Versus: The Fast And The Furious VS Gone In 60 Seconds


Hello and welcome to the resurrection of what I done once before way back in 2014 called Versus. A simple concept that has done via numerous other publications and film related YouTube channels that look at twin films (two films with the same, or really similar, plot that were released around the same time) and discuss just which was the best one. I tried this previously upon the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past and pit it against, what I believed at the time, was the best X-Men film in X-2: X-Men United.

 

For the return of Versus, I’ve decided to start by going back to the early 2000’s, where within a year the petrolhead club got two cinematic films to enjoy in The Fast and The Furious (cinematic release: 14th September 2001) and Gone In Sixty Seconds (cinematic release: 4th August 2000). With both films serving as remakes (The Fast and The Furious served as a Point Break remake, substituting surfing with street racing, while Gone In Sixty Seconds was a remake of H. B. Halicki’s 1974 film of the same name), they both done well at the global box office, with The Fast and The Furious earning $207.2m worldwide, and Gone In Sixty Seconds earning $237.2m, with their respective budgets of $38m and $90m.

 

While both films weren’t exactly critical darlings (The Fast and The Furious: 53%, Gone In Sixty Seconds: 25% via RT), they were a hit with audiences (The Fast and The Furious: 74%, Gone In Sixty Seconds: 77% via RT), with The Fast and The Furious going on to evolve into a franchise behemoth, still running and earning almost $6BILLION overall (and counting) worldwide, while Gone In Sixty Seconds stayed within its 2000’s lane and remains a cult classic within the petrolhead community.

 

So, with one evolving into a studio franchise and the other being a one-cinematic-hit wonder, which one though happens to be the better film? Let’s get into it…

 

THE STORY

 

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

Released on the 14th September 2001, Rob Cohen’s The Fast And The Furious is set in Los Angeles, where a heist crew is hijacking/robbing trucks carrying electronic goods at night, prompting the Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI to send in LAPD officer Brian O’Conner undercover to locate the crew. With Dominic Toretto under suspicion for the robberies, Brian slowly begins to weave his way into Toretto’s circle, opening him up to the world of illegal street racing, whilst also falling in love with Dom’s sister, Mia. As tensions begin to rise between Dom’s crew and his racing rival’s (Johnny Tran) crew leading up to Race Wars, O’Conner must decide where his loyalty really lies. While it features some nice looking cars, and whenever it focuses on the illegal street racing element, The Fast and The Furious is in its element. When it comes to the overall narrative and conclusion, it’s pretty by the numbers and it’ll be a shocker for those that arrived late to the FF franchise with its spy-like escapades seeing how this all started originally and, while way more grounded, they might find it boring in comparison to what came after.

 

GONE IN 60 SECONDS

Released on the 4th August 2000, Dominic Sena’s Gone In 60 Seconds focuses on Randall ‘Memphis’ Raines, a former car thief who went straight years ago, being pulled back into that life as his younger brother Kip botches a deal to steal fifty high-end cars for British gangster Raymond Calitri. Raymond will spare Kips night….but only if Randall can bring him fifty specific cars within the next seventy-two hours. With the countdown on, Randall must bring together his old crew, work alongside his brother’s crew, and in one night pull off the perfect haul in order to save his brother’s life, when all the while the LAPD is closing in on their tail. The gauntlet is set down, we witness an old heist crew getting back together, watch the journey of a fractured relationship between brothers being rebuild and the film takes its time to build the heist up, as we watch the crew plot out just how they’re going to steal each individual car in one night without attraction any unwanted attention. While it’s pretty formulaic in its execution (it’s a late 90’s Jerry Bruckheimer Film stuck in the 2000’s decade afterall), I was still engaged in how the heist night was going to play out.

 

VOTE: GONE IN 60 SECONDS

 

THE ENSEMBLE

 

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

The Fast & The Furious was pretty much an ensemble of up-and-coming actors/actresses that would propel to stardom with this franchise. Vin Diesel was hot off the commercial success of sci-fi horror film Pitch Black when The Fast & The Furious came out, Paul Walker meanwhile was coming off two college-set films in Varsity Blues and She’s All that, Jordana Brewster was also coming hot from the late 90’s body horror film The Faculty, and Michelle Rodriguez’s was following up from her debut in Karyn Kusama’s Girlfight the year prior. Ted Levine brings gravitas whenever he’s on screen as Tanner, Brian’s handler in the undercover investigation portion of the film. While the characters have been developed better over the years, in the original there’s no real standout with the material they’re dealt with and it’s handled in such a serious manner compared to the tongue-firmly-in-cheek sequels post-Fast Five that it’s void of charisma.

 

GONE IN 60 SECONDS

While The Fast and The Furious had up-and-coming ensemble on the cusp of stardom, Gone In 60 Seconds arrived onto the scene with goddamn star power in its ensemble. Leading the charge was Nicolas Cage, who collaborated with Bruckheimer previously on Con Air and The Rock in the late 90’s, as Randall ‘Memphis’ Raines, with Angelina Jolie also in the fold as Sara ‘Sway’ Wayland, a member of the old crew and previously had a relationship with Raines. The rest of the ensemble is a whose who of character actors, from Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Duvall, Delroy Lindo, Will Patton, Franches Fisher, Chi McBride, Timothy Olyphant, Vinnie Jones, Scott Caan, James Duval and I’m only halfway through giving you the ensemble that’s on board here. Does this mean the film is sort of bloated with characters? Absolutely! The difference with this ensemble however is that it feels like the cast is having a blast as the film doesn’t take itself too seriously and knows exactly what it is.

