The destruction was real…and so was that friggin’ vault.
The Fast and the Furious franchise is known for its heart-pumping action sequences that defy both death and physics. From that very first drag race where we see a tender Brian O’Connor gripping the clutch of his lime green Skyline to the leisurely parachute jump the whole family takes while strapped securely into their vehicles.
If you’ve ever wondered, “Hey, is that all CGI, and if not, how in the hell did they even pull off those stunts,” then you’re in luck.
In this video from Variety Fair, stunt coordinator Jack Gill takes you behind the scenes stunts to show you how his stunt team managed to drag a nearly 5-ton steel vault with two Dodge Chargers for the heist scene in the 5th installment in the series, Justin Lin’s Fast Five (2011).
Now, if you’re like me and what I’m assuming is the rest of everybody in the world who watched this movie without looking at any supplemental anything, you probably assumed that a whole hell of a lot of that scene was 100% CGI…awesome but totally digital carnage that is pretty sweet but is kind of not because it was made in a computer. And because computers have not yet become smart enough to harm humans outside of accidentally self-detonating or allowing us to compare our lives to those of our high school classmates on Facebook, the thrill factor was real but not quite as real as it would be had two Dodge Chargers been actually dragging a 9000 lb. vault through a city street, crushing everything in their path as they performing graceful choreographed moves like steal-framed ballerinas.
Oh, but there really were two Dodge Chargers and they really were dragging a 9000 lb. vault through a city street.
The fact that very little of this stunt sequence contained CGI is incredibly impressive, namely because I am not a stunt coordinator and I have no idea what goes into designing and planning stunts of this magnitude. (I know kind of how to do a stunt fall, but I wouldn’t trust me to not get your back broken in the process.)
Gill’s brilliant problem-solving, choreography, and engineering of each stunt vehicle, especially the ones he used to turn the vault into a ginormous kill car, probably won’t help most of us make our own films (until, of course, we get that sweet, sweet Fast and Furious money), but they most definitely can inspire us to be more creative when in our smaller, humbler pursuits in filmmaking.
And we can also watch Fast Five with a little more appreciation because, gang, that shit is real.