I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Furious Seven

tn_furioussevenNote: as usual, I recommend reading this only after you’ve seen the movie.

How the hell do you follow a movie with a classic freeway cars vs. tank battle and a legendary 27.86 mile cars vs. planes gun/grappling hook/wrestling fight? Well, we already had a good idea from the trailers: with cars that skydive and jump from skyscraper to skyscraper and with Jason Statham. The day after my first viewing I feel like FURIOUS SEVEN is probly not as good as FAST FIVE or FURIOUS 6, but it’s in the same range at least, which is a feat. And due to real life this silly fictional world turns very emotional at the end. I suspect that despite all the effort put into automotive insanity this will primarily be remembered as the one that says goodbye to Paul Walker.

It’s a blessing because really, when has a tragically passed-on star been able to have such a meta farewell in a movie? The character of Brian O’Conner gets to drive off into the sunset and the public gets to share in the send off as a narrating Vin Diesel/Dominic Torretto pay tribute simultaneously in and out of character. Heath Ledger might’ve had a better last big performance, but he was left hanging on the side of a building.

(It’s a little unclear what it means on the movie level, though. Are Brian and Mia and the kids driving off to be far away from Dom so they can be sure to stay out of trouble? Or is Dom just not planning to visit his own sister, best friend, niece and nephew if he’s not shooting guns anymore? Maybe he’s just assuming that now that he’s a dad Brian’s not gonna hang out anymore?)

Back when FURIOUS 6 was still fresh, my fear about the next one was that they were rushing it. Director since part 3 Justin Lin had to bow out, because they wanted it ready for the following summer. Because of my love for DEATH SENTENCE I thought James Wan was a pretty inspired replacement, but he’d never done anything that big and he had such large shoes to fill. And he looks like a tiny little guy in pictures. I guess that’s not that relevant.

mp_furioussevenThen, of course, Walker – the star of every FAST movie besides TOKYO DRIFT – died tragically before filming was complete, and no one knew what would happen. Remember, there was even talk that they might scrap the entire movie for insurance purposes? By now I kinda took it for granted that Wan knew what he was doing with the movie but how were they gonna finish what they hadn’t shot and how were they gonna rework it for Brian to gracefully leave the series? Hell of an uphill battle there, but that’s what this series specializes in. (Although the best big set piece in this one is actually a downhill battle.)

I don’t think Wan adds as much of his own spin to it as Lin did over the course of his movies, but he does an admirable job of taking the wheel while Lin jumps out the window. Which is a metaphor based on a thing that happens in a lot of the FAST movies in case you didn’t get that.  It’s probly a coincidence that SEVEN shares some themes with DEATH SENTENCE. Both have the heroes and villains waging battle to avenge something that happened to literal or figurative family members. Two families in an endless circle of violence.

I never really realized until seeing Statham in this that none of the previous FAST movies really had a great villain. Luke Evans as Owen Shaw in part 6 might be the most memorable. So the introduction of Jason Statham as his vengeful brother Deckard is this entry’s biggest boost to the series. He makes an A+ entrance that actually reminded me of the remake of MY BLOODY VALENTINE. So that’s how dangerous this guy is, he could be a movie slasher. But it sounds like he’s more like Strannix in UNDER SIEGE, a highly trained super deadly elite special black op forces master killer but they decided he was too dangerous so they tried to kill him but seriously he is too dangerous so they were unable to kill him.

And the funny thing is we thought his little brother died in the last one. Actually he’s still alive but paralyzed, presumably to be healed and return to the driver’s seat in a future chapter. But that’s still enough to send Deckard on a crazy revenge spree.

The new Shaw spends the movie dogging Dom and the gang, showing up wherever they are and trying to kill them. They literally go to Azerbaijan to the exact spot that the military tells them is the most inaccessible, they come up with an insane plan on how to gain access, and then all the sudden he just shows up. Then they’re in Abu Dhabi and he shows up there too. This fuckin guy.

