Fast and Furious - Thoughts After Viewing From An Inside Perspective


I’ve had a long history with the development of Fast and Furious (FF4). I just got a chance to see the movie on Friday night for the first time in its entirety. Being behind the scenes for the filming gave me a lot of perspective on what I thought the movie might look like or how it might progress. Of course most of my assumptions I thought of ended up being false. I think that is perhaps always the case with movies if you’re on the inside; The end result is a bit of a mystery that gets worked out in the editing room after everyone else packs their bags and moves on. You can really only hope for the best and then let it go.
Regardless of what I thought would or would not happen, the movie is a huge hit and I’m very glad! The F&F franchise needed a hit to keep it going and this movie delivered huge box office numbers. That is what was needed to keep the franchise moving forward and I’m excited about part 5!
I received a lot of emails from friends, fans and car enthusiasts asking me what happened to the Bulletproof S2000s that the studio had me build. The response is the basis of this post and I’ll keep it short since I’m short on time.
There were some great cars filmed for the movie that much to my surprise never saw any screen time at all.
Most notably would be the Mines R35 GT-R which the studio had for quite a long time and used in (what I thought was) an important part of the film. I think not just the audience, but the movie car department of the movie and Mines themselves were dissapointed that such a high profile car was not utilized at all despite lots of filming and expense.
Also I noticed that Taro’s Vertex kitted 350Z (from ZigZag Asia) was there for the filming and never got any screen time. That was a shame because the car was very clean (expect nothing less from those guys).
Lastly are the cars I was involved with. Sure, I knew the gold S2000 would be a wildcard because of editing. The gold car was in an important scene, so it remained in the movie but the scene was edited down so much that I watched my hood flexing under the guy’s head more than I saw the car. In fact I didnt really see the car at all, just the hood getting abused after the slam. The movie industry is crazy when you think about how much work is done in advance for such a little amount of usable film. They had me pull the engine out of the car to do that scene since they were supposed to drop my engine on the guy’s head. They ended up not using anything of my car and in the end it could have been any hood that the guy was thrown on. Oh well…
Next up is the more surprising thing on my end. The movie studio went as far as changing out one of the opening scene cars to have me build them two identical S2000s for a race scene (you need two or more cars for any major film car that gets driven - in case of a break down). There was supposed to be a 2-3 minute opening scene of the movie that featured a few cars. They filmed that scene for I believe 1-2 solid weeks and it involved a drug run across the border and ended up in Letty’s death to set up the movie. When they removed the entire opening scene it was not only a surprise to me, but also to other insiders in the movie who spent a ridiculous amount of time and money to make that scene. In the end the entire scene was trimmed down to about 3 seconds of flash back material in which I think I might have caught a split second glimpse of the red S2000 I put together for the film (I’ll have to pause it once I get it on DVD).
In Hollywood there are no guarantees so I’m not upset. I’d be lying if I didnt say that I was surprised…I spent a solid 1-2 months on the movie for what amounted to at most 1 second of screen time. But ultimately that is how it works with big budget films. I cant be mad about it because the studio did what I and everyone expected them to do…to make a movie that is popular and sells LOADS of tickets. I highly doubt 99.9% of the viewing audience cares at all that the Mines GT-R, that Vertex Z or my S2000s were not in the film. They didnt make this movie for me and probably not for any of us reading this blog, just like they didnt make Bow Wow’s Hulk car for Tsuchiya and our friends in Japan with Tokyo Drift. Its ok, its the movie biz and in the end it makes crazy stupid amounts of money for those lucky few who have the juice.
So on my end, it was a lot of build up for really no reward…but I’m comfortable with at the least gaining a better understanding of the process and knowing that I’m not alone…I mean Mines gave them their demo car for something like 5 months and got absolutely zero screen time…so who am I to be upset.
As usual I remain persistent and I hope that the third time is a charm for me (I did a little work in FF3 with no results, did a lot more in FF4 with almost no result, and FF5…we’ll see…) That’s not counting the bit of film time I got in FF1 since that was so long ago.
Here’s two shots of the S2000s produced for the opening scene of the movie (which I hope will at least be on the DVD)
Bulletproof Automotive S2000 Fast and Furious Opening Scene - Deleted
Bulletproof Automotive S2000 Fast and Furious Opening Scene - Deleted
Bulletproof Automotive S2000 Opening Scene Fast and Furious
Bulletproof Automotive S2000 Opening Scene Fast and Furious
It should be noted how fast these cars changed under the varying conditions of the studio. It started with me having  full creative control in which I prepared a quick concept of the car (the GT3 green S2000 with flat black TE37s with the green stripe). Then mid way through the studio required the car to be a candy red. In response to the candy red show car color I decided to go crazy and do 24K gold RE30 Volks in 19×11 size with stretched tires. I figured if they want bling, I’ll give them bling!  Then 12 hours before filming they (without my knowing) took the RE30s off and put on Koenig wheels, took off the craftsquare carbon mirrors and put on APR mirrors, spray painted the leather seats, discarded the clear corner lenses for the headlights, slapped in some orange side markers and sent the car to filming. Since I’m not a fan of Koenig, and APR I’ll not be posting any pictures of the car in the final movie spec. Perhaps the DVD will show that.
Most funny part of filming: The S2000 is a drug transport car in the movie and is filmed both racing and sitting still during a drug deal. It wasn’t until on the set that they started trying to figure out how to fit a massive case of drugs into the S2000. They started “trying” to open up the rear hatch (which if you have this hardtop you know is not possible by simply trying to lift it open) and looking for places to store a massive case of heroin. In the end, the S2000 is not a great drug transport car if you’re moving weight like that…so we ended up pulling the passenger seat out to put the case in. I found that to be a really amusing moment.