'Los Bandoleros': Why you need to watch the 'Fast and Furious' film you (probably) haven't seen

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The Fast and Furious franchise can, at times, be confusing. The first movie, The Fast and the Furious, centers around Dominic Toretto and his family of fast-driving, big-hearted criminals. 2 Fast 2 Furious puts Dom completely out of the picture and follows good-cop-gone-bad-gone-good-again Brian O’Conner down to Miami, where he meets up with an old friend and has absolutely no interaction with anyone from the first film — except for one of his cop bosses. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift then pulls fans even farther away from the people they’ve come to know and love. So when the fourth film in the franchise, Fast and Furious, decided to reunite the original crew and pull together the plots and characters from all three films, Vin Diesel knew he had some explaining to do.

His solution? A short film set after 2 Fast 2 Furious but before Tokyo Drift (much like the next three films would be) to tie up loose ends. And that’s just what Diesel did when he wrote and directed the 20-minute film Los Bandoleros. Available on YouTube and as an extra on the Blu-ray and special edition DVDs of Fast and Furious, this short film has now become an integral part of the franchise. Fans can even see clips from it in the opening credits sequence for Furious 6. And here’s why it deserves 20 minutes of your time:

Where has Dom been? If you sat through the credits of the first film, you know that Dom successfully made his way to Mexico. But what has he been up to between film number one and film number four (but technically before film number three)? Well, you will be happy to know that he’s still having barbecues, fixing up cars, and working illegal schemes. Only this time, he’s speaking Dominican.

Where was Han before Tokyo? Not only does Los Bandoleros tie Han into the fourth film of the series, but it briefly explains how Han and Dom met in Mexico way before there was any talk of going to Tokyo. After all, Han’s from L.A.

Meet Leo and Santos. The fast-talking duo that helped keep Dom out of prison in the fourth film wasn’t just a random find. In fact, they were a part of Dom’s “family” in the Dominican Republic — sorry, the DR. They ate lunch together and said grace and everything. Fun fact: Fast Five was not the first time they busted one another out of jail.

Dom and Letty are the real deal. When Dom drove away at the end of the first film, he was forced to leave his loved ones behind, which included his ideal woman: 20 percent angel, 80 percent devil with eyes that can look right through the bullshit to the good in someone; a girl who’s down to earth and ain’t afraid to get a little engine grease under her fingernails … also known as Letty. And in Los Bandoleros, Letty tracks down her man, and fans get to see just how happy she makes Dom, which is a great introduction to why he takes some of the drastic measures he takes in Furious 6. Happiness alert! He smiles multiple times in this short film! Like, more than once.

Everyone needs gasoline. The action sequence that kicks off the fourth film is completely set up in Los Bandoleros, with Dom once again doing something illegal in order to help his family. You gotta love a criminal with a heart of gold.

In addition to all of that, Letty mentions Mia and viewers get to see the first hints of Dom missing his home, an element that will play an important part in the next three films.

Watch Los Bandoleros below, and get ready to become a Dom and Letty shipper for life:

Furious 6 is in theaters (and awesome) now!

Samantha on Twitter: @samhighfill

Read more:
The title of ‘Fast & Furious 6′ is not ‘Fast & Furious 6.’ Or is it? No.
Analysis: People love ‘Fast & Furious 6′, but not quite as much as they loved ‘Fast Five’
Sounds like a Summer Movie: Creating the car, crash, and headbutt sounds for ‘Fast & Furious 6′

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