And he gets to have a long duel with Dom. I’m not sure he really lives up to his potential as a villain, though. Such a great buildup but then it’s just a fight like Dom has already had with Hobbs and with Hobbs’s doppelganger and others. There’s not a sense that this guy ends up being as deadly as we knew he was earlier. And he doesn’t talk much, or find other ways to convey as much personality as a standard Statham character. We got everything about him in that opening scene, I think.

I hope this will change on future viewings, but it feels to me like the situation with Walker/O’Conner and the convolutions of the plot kind of water down the personal part of the main plot. FIVE has a more powerful story because they bust Dom out of prison and all become most wanted fugitives. They get into trouble with a crime lord, but also get chased by the D.S.S. and Hobbs for the first time, achieve fight brotherhood and temporarily team up against a common enemy. Classical shit. Then 6 has the men-on-a-mission business of Hobbs having a task that only Dom and his crew could pull off, and offering it to them in exchange for amnesty. In SEVEN the hook makes a little less sense, an unrelated mission they do for the government in exchange for the use of equipment that it seems like they don’t really need, that gets stolen and used against them anyway. By the time they were fighting terrorists and Predator drones in the streets of L.A. and I was worried about how O’Conner is gonna leave all this behind I kinda forgot that this started out as revenge for killing Han. And blowing up the house. And breaking Hobbs’s arm and leg so he has to lay around watching The Incredible Hulk all day.

(Man, I knew this was gonna happen from the commercials, but that’s fucked up that he blew up the house. 6 was all about getting back that house. This is like ALIEN 3 killing Newt and Hicks.)

(Also I lost track of how many times Dom has killed his dad’s car. Is this really the last ride?)

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of this secret, scary government agency run by Mr. Nobody (Stuntman Mike himself Kurt Russell) hiring the crew and giving them the resources to do whatever the fuck they want. And he has a file on Dom so detailed that he knows to have some cold bottles of Corona ready for him in an official Corona bucket, that’s pretty cool. But I remember before they started filming and Wan said that he wanted to make his version of a gritty ’70s revenge thriller in the FAST universe. That’s not what this is, except maybe in that cool funeral scene (previewed on the 6 dvd and blu-ray) where Dom senses that Shaw is nearby and all the sudden he’s in one of his muscle cars chasing after him.

The bad news about the action: it tends to be a little more chaotic than part 6, especially in the fight scenes. They’re pretty shaky. I’d say the best is Hobbs vs. Shaw at the beginning, an almost super powered clash between the cinematic fighting styles of The Rock and the Stath. It involves alot of wrestling moves and smashing through glass and furniture. It also has some somewhat dizzying but very cool visual gimmicks where the camera stays on the actors as they flip (the only noticeable Wan addition to the Lin stylistic playbook as far as I could tell). Also it culminates in a nice reminder that in the Fastiverse if you fall off of something you should try to find a nice soft car to land on.

Second best fight is Brian vs. Mercenary-Working-For-Terrorist (Tony Jaa) rematch. Their first fight had me worrying that they were wasting my man The Protector, but in the second one he gets to work in some of that Jaa parkour like in the ONG BAK market chase, so it’s better. Also, with his tattoos and minimal English dialogue Jaa manages to escape his usual naive country boy persona and seem like a real asshole.

Letty vs. Bodyguard-of-Jordanian-Prince (UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey) is fun but compromised by the camerawork. In my opinion Rousey is not showcased as well as Carano was in 6 or she herself was in (the otherwise inferior) EXPENDABLES 3. Her best moment is not a move but just calling Letty a bitch.

But the good news is that even if sometimes messy the action is always fun, absurd and in decadent abundance. SEVEN follows the part 6 template by having a set piece in the middle – a high speed chase battle with terrorists down the side of the Caucasus Mountains, no joke – that’s bigger and more thrilling than the climax of most movies. Even spoiled by trailers I was kind of in awe of how much farther over the top they were able to take it. You gotta wonder if it’s even possible for them to up the ante again. Isn’t there a ceiling on how far up that ante can go?

