Imagining The Fast and the Furious without Dominic Toretto is like stripping the engine out of a V8 Chrysler: It ain’t a Hemi without a Hemi. And rightly so. If Brian O’Connor was the heart of the series’ first outing, Dom was its grease-stained soul. The son of a beloved stock car racer, Dom was a born gearhead whose fiery temper resulted in a stint at Lompoc and a lifetime ban from the professional racing circuit. As played by a young Vin Diesel, Dom elevated a by-the-numbers Point Break ripoff to a brawny blockbuster - the 14th biggest film of 2001.
Barring a minute cameo in Tokyo Drift, Dom wouldn’t fully return to the franchise until 2009, but in a sense, he never really came back. Gone was the vibrant, ambitious Dom of the original FF, replaced by a growling block of wood that mutters vague aphorisms about engines and "family" but fails to muster anything resembling real emotion. The audience must be told time and again that people trust and respect Dom… despite a growing list of the man’s questionable decisions.