First things first: I love the Fast franchise. This is not a hit piece taking down the movies. That said…2001 was a long time ago, which is when the first movie graced our cinema screens. Have you rewatched it recently? The Fast and the Furious still good in a trashy way…but it hasn't exactly aged well.
For starters, their use of female characters is woefully male-centric, clearly written with comedy and the male gaze in mind. Now, the franchise has grown a lot and thankfully has evolved, especially in the way of female characters, but that first movie? Yikes. Not only do the two women (I know – two whole women in the cast!) basically not have a purpose without the leading men they're involved with, but they really don't have much to say otherwise. Plus, all the female extras are nearly always seen hanging off the arm of a badass looking dude and not wearing a whole lot of clothes. So it's not exactly a bastion of equality.
Do you know what it is a bastion of, though? A lack of logic! "But Eden, are you seriously on an action movie for not having a sensible plot?" Okay, you're right, but still – it's not just the lack of logic to the plot, but the fact that they tried to put a romance story and detective work and a heist plot all in a movie that really just exists to show us street racing scenes and car porn. The undercover plot, sure! But it does start to get a little confusing the more moving pieces are added in. Yes, I know this all sets up the future films, but in 2001 I doubt that's what they had in mind when making this movie.
The Fast franchise has for sure grown into itself; I'm not sure what male executive at the studio said, "yes, this is a perfect film – let's make nine more of them." However, I'm grateful that the franchise had the opportunity to grow past this dismal early 2000s convoluted and sexist action flick and blossom into a series with heart, soul, and some sweet, sweet kitted out cars that are, of course, both fast and furious.