By the way, why do I feel like we’ve seen the FAST gang fighting drones before? Oh yeah, because of that crazy artwork from FAST AND FURIOUS: SUPERCHARGED at Universal Studios:

supercharged

Best stunt scene: Brian escaping the bus as it falls off the cliff. And for what it’s worth I don’t agree with the criticisms I’ve heard about there being (why, I never!) computers used to enhance all the incredible stunts. Of course I’m not as racist against computer generated imagery as is currently accepted by society, but also I don’t know which FAST AND FURIOUS movies these people have been watching that they think they haven’t always been a mix of stunts and special effects. You think Paul Walker and Vin Diesel really drove off of a speeding train and a cliff and Vin crashed and flew across a bridge and caught Michelle Rodriguez in the air and smash-landed on a car? Because in my opinion that was a combination of stunts and special effects, as is often necessary for creating fantastical fictional movie entertainment.

Best new character that doesn’t survive: The Demon Love Child. When it rolled down the cliff and was being torn apart I was convinced it would land upright and just be a skeletal vehicle like the ramp cars in 6. But I guess it’s better to burn out than fade away, at least if you are an inanimate car and not a person.

Did you guys get tricked by that credit for Sung Kang and Gal Godot like I did? I thought they were gonna be in a flashback or something. Good for them if they can get residuals for being in a still photograph. I wonder why Bow Wow didn’t get a credit? He was in the TOKYO DRIFT footage. Talking and everything.

Jesus, Sean grew alot of arm hair during that race. Would liked to see him after that scene, but I’ll wait to complain if he’s not in the next one.

All the other living characters get things to do, but is it my imagination or do they feel (maybe because of having to film without Walker) not quite as integrated as before? The Rock’s part is a little smaller, and kind of off to the side, only talking to Dom from the hospital and not seeing the rest of the gang until the finale. But that’s okay because his personality is there and what he decides to do when he realizes there’s a battle going on near the hospital makes up for lost time. Also it’s nice to see them officially state that they are now brothers instead of reluctant, tenuous allies.

Most wasted actor: Academy Award nominee Djimon Hounsou (AMISTAD, ELEPHANT WHITE) as the infamous terrorist guy. He gets to be scary but in a very generic way and a small amount of scenes, and then he’s just in a helicopter talking to people on a radio.

One new character on the good guy side that seems likely to return is Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), the genius hacker who they have to rescue from the terrorists in order to get Mr. Nobody a spooky surveillance program called God’s Eye that they’ll be allowed to use to track Shaw. (I was hoping when they did they would find out he was standing right behind them, since that’s where he seems to be for most of the movie.) Ramsey is very Fast & Furious in that she is gorgeous and the camera enthusiastically ogles her when she wears a bikini. But otherwise she comes from a different world than these guys, so it makes for a funny gimmick during the convoy chase, we get to find out how a civilian reacts when O’Conner flops her from a careening semi trailer onto the front of a car (spoiler: she screams and wiggles around). For everybody else in the movie high speed vehicle jumps are routine by now.

I really like that they make a point of referencing all six other movies in the series, tying them all together. From part 1 we finally have a return to Race Wars (the un-self-consciously named desert car race festival), a cameo by Hector (Noel G.), the first person Brian met at his first street race, mention of Brian coming into Mia’s shop to buy bad tuna fish sandwiches, Dom referring to Brian as “the buster” (Vince’s insult turned nickname for him), and Dom wielding wrenches as weapons, a reference to the crime that put him in Lompoc. From 2 FAST we have talk of Brian and Roman being buddies in high school. From TOKYO DRIFT of course we have the death of Han and Dom meeting with Sean. From 4 we have flashbacks of Letty’s supposed death and references to things that happened while they were living in the Dominican Republic. And Roman mentions the police station breakin-in from 5 and the tank and airplane from 6. Also a news report refers to “vehicular warfare,” a phrase Tej used in 6. This is actually the third one in a row that includes a nostalgic montage of things that happened in the previous movies, though this one is fittingly focused on Brian.

