The Fast and the Furious

Inciting Event: Dom agrees to let Brian take part in the quarter-mile drag race. Prior to this, Dom and Brian have already met. Brian’s interest in Dom’s sister Mia is established, and Brian tangles with Dom’s friend Vince. But this is the moment that officially begins Brian’s friendship with Dom. It’s a moment that well set-up, thematically, by incorporating it into the first race scene.

First Plot Point: After the cops swarm in to break up the race, Dom is nearly caught and Brian saves him. The Inciting Event was what set up Brian’s friendship with Dom, but this scene officially launches it. Brian leaves the Normal World where he wasn’t in Dom’s inner circle and enters the main adventure world of the story where he is a part of Dom’s team. This scene also sets up the conflict with violent rival racer Johnny Tran.

First Pinch Point: It is revealed that Brian is an undercover cop who is trying to figure out who amongst the racing community is hijacking semis. This is a poor Pinch Point. Its only new information is something the protagonist, Brian, is already fully aware of. It’s a twist only for viewers—and only those who know absolutely nothing about the premise of the story. As such, it does little or nothing to “pinch” the plot by providing an emphasis of the stakes or new information about the antagonistic force.

Midpoint: After Dom catches Brian snooping, Brian convinces him to spy on the other racers. They break into Tran’s garage, and Brian sees evidence that Tran may be the one stealing from the semis. As Midpoints go, this isn’t the strongest one you’re ever going to see (especially since the information Brian learns here turns out to be false), but it does signify the shift in Brian’s allegiance, as he starts trying harder and harder to prove that Dom isn’t the one who’s guilty.

Second Pinch Point: Brian decides to accuse Tran of the robberies and sends SWAT to arrest him. When it turns out that the DVD players Brian saw in Tran’s garage weren’t stolen after all, he is forced to admit to himself that Dom is almost certainly the criminal he’s after. This is a good pinch point. What’s at stake is Brian’s career as a cop—and, with increasingly more importance, his relationship with Dom and Mia. The stakes are physical, professional, and personal—and no matter what Brian does, he’s going to lose something important.

Third Plot Point: Brian sees Dom and his team leave to hijack a final semi. Brian knows the semi drivers are now going to fight back with lethal force. In order to protect Dom, he tells Mia the truth: that’s he a cop. She helps him find Dom, so he can save him.

Climax: After the hijacking goes bad and Dom learns the truth about Brian, Brian returns to arrest Dom, but is interrupted when Tran shows up and kills one of Dom’s team members. Dom and Brian then give chase.

Climactic Moment: Dom and Brian survive a race across the train tracks, but Dom crashes his dad’s muscle car and has to surrender. Brian gives Dom his own keys so he can escape. It’s a subtle, almost quiet Climactic Moment, but you can almost feel the release of tension as Brian finally chooses between justice on his case and his friendship with Dom.

Resolution: There isn’t much of a Resolution here to speak of. Basically, Dom just drives off. But the scene at the end of the credits goes on to show him arriving safely in Mexico.

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