Man it seems like Walmart has been bangin’ out their exclusive series lately…which I guess is a good thing because it seems like Hot Wheels is waiting forever between waves. One of the more recent things I’ve seen is this new-ish Fast and the Furious series. Walmart has released other F&F collections in the past, but I don’t know enough about them to how similar or different they are.
All in all we’re in a prime period for F&F with The Fate of the Furious due out sometime this month. Jada has all sorts of F&F cars on the shelves, and not just from the new F8 but all (most?) previous movies as well. I actually have some F&F stuff in my collection…lots of the 1:55 scale Jada cars that were on shelves just prior to <F8 merchandise, a 1:32 Lykan Hypersport (Jada), a 1:24 Lykan Hypersport (Jada), and a couple of other 1:32’s – I think one is Brian’s Skyline and I know the other is the GT that Mia jacked at the beginning of Fast 5. I also have some of the newer stuff too…another Ford GT, the flip car from Fast and Furious 6, and this new military-looking vehicle from F8. One of my absolute favorites is a 1:32 scale pink Honda S2000 that Suki drove in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Anyway, I’ll get a shot of these all together someday, but for now let’s stick to the set in question.
Alright, so we have 8 cars in general, taken from various films throughout throughout the franchise, excluding the upcoming film. Weird right? Seems like a perfect fit – 8 films and 8 cars – but oddly enough, we don’t even get a car from all of the preceding 7 films. Missing are representations from Tokyo Drift (film #3) and Fast and Furious (film #4) (or is it…?). I mean I can’t totally disagree with the omissions…we never really get an it car in Tokyo Drift (and let’s not forget the glaring fact that it is by far the weakest film in the series), and the same goes with FF4; a confusing film that serves to re-establish what films 2 and 3 tore down and because of this, we just don’t have an iconic car from the installment. It’s not exactly a good movie, but it is a necessary piece that transitions us into the mostly-awesome 5th, 6th, 7th, and hopefully 8th entries.
Let’s get to the cars! I suppose they aren’t anything super special (no Dodge Charger Daytona) but they’re fair enough and should be a decent treat for true gearheads. My only complaint is that the 8 selections span an almost monochromatic range between black, gray, white, and blue. No colorful reds or greens, none of the crazy tricked out stuff we see at times, just some pretty “standard” cars. I get that they’re trying to be authentic, so I give ’em a pass.
- 1 / 8 – HONDA S2000 (2000) – The Fast and the Furious – Though not quite as sexy as Suki’s topless 2001 Honda S2000 from 2F2F, the 2000 model from the first film is memorable for its graphics and as Johnny Tran’s ride when he wasn’t preoccupied with motorcycles. This is probably one of my favorites of the set because of details like the prominent graphics and red interior.
- 2 / 8 – NISSAN SKYLINE GT-R (R34) (1999) – 2 Fast 2 Furious – This Skyline might be the most instantly recognizable car in the set, even if it was in one of the “off movies.” It was Brian’s car of choice in 2F2F until that other asshat agent guy hit it with an EMP rifle or some shit. The blue stripes give it its sleek and sporty look but some extra color wouldn’t hurt!
- 3 / 8 – ’70 PLYMOUTH ROAD RUNNER – The Fast and the Furious* – *Despite the card saying so, I don’t think this car is from the first film. I was doing some research, and although the Road Runner has popped up in a few films, it seems that this brownish one is the one that Letty crashes just before she is presumably killed in Fast and Furious. So who knows. If you have an answer, be sure to tell us! I certainly wouldn’t put it past Hot Wheels to get this kind of info wrong, especially after the abysmal errors printed on those special edition Batmobiles. (You can read about that here.)
- 4 / 8 – PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS – Fast Five – The Porsche 911 is definitely a cool looking car, and Porshes – and European cars in general – don’t get nearly enough love in FF. Anyway, the appearance is brief; it’s one of the cars Dom and Brian win from the resident street racers of Rio. Brian uses it for drifting on the mock course, but determines that it isn’t maneuverable enough to slip past the cameras.
- 5 / 8 – CORVETTE GRAND SPORT ROADSTER (1966) – Fast Five – This beautiful classic car holds a small but memorable role in the fifth installment. During the train robbery, the Corvette is one of the targets. At first Dom’s team and Reyes’ men get along, but once Mia takes off with the Ford GT40, relations sour and the two teams battle it out on the train and the truck pacing the train. Dom and Brian eventually make it into the Corvette together, riding alongside the train for a few seconds until the vehicle leaps off the edge of a cliff. It’s a great scene, mostly because Dom and Brian don’t really jump out of the car so much as they let the car fall out from underneath them.