One thing about Lin: I bet if he was still directing he would’ve put some BETTER LUCK TOMORROW characters at Han’s funeral. If Wan did I didn’t notice them and they aren’t credited. Maybe they’re all supposed to be in prison.

By the way, they never said in part 1 that Dom and Letty “invented” Race Wars, did they? First of all, that sounds bad, I hope he’s careful not to brag about that in mixed company. Second, I think Dom just made that up to impress Letty. In part 8 she’s gonna tell him she knows the truth.

While the beginning of the movie is trying to deal with Dom and Letty’s relationship, and Brian’s struggle to live as a normal dad, they couldn’t help but make the end be about Dom and Brian, since that’s how the series started out. It does feel a little disjointed, but I think we can all forgive that.

I suspect it was originally gonna end differently. I believe the rumor I read somewhere that Kurt Russell’s Mr. Nobody character was going to be revealed to be Brian’s father. In retrospect it’s even set up, in FAST FIVE I believe, with a discussion about fathers and him not having one. And this maybe doesn’t make sense but my guess is that the reveal would also be part of a villain turn that would set up the next chapter. I don’t know why.

How will they proceed? It’s gonna be tough. In the last two chapters we lost Brian, Mia, Han and Giselle. If 8 tries to build on the hugeness of the last entries but with a smaller cast it might start to feel like these movies are on the way out. A favorite Lin trick was the reunion, bringing back characters from previous movies that you didn’t think would come back (starting with Dom and then Brian and then everybody). There are characters I think they should bring back (see Appendix B below) but the only one that would make a major impact I think is having Lucas Black as Sean Boswell return as a main character, working with the team for the first time. I suspect that will happen, as it was reported a while back that he’d signed up for 3 more movies. But since TOKYO DRIFT aficionados are only a subset of FAST fans it’s not gonna be a huge event to everybody.

So I think they need to think of some different character types they’re missing and come up with some more surprising castings on the level of The Rock and Statham. And I think they should figure out a way for them to work with Rousey’s character (who was just doing her job protecting a non-evil client when she fought Letty). It’s important to continue the theme of people on different sides forming bonds with each other and getting over their differences. But I can’t imagine who would be a more impressive villain, especially one who is as associated with driving (since Mel Gibson already did an EXPENDABLES and a MACHETE). So their work is cut out for them.

Or maybe they can figure out some way to make smaller seem better. Good luck with that. But have they considered a spin-off that brings together all the girls that started all the races throughout the series? The tattooed lady from this one could be the star. How do they get this honor? It’s probly very competitive. The way THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS is a ripoff of POINT BREAK this could be a ripoff of ALL ABOUT EVE. And it could all lead up to starting a street race that we will see in part 8. FAST AND FURIOUS shared universe.

* * *

Holy shit you guys, there is a movie with Vin Diesel, The Rock, Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey and Kurt Russell in it. And it’s not a disappointment.

I know everybody is saying this now, but I’ve been pointing it out longer than most of ’em: this series is truly a cinematic and pop culture miracle. Even the most optimistic person in 2001 could never have imagined that the surprisingly good (but not that well reviewed) POINT BREAK rip-off made by the director of DRAGONHEART because he read a Vibe article about the illegal street racing subculture would, in 14 years, be the biggest franchise in the history of Universal Studios and an ongoing series beloved even by critics. When it came out in 2001 it knocked LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER out of the #1 spot at the box office. Which of those would we have guessed back then would make it to 7+ movies? Or even back when TOKYO DRIFT came out with different characters and setting? There’s no other precedent for something like this, a series that starts out as somewhat disposable teen exploitation and builds into major summer blockbusters, winning over the critics on part 5.

Not many series even make it to part 7. How many have part 7 and it’s the biggest one yet? It’s fuckin ridiculous. I used to have to defend the very idea of them making sequels to this, now it’s a major cultural event like a new James Bond or Batman movie. I’m sure there are still people who turn their nose up to these movies as lowbrow trash, but I wouldn’t talk to those motherfuckers anyway.

