box-office hit starring Idris Elba and two bald blokes with big biceps.

I haven’t actually seen the movie yet as, to paraphrase Withnail & I, I have gone on holiday by mistake and I am somewhere disorientingly rural. However, as it is a spin-off of Fast & Furious, my favourite film franchise, I know it will be brilliant and I am Excited & Impatient to see it. Sorry if I sound like a teenage boy; these films have a way of bringing out my inner adolescent.

People sometimes find my passion for Fast & Furious difficult to understand. My oversized enthusiasm for the films even contributed to the breakdown of a relationship: I had a massive fight with an ex after watching Furious 7 because she claimed I showed more emotion during the two-hour movie than I had during our two years together. But here is the thing about Fast & Furious that I tried to explain to her: the franchise isn’t mindless drivel; it is a camp shot of pure joy. And God knows we need that now.

I am obviously not the only F&F enthusiast out there: the franchise has been going for 18 years and taken £4.5bn. It is the same age as another American institution: the war in Afghanistan. While the latter represent everything that is wrong with the US, the former encapsulates the best parts of the country. For one, it has always had a diverse cast; not because it is point-scoring or making a point, but because that is what the US is like. And while the films may be full of car-racing criminals, its core message is that nothing is more important than family values. Not heteronormative family values, but staying loyal to the family you choose. Excuse me for a second, will you? I think I am getting emotional here.

•Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist


Arwa Mahdawi

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Does watching Fast and Furious turn drivers into speed merchants?
A survey has observed a spike in the average speeds of those who had just seen one of the franchise’s films. But it might be best to cover the brakes before leaping to any hasty conclusions

James Ball

06, Feb, 2018 @4:03 PM

Article image
Did Fast & Furious star The Rock just hand Vin Diesel his candy ass?
Relations hit the skids as the latest instalment of the movie franchise wrapped

Marina Hyde

11, Aug, 2016 @3:18 PM

Article image
Fast & Furious 6 – review
Silly but enjoyable, this sixth instalment of the franchise surprisingly still has fuel in the tank, writes Peter Bradshaw

Peter Bradshaw

16, May, 2013 @8:46 PM

Article image
The Fast and the Furious: the franchise speeds on
They’re loud, dumb, predictable, hated by critics – and staggeringly successful. Stuart Heritage explains why the wheels have yet to come off the Fast and the Furious series

Stuart Heritage

14, Apr, 2011 @9:45 PM

Article image
Film review: Fast & Furious
It’s the fourth lap of the Hollywood action franchise and the car chases have all blurred into one

Xan Brooks

09, Apr, 2009 @11:01 PM

Article image
Fast & Furious 7 becomes fifth biggest film of all time
Vin Diesel’s action sequel races to $1.3bn globally while Avengers: Age of Ultron has scored a $201m worldwide opening

Benjamin Lee

27, Apr, 2015 @8:08 AM

Article image
The flounce and the furious: is car-sharing over for The Rock?
An Instagram post from The Rock sent Fast and Furious co-star Tyrese Gibson into a flat spin

Marina Hyde

14, Sep, 2017 @5:25 PM

Article image
‘My brain has liquefied!’: what happened when one careful Skoda driver binged every Fast & Furious film
Eight films. Twenty-four hours. One nervous breakdown. Ahead of the latest instalment, one writer caught up on the pec-drenched petrolhead franchise

Tim Jonze

11, Jun, 2021 @5:00 AM

Film review: Fast & Furious
It’s the kind of movie kids once watched in drive-in cinemas, with their arms round girls and pretending to be the film’s heroes, says Philip French

Philip French

11, Apr, 2009 @11:01 PM

Article image
Vroom or bust: is Fast & Furious the ultimate franchise of our times?
A focus on family, diversity and big dumb stunts has turned this slow-starting caper into a 10-film, two decade-spanning speed racer

Steve Rose

19, Jun, 2021 @6:00 AM