The Fast and the Furious has been one of the most surprising franchises in movie history. The first film was meant to be a forgettable action flick that ended up turning into a smash hit. The sequel wasn’t bad but Tokyo Drift appeared to end the series once and for all. But then it was revived with Fast & Furious and Fast Five, adding Dwayne Johnson to spark it up.
Since then, every entry has been a bigger hit than the previous film and it’s even had the spin-off Hobbs and Shaw. Moviegoers just can’t get enough of these over-the-top car chases, while gearheads adore the slew of amazing cars put on screen.
Fans have had to handle the fact that the movies take more than a few liberties with how cars work. It’s not merely basic mistakes for how some of the cars handle themselves. The movies shatter the laws of physics regularly and have cars doing things that are physically impossible.
There are also just flat out stupid mistakes that annoy real gearheads. The examples are many, but we’ve put together the cream of the crop with 20 things that make no sense about the Fast & Furious cars, and why this franchise can be downright laughable at times.
20 RX7 ICE
Dom is supposed to be a smart racer and thief who knows the key to a fast car is making it as light as possible. It’s one thing for him to drive a Charger or another muscle car with a heavy frame, but what makes less sense is Dom possessing a top-notch RX7 that he weighs down with a huge entertainment system.
Subwoofers, amplifiers, and screens are unnecessary for a race and a huge distraction for a robbery job. It’s baffling why Dom wastes so much space on this.
19 They Go Faster in Reverse
The first major case of this is in 2 Fast 2 Furious when Brian is racing to the impound lot in his Lancer Evo. At one point, while going 100 mph, Brian whips the car around to go in reverse – and he’s going even faster than he was forward.
It’s not the only case in the franchise, as people will drive faster in reverse than they were going forward. Reverse does not work that way as acceleration means going forward, not back. It’s another time the F&F cars bent reality.
18 Running Nines
This is a scene long mocked by serious car race buffs. In the first film, when the group pulls into a shop, Jesse tells Vince, “you need to tune your NOS timer if you want to run nines.” This references how fast cars can run a quarter-mile. The problem is, none of these cars can run nines, no matter what modifications they have.
A 240, Skyline R33, a 2.0 GTI, and an RX7 all able to run nines? They’d be lucky to get into the tens. It hurts the realism of the movie when there’s talk over the cars being able to pull off a speed that’s impossible.
17 The Wrong Mods
This is a recurring issue in the F&F series in that they sometimes can’t seem to make up their minds about what mods a car has.
Dom boasts that his classic Charger is almost untouched when that thing should be scrap metal after all it’s been put through. Brian’s Eclipse is described as using two different nitrous systems on the same engine. There’s also running Spoon engines with T66 turbos and a Motec Systems exhaust. And that's just all from the first film, as the sequels continue to mix up what modifications a car can have.
16 Safe Pulling
The climax of Fast 5 is the gang ripping off a safe of money the best way they can: by attaching it to Dom and Brian’s cars and having them drag it on a high-speed chase through the streets of Rio. It’s a great chase scene, which is too bad cause it’s not at all realistic.
They say the safe weighs at least 10 tons, and yet two cars manage to drag it and go about a hundred miles per hour with the safe bouncing behind them? No engines on Earth are strong enough to do that.
15 The Eclipse has 7 Gears
Several F&F cars have features no real version of the models actually have – but this is pushing it. Brian’s very first car is a wonderful Mitsubishi Eclipse, which he shows off in a race.
While driving, the camera focuses on Brian shifting things through the car’s seven gears. That's right, seven gears on an Eclipse. That’s without a “nitro injection” for a non-turbo engine and the fried piston rings. It sets the tone for how the cars of the franchise don’t work in real life.
14 Letty’s Magical Interceptor
Let’s cut Dom some slack for calling Letty’s car “American muscle,” as it uses an American engine even though the Interceptor itself was built in England. What can’t be forgiven is how the car works like no Interceptor on the planet.
They show Letty racing Dom with an automatic transmission and a racing shifter but also pushing a clutch pedal. Yes, an automatic car with a clutch that’s a racing machine. Who built this, Harry Potter?
13 Drifting Is Easy and Awesome
Of all the fallacies of the F&F series, Tokyo Drift probably has the most. The movie makes drifting look like a fantastic element that can be pulled off with little difficulty and increases the speed of the car.
It seems the writers never bothered to take physics as drifting will slow a car down by increasing its drag and making it harder to take corners. It’s fun for stunts, but drifting would be a bad idea for races.
12 Koenigsegg Confusion
It’s a funny scene, yet that doesn’t excuse a huge mistake. At the end of Fast Five, the gang is enjoying their newfound loot. Roman shows up in a gorgeous Koenigsegg. He brags that he owns “the only one in the Western Hemisphere,” only for Tej to reveal he has one as well.
The problem is that Roman is showing off the CCXR SPECIAL EDITION which, at the time, only had two models. Tej has a simpler CCXR of which there are actually several models. It’s minor, but the truth is that only Roman can brag on a nearly one of a kind car.