And the casting! We take it for granted now that it has the best action ensemble around, more effective than THE EXPENDABLES. It’s hard to believe way back in parts 2 and 3 they couldn’t even get their original leads to come back. Now they have marquee names like The Rock and Statham coming to join them. It’s like if in 1994 DEATH WISH V was the biggest and slickest of the series and had Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise or Harrison Ford as the villain. Not to mention they got people like Kurt Russell (who turned down THE EXPENDABLES), Gina Carano, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey and Joe Taslim in the supporting cast and latecomer The Rock doing what’s gotta be his best movie character.

In a time when we’re always hearing about lack of diversity in casting here’s a series that has always been multi-ethnic and international. (This one makes it to the Middle East and does introduce an Arab who helps the team, but unfortunately not a very cool one.) Its black, white, Latino and Asian cast consider themselves a family and all share equal importance. Though Walker was the biggest star and the point-of-view character in the first one he’s never seemed like the white guy leader like you would have even in the very diverse STEP UP movies. If anything he ends up being the sidekick to Vin Diesel. These are characters who are not intimidated by other cultures. A kid from Alabama goes to live in Tokyo and doesn’t complain; they find themselves living in Brazil and the Dominican Republic and they adapt.

Also of note: part one is the only one with a white director. The rest are African-American, Asian-American, Asian-Australian.

It’s a hyper-masculine series, full of male bonding and women in short skirts and tall shoes watching or starting the races. Still, it managed to build up quite a few female characters who actually participate in the action: Letty has always been one of their best drivers and tough talkers, Mia managed to drive even in the one where she had a baby and got kidnapped (though not in SEVEN), Gisele drives and fights and dies heroically, Riley (being Gina Carano) beats up as many people as the men do, Elena kicks some ass in this one even after being dumped by Dom in the last one, and Ramsey can’t fight yet but does invent and hack the same massive surveillance program it took Bruce Wayne’s tech team to invent.

Since Walker’s death I’ve rewatched the first six FAST AND FURIOUS movies, as well as JOY RIDE, which also has its share of dangerous driving. Of course I can’t help but think sometimes of the tragic irony of Walker building a career off of these movies where he’s in fast cars and dangerous crashes and then that was how he died so young and so senselessly. And it’s not that comforting to think that he did those movies because he was a thrill seeker and in a way he died doing what he loved. It’s just not worth it.

But by starring in this impossible series of movies he brought something better to this world than he must’ve ever expected. In these stories he and his Fast family glorify in a corny but sincere sort of way the values of loyalty, honor, brotherhood, forgiveness, understanding. And in the filmmaking they’re demonstrating a faith in some kind of pop integrity code of honor. Stay true to your weird balance of crazed absurdity and emotion and maybe people will scoff at you but eventually you’ll conquer the world. It’s truly inspiring.

If we could, of course, any one of us would trade the whole series for that poor guy to be able to just grow old and spend more time with his daughter. But we can’t. So let’s appreciate the consolation prize that he was part of such an amazing thing through which a part of him will live on forever. Thank you, Paul Walker, for leaving us this legacy. Bro.

acr_furiousseven

 

Appendix A: ideas for FAST/FURIOUS 8

1. All new set of characters are involved in street racing scene in New York. They are slow to accept newcomer to the scene Tom Doretto (Vin Diesel in blond wig) who we find out well into the movie is actually Dom undercover for Mr. Nobody to find a secret such and such chip or what have you, etc. Loose remake of part 1 or loose loose remake of POINT BREAK.

2. Car does jump off pyramid

3. Paralyzed Owen Shaw shows up in a mech suit with grappling-hook-scarred-but-still-alive Riley (Gina Carano) to bust Deckard out of the joint. The Shaw Brothers (get it) become a Master Blaster type pair with driver Owen strapped to asskicker Deckard’s back.

