Fast and Furious kills: The dangerous influence of street racing films.
During the last twenty years, a certain film series has built up an extraordinary following.
The Fast and The Furious franchise consists of seven films, two short films and several best-selling video games. It has propelled actors to super stardom, paved the way for an entirely new genre of films and smashed box office records worldwide. Such is its success, it is now seventh on the list of the highest grossing film franchises of all time. Given its subject matter though, should we be concerned about its huge popularity?
On screen, the characters of these films pull off death-defying stunts. Again, on-screen, they largely come out of these unscathed.
However, in 2013, fans were given a wake-up call. Paul Walker, one of the main stars of the franchise, was killed in a car accident. He was the passenger in the car when it collided with a concrete lamppost and two trees before bursting into flames.
For one of the series’ leading names, dying in this way was one of the saddest cases of life imitating art. After the news broke, concerns that his death could ‘romanticize street racing‘ grew. Although Walker wasn’t racing when he died, parents worried that their teenage children would look to his films and try to emulate their fallen hero.
A powerful effect.
Of course, these kinds of concerns didn’t just start after Walker’s death. Years before it happened, people worried that it was glamorizing a dangerous lifestyle. With its huge ticket sales, the amount of people it influences is staggering. This added to the fact that its target audience is mostly made up of teenagers is a real concern for parents.
We’re all impressionable when we’re young (even if we don’t think it at the time!), walking out of the cinema wanting to emulate what we’ve just seen.
People are arguing that Hollywood needs to take responsibly for the effect of these films. Until that happens though, it’s down to the viewing public. So how can parents teach their children to both enjoy these films and develop responsible driving habits?
Talking to your child.
Sitting down with your child and talking to them about responsible driving is vital, especially if they have their own car. Don’t assume that it’s only boys who are influenced by these films either – they have a large female fan base too.
Explain to your child that it’s fine to enjoy these films, but that in reality, the kind of stunts that they see on-screen would be extremely dangerous for inexperienced drivers to try – and have severe financial and legal ramifications too.
Talking about driving responsibly will not only prevent accidents in the immediate future, but set them up with good driving skills for life.
If they aren’t able to drive yet, take them out in the car with you and let them see you driving safely.
Communication is key.
In The Fast and The Furious series, accidents are mere blips on the radar, with drivers often walking away as if nothing has happened. Sadly, for both fans and stars of the films alike, it doesn’t always work out that way.
Just like with films containing excessive violence, films featuring dangerous driving can put people’s lives at risk. However, by communicating openly about this risk, we can lower it as much as possible.