11 Nitro Does Not Burn
This has been one of the biggest crimes of the entire F&F saga. The movies truly push the idea that nitro equals “rocket fuel,” and can transform any car into a high-speed machine that often has flames coming out of the exhaust. The problem is, nitro doesn't work anywhere near as it does in the movies.
It won’t emit flame, it won’t explode under a slight spark, and it only adds acceleration in accordance with fuel. The movies have aided in the “nitro myth” that’s accepted as fact among gearheads.
10 They Can’t Outrun a Submarine
It’s one thing to outfit a pack of random cars to drive on an icy lake in Russia. But in Fate of the Furious, the team is barely able to keep away from a chasing submarine.
The top speed for an advanced sub is about 40 miles per hour. This is not only an older model, but it’s also crashing through thick layers of ice. You could outrun this on a bicycle yet these high-powered cars can barely outpace it, which makes the scene even crazier.
9 Any Car Can Be Hacked
Hollywood has a tendency to think computers are magic. In Fate of the Furious, evil Cipher distracts the team by hacking a couple hundred cars in Manhattan and sends them crashing into the streets. The major problem is that it’s obvious most of these cars don’t have the systems that would allow them to be remotely hacked. That’s not to mention how easily they can take corners when it takes several people to make self-driving work.
It’s another case of Hollywood’s misconceptions about hacking.
8 Doing a Burnout and Wheelie at the Same Time
The first F&F movie may be the most “realistic” of the bunch, but it still has some problems. In the big final race, Dom is revving up that powerful Charger of his and ready to go. To show off how amazing his Charger is, Dom proceeds to do a burnout and a wheelie – at the same time.
This is physically impossible; a burnout means there’s no traction, while a wheelie is a result of too much traction. Suspension of disbelief is one thing, but this is just absurd.
7 Parachuting From a Plane
In Furious 7, the gang has to figure out a way to hijack an armed convoy. The solution is to have the cars dumped out of a huge cargo plane and parachute right onto the road to intercept the convoy.
Amazingly, this scene was done for real, although the actual landing wasn’t as smooth. Making a ton of metal land in precisely the right place is hard enough as is, let alone prevent the cars from suffering some tire and frame damage from the landing. In the movie, they’re ready to cut loose instantly when car skydiving has serious dangers.
6 Supra Surprise
For a pack of expert street mechanics, it often seems like the F&F gang have little idea how their cars work.
When Brian shows up in a Supra, they all laugh with Dom’s famous line, “I want a ten-second car, not a ten-minute car.” They then open the hood and are shocked at the 2JZ engine. Wouldn’t a bunch of guys whose jobs are modifying cars already know the standard engine of a Supra? They then talk of upgrading it with parts from Japan when they have more than enough materials on hand to turn an already great engine into something magical.
5 Shaw’s Flip Car
Deckard Shaw’s “flip car” in Furious 6 is cool with the ramp at the front to allow another vehicle to fly off it, yet there are problems. For one, its 500 horsepower is made out to be a big deal, which means it should go 250 mph. However, Dom and Hobbs manage to keep up in their slower vehicles.
There’s also a bit where Shaw complains about having to replace a spark plug for a turbo diesel engine, which shows that even he doesn’t grasp how his own car works.
4 Weapons Out of Nowhere
As the F&F series develops, the stakes have been raised and the plots have gotten more over the top. That includes transforming the cars with items that would make Q from the James Bond movies roll his eyes.
In Fate of the Furious, all the cars are magically outfitted with harpoons and grappling lines that can be easily activated. Dom uses a harpoon of his own in the finale. Just ask any mod fan how “easy” it is to make something like this work on a random car.
3 Too Tall Trailers
This is a recurring bit in several of the movies. Many times, you’ll see one car slide right under a huge trailer, from the hijacking scenes in the first film to a London chase in Hobbs and Shaw. It’s a cool visual but it’s also obvious that the trailer was altered.
Most trailers are nowhere near this high to allow an entire car to fit under it. There’s also the safety bar, which doesn’t seem to exist in the movies. Anyone wanting to replicate this stunt is in for a rude awakening.
2 The Entire Cuba Race
Even by F&F standards, this scene is completely ludicrous. In Fate of the Furious, Dom is engaging in a race in Cuba behind the wheel of a classic 1956 Ford Fairlane. Naturally, it's been modified with some “nitro boost” (ignoring how that really wouldn’t work for that car) and Dom is soon on a high-pitched race.
At one point, the engine catches fire so the entire front part of the car is in flames. Dom’s solution? Drive it backwards and on fire to finish the race before dunking it into the ocean. It should go without saying that this wouldn't work in real life.
1 They Keep Driving After So Much Damage
Many car owners know how it feels to get a blowout from a pothole or a minor crash that causes huge damage that requires weeks to properly repair. Contrast that with how the cars in the F&F movies are more durable than any GTA game.
Cars will smash through buildings, fly fifty feet in the air and land hard, take tumbles down cliffs and still be in perfect running condition. They barely even look scratched, let alone damage the suspension and engine. Even GTA cars don’t run as well after so much damage as in these movies
Sources: Ranker.com, autowise.com, tvtropes.com, imdb.com