- 6 / 8 – ’70 FORD ESCORT RS1600 – Fast & Furious 6 – This car plays one of the most pivotal roles in one of the coolest “battles” of the series…too bad it couldn’t be a cooler looking car, right? To me the ol’ Escort looks like an old timey race car…I don’t know a damn thing about cars, so it may have the coolest shit ever under the hood, it just doesn’t have that “oomph” when it comes to aesthetics. But, like I said, it serves a very important purpose and doesn’t give its life nearly as quickly or flippantly as so many other cars in the series. If you remember one thing about FF6 it’s gotta be the big battle on the bridge with Owen Shaw at the helm of a fucking tank! Hilarity ensues, the tank ends up tethered to Roman’s flattened Mustang, and Brian – after an impressive jump into oncoming traffic thanks to some rubble – rescues Roman and manages to pop the flattened Mustang up and over the edge of the bridge to act as a giant anchor, effectively ending the tank’s threat. It’s a clever if not whimsical exercise in physics that at least attempts to offer up a plausible way for this gang of racers to incapacitate a military vehicle.
- 7 / 8 – ’94 TOYOTA SUPRA – Furious 7 – Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Paul Walker, the actor who portrays Brian O’Connor, died during the filming of Furious 7, eerily enough in a car wreck (unrelated to the film). This forced writers to re-work certain aspects of F7 as well as the use of CGI and stand-ins. Vin Diesel (Dom) in particular has spoken openly and said that Walker would want the films to continue. Since his character had a small child and another on the way, the writers (rightfully) chose to send his character into “retirement” rather than killing him off. We get what is a rather touching farewell for an action movie – Dom and Brian set off for one last “race,” with their paths finally diverging, representing both Brian’s new life with his wife and kids, and Walker’s “new journey” as well. Fittingly, Brian makes his exit in a Supra (Brian’s first car) and a white one at that (symbolizing purity, cleanliness, innocence, etc.). Allegedly this car is from Walker’s personal collection, though sources differ on whether it’s a ’95 or ’98 model…and of course Hot Wheels is saying 1994. R.I.P. Paul / Brian. Your acting was both goofy and stilted at the same time, but you were definitely the emotional core of the series. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the series carrying on with Diesel and Johnson (and Statham? and Russel?) but the franchise is gonna have a hell of a time replacing Brian’s “everyman” personality. Can we please just fucking get rid of fucking Roman (Tyrese)?
- 8 / 8 – SUBARU WRX STI (2012) – Furious 7 – Here’s another hum-drum-looking car involved in an awesome action scene. FF7 had a lot of fun moments in it, particularly with the injection of Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) and Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), both of whom added a layer of scope and gravity to the story. Arguably the most memorable moment occurs early on, when the team straight up parachutes their rides onto a remote mountain road in order to intercept a hostage-carrying military unit. Brian is in the Subaru, which sustains some serious damage as the crew tries to feel out the large bus-like vehicle. He easily pushes the windshield out and leaps from the hood into the bus-thing, while the Subaru crashes off to the side.
Wow, did you notice what I noticed there? The Hot Wheels cards just tell you the name of the car and the film they appear in. It wasn’t until I started doing some research about who drove what and when that I realized 6 out of 8 of these cars were driven by Brian – seems pretty damn appropriate considering Walker’s untimely passing, so I guess I’ll be even more forgiving when it comes to the somewhat drab color choices. With The Fate of the Furious close at hand, we’re sure to see more cool stuff pop up. Even since I started writing this, I picked up both a big and small Ripsaw and a small 1956 Ford Victoria, both from F8. Not really sure how to classify these, as the packages just say “Mattel,” acknowledging neither Hot Wheels nor Matchbox. These are the ones that have essentially replaced the 1:55 scale Jadas on shelves.
That’s all for now! I’m trying to crank these out but I know I’m slow…stick around though, I’ve got upcoming stuff about Hot Wheels’ 2017 Easter collection, a slew of small Batmobiles I got in the mail to fill in some of my gaps, some interesting vintage Power Rangers stuff (been meaning to cover these for a long time now) and man, at least 2 or 3 entries worth of DC Super Hero Girls stuff! If you want me to crank out stuff quicker, throw me some encouragement!