Throughout the series, fights are choreographed to ensure that none of the leads comes out looking like a loser, said Michael Fottrell, a producer on five of the movies.
Does vanity play a role in those decisions?
“No comment,” said Mr. Fottrell, before adding: “Of course it does!”
According to producers and crew members on the films, Mr. Statham, 51 years old, negotiated an agreement with the studio that limits how badly he can be beaten up on screen. Mr. Diesel, 52, has his younger sister, a producer on the films, police the number of punches he takes. And Mr. Johnson, 47, enlists producers, editors and fight coordinators to help make sure he always gives as good as he gets.
When Mr. Diesel barreled Mr. Johnson through a wall in “Fast Five,” released in 2011, it took about eight seconds before Mr. Johnson pushes Mr. Diesel through a different wall.