Australian Council on Children and the Media

Fast and Furious

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Not suitable under 13, PG to 15 (Violence; Sexual references; Drug references; Coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Fast and Furious
  • a review of Fast and Furious completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 April 2009.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to violence, sexual references, drug references and coarse language.
Children aged 13-15 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, sexual references, drug references and coarse language.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Fast and Furious
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Violence, coarse language and sexual references
Length 100 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Fast and Furious opens with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), his girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and several co-conspirators hijacking an oil tanker in the Dominican Republic. Following the hijacking, Dom is informed that the authorities are closing in on their hijacking operation and fearing that the situation has become too dangerous for Letty, Dom decides to leave her in the middle of the night.
We next see Dom in Panama City where he receives a phone call from his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) informing him that Letty has been murdered. Dom returns to the United States to attend Letty’s funeral and avenge her murder. Also attending Letty’s funeral is Dom’s former associate FBI Agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), who is seeking a man named Campos (John Ortiz) who is part of the drug cartel responsible for Letty’s murder.
 
In an attempt to track down Campos, Brian and Dom independently enter a street race where first prize is a chance to become a drug courier driver for Campos. Dom wins the race and gains entrance to the drug cartel while Brian is left out in the cold. However, Brian arranges for one of Campos’s other drivers to be arrested on a trumped up drug charge, allowing Brian to be called in as a replacement driver. Four drivers including Dom and Brian, each carrying a boot load of heroin, speed across the Mexican desert to deliver their cargo of drugs to the US. On arrival instead of paying off the drivers, Campos attempts to murder them. Dom and Brian manage to escape and now team up to fight the criminals.  

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Street racing; organised crime; drugs

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Fast and Furious contains sequences of intense action violence depicting street brawling, gunfights, and dangerous driving and accidental harm. Examples include:      

  • The driver of a road-train shoots a hand gun several times at Dom, who is driving a car just ahead of the road-train; no bullets hit Dom. As the road-train approaches a sharp bend in the road the driver jumps from his cabin and rolls along the ground. Letty jumps from the speeding truck onto the bonnet of Dom’s car and when Dom swerves over the road, Letty nearly falls and just manages to scramble across the bonnet and climb through the car’s open window. The road-train swerves and crashes and one of the trailers explodes in flames.
  • Brian chases a man who jumps through a closed glass window, shattering the glass, and then jumps from the building’s rooftop onto the roof of a second building. Brian follows but neither man appears injured. The man runs down a street and is nearly hit by a truck, As the man attempts to climbs over a fence, Brian catches up and knocks him off the fence, sending him sprawling across table tops. Brian chases the man through a crowded market where the man and several other people are knocked to the ground. The man manages to pick up a dropped handgun and shoots at Brian but misses. The man runs into an apartment and finds his way to a rooftop where he comes to a stop. The man points his gun at Brian and Brian jumps at the man and they both fall off the roof onto a car parked in the street. Brian appears uninjured while the other man has some blood on his face and head.
  • In a flashback scene of Letty’s murder a speeding car rams into the side of her car causing it to roll several times. The car  lands on its side with Letty half falling out of the  door with blood smeared over her arms and forehead. We see a gun being pointed at Letty’s head, but do not see the person holding the gun, or hear the sound of the gun being fired.
  • Dom walks up to a man lying beneath a car, grabs the man by his feet, pulls him out and slams him down onto the bonnet. Dom releases an engine block dangling by a chain above the man’s head, causing the block to fall rapidly, stopping only inches from the man’s head. To extract information, Dom threatens to drop the engine block on the man’s head.
  • Dom kicks in the door of a man’s apartment, grabs hold of the man and slams him up against a wall. When the man refuses to provide Dom with information, Dom throws him over a couch and then pushes him through an open window. Dom dangles the man by one of his ankles several storeys above the ground. Dom lets go of the man’s foot and he grabs hold of the window ledge, dangling in mid air until rescued by Brian.
  • Brian grabs a fellow FBI agent and slams his face into a wall a couple of times, injuring his nose and forehead.
  • Several cars, including two driven by Brian and Dom, race in a dangerous and reckless manner through busy city streets. There are scenes of cars being deliberately sideswiped and run into in a number of crashes
  • A group of a dozen or so drug henchmen point their guns at Brian and Dom. One of the gunmen taunts Dom about his sister’s murder telling Dom “The last time I saw her face, it was burning.” Before Brian and Dom can be shot, a car explodes hurling several of the gunmen through the air and causing three nearby cars to also explode. A gunman fires several times at Dom, hitting him in the shoulder and leaving a bloody bullet wound with blood trickling down Dom’s back. Dom displays no reaction to being shot in the shoulder, but later we see a trail of blood left on the ground as a result of the bullet wound. Immediately following being shot, we see Dom elbowing the same gunman in the back and punching the man several times in the head.
  • In a flashback of Campos and his henchmen executing a number people with machineguns, we see the people fall to the ground but do not see any blood.  
  • Dom uses his elbow to smash a car window.
  • Dom’s sister Mia inspects a bloody bullet wound in his shoulder. She tells Dom that treating it will hurt and Dom replies, “But you will enjoy that” Mia responds “A little”.
  • When Dom learns that he has been deceived by Brian he attacks Brian, hurling him through wooden shelving and then across a room. Dom punches Brian several times in the face (we see blood on Brian’s nose) and then wrestles him to the ground. Brian locks both his legs around Dom’s neck in an attempt to strangle him. Dom picks Brian up and slams him down headfirst onto the floor. Both men appear uninjured at the end of the fight.            
  • Dozens of armed FBI agents raid a meeting between Brian, Dom and Campos. The agents fire their gun in all direction with several of Campos’s henchmen falling to the ground; no blood and gore is depicted. While attempting to escape in his car, Campos indiscriminately runs people down.
  • Dom points a shotgun at Campos’s head and Dom and Brian abduct Campos. Several cars containing men wielding machineguns chase the two cars driven by Brian and Dom. During the ensuing chase the gunmen fire their machineguns at Brian and Dom’s cars, we hear the sounds of bullets hitting the cars and there are a number of crashes.  Brian’s car crashes and rolls over several times. Brian crawls out of his wrecked car and is kicked in the head (we see blood on Brian’s shoulder). A henchman points his gun at Brian, but before he can pull the trigger, Dom bursts out of the side of the mountain in his car and rams straight into the henchman pinning him between Dom’s and Brian’s cars. We see the henchman slumped unmoving across the bonnet of Dom’s car.       

