25 April 2011 12:15 PM, PDT | MTV Movies Blog | See recent MTV Movies Blog news »

With this Friday’s release of "Fast Five" barreling towards us, MTV Movies Blog is taking the time to look in the rearview at the four films that paved the way. First up, the movie that started it all.

There have been a host of car racing movies that came before "The Fast and the Furious," but its debut in 2001 saw the rise of the sub-genre’s biggest and most popular franchise ever. Described as “gritty and gratifying” by Variety, the Rob Cohen-directed film cemented the popularity of Vin Diesel after his role in "Pitch Black" the previous year and used an ensemble cast composed of young Hollywood’s biggest stars of the time. Although American car racing movies had long relied on the horsepower of homegrown ‘muscle’ cars, “The Fast and the Furious” super-charged its debut by relying primarily on vehicles from the Asian import scene that had »

- Chris Arrant

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