LONDON — The roaring engines and burning rubber of "The Fast & The Furious" films — one of cinema's highest-grossing franchises — are skidding off the screen and into the real world, as a live stunt show based on the movies opens in London on Thursday before touring Europe.
"Fast & Furious Live," held in London's O2 arena, aims to re-create the elaborate stunts for which the films are known, everything from the bank heist from the first movie to the car airdrop.
"We talked about a live show, but we'd never imagined it in the way that Rowland (creative director, Rowland French) imagined it," Vin Diesel, one of the films' main stars, told Reuters. Diesel is not in the live show, which introduces all-new characters. French, who once worked on BBC's "Top Gear," similarly did a "Top Gear Live" arena show featuring car stunts.
The show features around 40 vehicles, including tanks, trucks, a submarine and dozens of fire-spitting, customized muscle cars. It uses 3D projection technology to help give the illusion that car chases are taking place over distances much greater than the inside of an arena. Here's a backstage look:
"The Fast and The Furious," about a gang of illegal street racers, has spawned eight films since 2001, with two more in development, a forthcoming spinoff film, video games and theme-park rides.
The franchise survived the death of one of its main stars, Paul Walker, killed in a car crash in 2013.
"I think he would totally get a kick out of, out of seeing our little movie turn into this show at the O2 arena," Diesel said. "He'd get a kick out of that."
Among the vehicles in the show:
- The Nissan Silvia, Nissan 350Z and Mitsubishi Evo VIII from "Tokyo Drift";
- The Dodge Charger SRT-8 and Oshkosh truck from "Furious 5";
- A Navistar MXT, the tank and post-apocalypic F1 "flip car" from "Furious 6";
- The Nissan GTR R35 and Letty's skydiving green off-road Dodge Challenger SRT from "Furious 7";
- The skyscraper-jumping Lykan HyperSport;
- The Ripsaw tank Autoblog got to drive in a popular episode of "Translogic," below;
- Suki's pink Honda S2000;
- The Buick Grand National GNX Dom uses to save Letty;
- Brian's Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R, Mitsubishi Eclipse and Toyota Supra;
- And of course Dom's 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, along with the Ice Charger from the eighth movie.
The show will tour to 23 arenas in 14 European countries. The schedule does not include U.S. dates, but if it's a hit, maybe it will cross the pond. For more, check the show's website.
Reporting by Jayson Mansaray