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • some of the criminals have a scary physical appearance and intimidating manner.    

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by the appearance and manner of the criminals

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Apart from the violence described above, there are no additional scenes likely to disturb children in this age group.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • High performance cars and motorbikes, Laptop computers, mobile phones, GPS car computers, iPhones, motor oil.

Sexual references

Fast and Furious contains occasional low-level sexual references. Examples include:

  • An attractive woman working for Campos asks Dom to show her identification, including his drivers licence and cell phone number. When Dom infers that he doesn’t have a cell phone, the woman tells Dom that his cell phone number is for her.    
  • When Dom tells Campos that Brian used to date his sister, Campos tells Brian “You’re lucky you’re still alive”
  • We hear Dom telling an attractive woman that he is a man who can recognise a fine body. The comment was made in reference to car body, but also implied his appreciation of attractive looking women. When the same woman asks Dom what type of woman he likes, he says, “A woman that is twenty percent angel, eighty percent devil and not afraid to get engine grease under her finger nails”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Women wear revealing clothing including low cut tops and very short and tight shorts
  • Women dance in a seductive manner at nightclubs
  • A woman wears a very tight fitting top that shows the outline of her breasts and nipples.
  • Letty and Dom kiss each other on the lips, Letty straddling Dom’s lap
  • A man videotapes three women caressing each other in a sensual manner and kissing each other on the lips. The man removes the shoe of one of the woman and sucks her toes.
  • In a nightclub we see three women kissing each other and two women caressing Dom’s torso.   
  • On a wall we see a painting of a naked woman
  • Brian and Mia kiss passionately; Mia is wearing a short dress that exposes her cleavage and thighs. While kissing Mia, Brian lifts her up onto a bench top and her dress is pulled up to reveal more of her thighs. The scene ends but infers that the two have sex. Later we see Mia walking out of the house looking flushed.

Use of substances

Fast and Furious contains several scenes depicting the consumption of alcohol and references to drug trafficking and distribution. Examples include:

  • Several FBI agents break into a man’s apartment, telling the man that he is being arrested for distributing the drug Meth. The agents place a bag containing white powder on a tabletop. 
  • People drink beer from bottles at a street race. 
  • Brian, Dom and two other drivers transport sixty million dollars worth of heroin into the US. We see the container used to transport the heroin opened and see a quick glimpse of the contents. Dom says “So that’s what sixty million dollars looks like”.

 

Coarse language

Fast and Furious contains medium level coarse language and name calling scattered throughout. Examples include:bet your arse; shit; break your arse; piss them off guys; Jesus; goddamn; pull my arse up; keep your shit in line; nut sack; idiot; pussy; get into the fucking car. 

In a nutshell

Fast and Furious, fourth instalment in this series is an action adventure targeted at adolescent males between the ages of thirteen and twenty years. 
The main messages from this movie are that:

  • the most important thing in life is to live life by a code, or set of values
  • deciding who are the good and bad people in the world is not always straightforward 

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include courage, perseverance, determination and resilience as shown by Dom.
This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as whether revenge can be justified.

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