 

VOTE: GONE IN 60 SECONDS

 

THE STUNTS

 

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

Undoubtedly one of The Fast and The Furious’s key strengths is with its stunt crew and the sequences they pull off here, from the street races to the truck hijackings. Mainly the pivotal sequence, which is an attempted hijacking gone wrong, is the most exciting part of the film, with Vince caught in the line of the grappling hook, Letty making an under-the-truck manoeuvre to get from one side of the road to the other in order to help out. A car gets wrecked, bodies jump from one vehicle to another, and every teen wants to get a Honda Civic. Of course many will also point out the crash sequence in the finale of the film as another memorable stunt moment, as well as a car exploding via NOS.  The stunt work is one part of the film that people who don’t like The Fast and The Furious can’t argue with you about.

 

GONE IN 60 SECONDS

Bar the initial car being stolen and the overnight heist in the films final act, leading to the police chasing Raines in Eleanor, the stuntwork is pretty low-key in comparison to The Fast and The Furious. Granted, The Fast and The Furious mostly done their races without traffic being involved, whereas here in Gone In Sixty Seconds, Raines is really using Los Angeles traffic to his advantage in order to get the police off his tail. At least with that, it helps that for the majority of it (with the exception of high-speed activation in the L.A river and the infamous jump over traffic on the Vincent Thomas Bridge) Nicolas Cage done his own stunts, so we’re immersed in the police-Raines pursuit across L.A. While it uses alot of quick edits, close-shots during these sequences, it at least lets you see some of the Shelby Mustang GT500 in action, but it cannot be forgiven for the horribly dated CGI usage of the car jump in the climax of that chase. I get the reason why they opted with that, considering they wrecked two Mustangs in trying to get the right execution to edit the shots together, but it’s still awful on rewatch.

 

VOTE: THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 

 

THE HERO

 

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

Brian Earl Spilner aka Brian O’Conner is a simple fellow. All he’s here for is to crack the case and get the girl, even if it means having to spend everyday ordering the tuna sandwich (no crust). It’s hard to tell how much time has past in the film, as Brian seems to fall head over heels in love with Mia in a very short space of time, so much so that he admits to her about being an undercover cop (classic rope-a-dope lovers conflict ensues). I’m not saying that it fails due to Paul Walker’s performance, it’s just eventually Brian O’Conner was more fleshed out in the sequels and here, in the first film, on paper and on the screen, the character feels one-dimensional and I can’t buy into him being conflicted in taking down Toretto or losing the badge.

 

GONE IN 60 SECONDS

Randall ‘Memphis’ Raines, a retired car thief pulled back into the game because an axe hangs over his brothers head for botching a job he was paid to do for a crime boss. Reluctantly Memphis has to get back into the groove however as when he tries to buy his brothers life, he’s granted the condition that Kip will be spared…if he steals the fifty cars for Calitri. He must do this all the while trying to avoid Detective Castlebeck and his partner Drycoff, as well as avoid being caught by a gangster he wronged in his past. Raines may have been a thief, but he’s a sympathetic hero to root for as he attempts to save his brothers life and when you learn why he went straight, how could you not hope that he pulls the heist off in time? Nicolas Cage was coming off his action blockbuster trilogy (Face/Off, Con Air and The Rock), working with Brian De Palma and Martin Scorsese (Snake Eyes/Bringing Out The Dead), so yes of course he’s charismatic and eccentric in all the ways you’d expect from Nicolas Cage and a character journey worth following because of it.

 

VOTE: GONE IN 60 SECONDS

 

THE VILLAIN

 

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

Johnny Tran (portrayed by Rick Yune) initially comes off as an entitled rich dick that puffs out his chest against Toretto and company, but as the film progresses we see his more aggressive streak in a warehouse scene where he’s interrogating a man that was supposed to sell him engines for his crews cars, proceeding to fill his mouth with engine oil in order to get the answers he wants. Then of course in the films final act, Tran takes that level of aggressiveness to murder in a drive-by shooting outside Dom’s house. While Tran does this these things, he’s pretty much overshadowed as being the main villain due to the fact that Dom’s crew is behind the truck hijackings, and the way he’s disposed of is to make way for a Brian/Dom showdown is just anti-climatic.

 

GONE IN 60 SECONDS

Raymond Calitri (portrayed by Christopher Eccleston) is the films main antagonist, a British gangster that has taken over organised crime in Long Beach, with his base of operations being at a salvage yard…who also happens to have a passion for woodworking, and for good measure in his profession, often build coffins. Laying out on paper the quick character bio for Eccelston to work with here, there’s definitely potential, particularly in how menacing you can make that character feel on screen. I mean come on, a crime boss who likes to build bloody coffins, how could that not strike menace to the heart of his foes! The problem however is that Raymond Calitri is not in the one bit menacing. Infact, he’s an awful character. Particularly when we get to the inevitable hero/villain showdown, in one moment Raines uses a piece of wood, breaks it, and Calitri gets more enraged by such an act of spite. As terrible as the character is as a villain, he does get a tremendous death scene, falling several stories and landing (well, half of him anways) into one of his built coffins below.

 

VOTE: THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

 

THE WINNER

GONE IN 60 SECONDS

 The Fast and The Furious may have spawned a global phenomenon, but Memphis and Eleanor just jumps over Dom’s Dodge Charger 1970 at the end of the quarter mile. 

 

Which is your Favourite between The Fast & The Furious and Gone In 60 Seconds? What films would you like to see going against each other in Versus? Comment below! 

 

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