The INSIDER Summary:
- “The Fate of the Furious” is in theaters April 14.
- It’s the eighth film in the “Fast and Furious” franchise.
- The original 2001 movie was inspired by a 1998 Vibe article called “Racer X.”
- The story is about Dominican street racer, Rafael Estevez, who could give Dom a run for his money.
The eighth film in the “Fast and Furious” franchise is in theaters April 14.
Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, The Rock, and Tyrese are just a few members of the cast returning for “The Fate of the Furious” in which Dom (Diesel) surprisingly turns his back on family to work with a mysterious newcomer played by Charlize Theron.
This time, the crew will hit the mean streets of New York, and it’s about time. What you may not realize about the globe-spanning, physics-defying films is that at the heart of the franchise, which started in 2001 with “The Fast and the Furious,” lies a real-life story about street racing in New York City.
The movies, which have earned over $3.8 billion globally, were inspired by an article from Ken Li in the May 1998 issue of Vibe.
“Racer X” tells the story of Dominican street racer Rafael Estevez from Washington Heights and how he transitioned into the sport of drag racing.
The article also divulges on the popularity of Japanese import car customization and the operations in place to crack down on New York City street racing.
“Racer X” was a featurette available on a “Fast and the Furious” disc release that came out in 2002. In the feature, director Rob Cohen reveals he was inspired to make the film after hearing about the article and subsequently watching a race in Los Angeles.
2001’s “The Fast and the Furious” followed an LAPD officer (Paul Walker) who went undercover into the world of illegal street racing to join the ranks with a well-established racer (Vin Diesel) and find the culprit at the center of an elaborate ongoing heist.
The film, produced on an estimated $38 million budget, went on to make $207.3 million worldwide.
Watching the film now, it’s easy to see the article’s influence in the movie.
Here are excerpts from “Racer X”:
A black Nissan 300ZX and a white Mitsubishi Starion pull out of the pack and creep up to the starting line. As the sun dances on the nearby river, the sound of honking horns and screaming drivers is drowned out by the sonic blast of the two engines revving for takeoff. A stocky Latino dude in a blinding yellow shirt stands in the middle of the highway and raises his hands. Both cars lurch and halt like chained pit bulls, their wheels spitting out black smoke. The hands drop.
Young men have been fascinated with tweaking and tuning big block Chevys and Mustangs since the days of Rebel Without a Cause. But the new guys wouldn’t be caught dead driving the gaudy muscular beasts of yesteryear. Instead, they’re tricking out low-buck Japanese imports like Honda Civics and Acura Integras and tattooing them like skateboards with Neuspeed and Greddy car parts stickers. By stroking the engine, adding a supercharger, and hitting the “juice” (nitrous oxide: a gaseous liquid once used to boost bomber planes in WWII), they can smoke the herb in the Iroc at the stoplight.
It sounds like a scene straight out of the start of any of the “Fast and Furious” films which always kick off with a race.
Read the full piece at Vibe here.
“The Fate of the Furious” will be in theaters April 14.
Relive the trailer for the original film below. It definitely has a much different feel from the past few installments, which are centered more around family and fast cars doing insane stunts and less about the underground world of street racing.
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