The first thing that stands out about the movie is how much has changed since the movie originally debuted. The original predated smartphones, and the internet was a much smaller thing. The cargo being stolen was high end electronics, aka VCRs and TV/VCR combos. While the cars are also technically dated, there is something about classic muscle cars and 90s tuners that really don't go out of style so much. The only car that stands out as dated is the generic Ferrari that Diesel and Walker drag race before having shrimp. This (car nerd) predates the Ferrari renaissance and general exotic car rebirth that happened the mid to late 2000s.
2. Point Break with Wheels
The movie broke no new ground, as the relationship between O'Conner and Torreto is the same on as between Utah and Bodhi, with a dozen points of similarity down the line. The biggest difference is that instead of surf bros robbing banks, it's tuner bros hijacking cargo haulers. This bromance dance of undercover cops and underworld players is a modern classic story, and it stands the test of time.
3. It's About the Cars
One of the things that established the franchise was the classic car movie themes, mixing the great rivalry of domestic muscle cars against import tuners, and everything else in between. This theme has carried on, but in a diminishing fashion. The first movie is massively about cars, from the green Eclipse that is blown up, to building the orange Supra, to the story Dominic tells about his father and the black Charger, to the scene at the end (16 year old spoiler alert) where O'Conner gives Torreto the keys to said orange Supra so that he can make his escape and not go back to jail. The cars are still a factor, but they are more flash, easily destroyed and used in visual vignettes rather than being heart and soul to the story, except for the immortal Charger, that keeps coming back over and over again.
Today it is very vogue to count the number of non-white people in a movie, and to tick off boxes for diversity. In 2001 The Fast and the Furious nailed a lot of boxes. Letty is a strong female lead, and while most of Torreto's team consists of white males, the rest of the movie has a large number of hispanic, asian, and black actors and actresses. To top it off, Jesse, the mechanic mad scientist is a kid with a learning disorder. Against this, O'Conner really stands out as the white guy, which reinforces his position as being a cop, being the man, infiltrating an illegal organization. This theme gets stronger, with more non-white characters, and most of the all white members of the Torreto family vanishing. Vince goes bad, Jesse is gunned down, and after the first movie, Leon just vanishes.
One of the franchise's strong points is the multi-cultural multi-ethnic soundtrack. Rap, nu-metal, and latin rap are shoulder to should with each other, creating a mosaic of sound that overlaps, giving the emotional feel of the Los Angeles street scene.
6. No Damsels in Distress
It is rather impressive that in a testosterone fueled car romp film, the only person who has to be rescued from bondage is Vince, hanging off the side of a semi while having potshots taken at him. Letty and Mia both take turns driving cars, being involved in the action, and never falling into the traditional rolls of needing the male lead to rescue them, nor are they trophies to be captured on conquered. (in the first film this might seem the case with O'Connor and Mia, but their relationship grows throughout the franchise until they are the happy family driving off into the sunset)
7. This is Where is Started
Vin Diesel and crew have built a multi-billion dollar franchise out of humble roots, a car themed riff on Point Break that turned the bromance into an ongoing story about family. As the franchise progresses we see it wander through genres the music gets better, the cast gets multi-national, and more ethnic. More languages appear, even with two main characters who don't speak any english, and the overall embrasure of Ohana.