Say what you will about the plot, dialogue, and acting in the seven-film Fast & Furious franchise, but the series has only ever promised two things: high-speed thrills and angry violence. If you’ve seen even a few minutes of any installment, you know there's no skimping on either the fastness or the fury. It's a formula that has put the latest film, Furious 7, on top of the box office with a $143.6 million opening weekend and helped the series pull off the rare feat of becoming progressively more lucrative in later sequels.
There are now nearly 14 hours of Fast & Furious on film. But just how many minutes of fast and how many minutes of fury does that entail? Bloomberg Business decided to track the time spent driving or riding in vehicles across all seven films, making allowances for moments when the automotive action is off screen and heavily implied by the story. To complete our data dive into the $3 billion series, we also monitored how often the films depicted some form of attack—perhaps a fist fight or a car slamming into another car.
The results prove that Furious 7 is a high-water mark for both vehicular travel (49 minutes) and physical punishment (33 minutes). The categories aren't mutually exclusive, with some drive time overlapping with moments of violence. The other six movies, as you see below, are moderately less fast and significantly less furious.
Any judicious analysis will acknowledge that a long segment of Furious 7 takes place aboard an airborne cargo plane carrying the cast and their parked vehicles. The cargo plane depicted in the story has a cruising speed of more than 300 miles per hour, earning the passage inclusion in our tally. And, of course, the cars are eventually dropped out of the plane at an impressive speed.
The rate of fury inflation has increased steadily since bottoming out in the third installment, Tokyo Drift, which has the dubious honor of being the most peaceful and least lucrative of the previous six movies. Despite an uptick in anger, the language in the movies has become tamer over the years. We tracked the instances of “s---” and “f---,” along with colorful variations, and found curse-word usage has been declining since the fifth film, Fast Five.
Nitrous oxide, a gas used in cars to provide drivers with a short speed boost, nearly qualifies as a supporting character unto itself in this franchise. Yes, we tracked its usage throughout the seven films. The result of this careful tracking is something of a paradox: The main characters spend more time in their cars, yet Vin Diesel and company deploy nitrous oxide less often as the series continues. By at least this one metric, Fast & Furious reached its maximum velocity back in 2001 with the debut of the NOS-heavy first film.
There's more to these movies than fast-moving cars, four-letter words, and violence. The dominant theme throughout the franchise is family, a term invoked with greater frequency as the sequel count rises. We also tracked two hallmarks of family time as imagined by a series of films about outlaw drivers who often harm people: barbecuing and saying grace before a meal.
All this driving, yelling, and punching have created a challenge for whomever is called on to write and direct any future installment. In a franchise that has made a habit of outdoing itself, the eighth film is going to have its work cut out for it.