4. underwater

5. Chase through Venice with amphibious cars

Appendix B: people and things from previous entries they still could bring back

1. Leon (Johnny Strong), the only surviving member of the original FAST gang who has not returned

2. Torretto’s Market

3. Suki (Devon Aoki) and her pink car

4. Twinkie (Bow Wow) and his Hulk car

5. The original Drift King (Brian Tee), who has gone through hard times and must learn to respect Sean

6. His uncle the honorable Yakuza (Sonny Chiba)

7. The Racer’s Edge auto shop

8. Clay (Zachery Ty Bryan), the bully from the TOKYO DRIFT opening, who I think should be a corrupt senator who tries to pull funding from Mr. Nobody’s agency because he’s in with weapons manufacturers who make money off of the conflicts he tries to stop

Appendix C: Stunt-coordinator Spiro Razatos

Remember when I reviewed the MANIAC COP movies and I talked about stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos, and how he did all these insane stunts in the middle of New York City, like the Maniac Cop driving a car while on fire? He’s also the stunt coordinator on FASTs FIVE, 6 and SEVEN. My buddy Aaron Stewart tipped me off to this video of teenage Razatos’s crazy backyard stunts on Super-8:

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 4th, 2015 at 6:23 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

108 Responses to “Furious Seven”

  1. Good swag, Vern.

    The climax’s depiction of collateral damage to the town I sometimes call home is difficult to reconcile
    (~~MAN OF STEEL thinkpiece flashback~~),
    but I choose to believe that aspect of the film is mitigated (or enhanced) by the newscaster saying “what can only be described as vehicular warfare” and then cutting to static — that edit is a meta-statement on the need to ignore realness (‘vehicular warfare’) and give oneself over to ridiculousness (*cut to nothing; turn off your intellectual faculties*), to fully suspend any & all disbelief.

    Other things I liked:

    -“Dwayne” “Johnson” opening credit sliding apart with the elevator doors

    -a Seagalogical amount of broken glass in that first fight scene

    -tons of F&F fan service in the script, but none of it harmfully intrusive or stupid

    -the second unit should be nominated for Best Director or something

    -that “camera rolls with the person being flipped/slammed” visual gimmick was most perfectly utilized in the carpet-kidnap shot of ACT OF VALOR

    -the Golden Hour sun lending its glow to the Abu Dhabi skyscraper-supercar stunt

    -etc.

  2. It really feels to me like these are movies about an outlaw sense of justice and, though most people may not recognize it yet, when they handed the ‘God’s Eye’ over to Mr. Nobody, the series jumped the shark. What was once a story about a cop who goes native and becomes a member of a team of outlaws has now evolved into a series where a group of outlaws helps build the next generation of PRISM technology. And I’m not talking about aiding Dr Luke in producing for the follow up to Katy Perry’s last record.

    Like, there is no way that God’s Eye will ever be used for anything except evil. Literally the first thing they use it for is murderous revenge.

    These people started out a street toughs, how does no one even blink at the prospect of handing this horrifying, Orwell-esque technology over to a black ops governmental agent who clearly has no accountability? Especially when they’re trying to use said technology to track down another member of the black-ops community who presents a very different endgame for such figures.

    Our heroes are literally working hand in hand with these guys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDODC0mgQ68

    I don’t see how they can recover from this.

  3. Unless Fast 8 is the team vs the Koch Brothers. That would be amazing. Maybe a cross over between Fast and Furious and Step Up: Revolution

  4. Their primary-ish mission is to recover the chica who happens to be responsible for designing God’s Eye, and the F&F crew don’t even care about that aspect of the narrative except that it’s what Kurt Russell’s character (who drops in out of nowhere) tells them to do. It’s not important that she is the software developer responsible for a heinous hacking-tracking app, just as in FAST 5 it was not important to secure that guy’s $10,000,000 at the first heist. The word “MacGuffin” comes to mind.

    Other plot problems you could easily identify include, say, Statham so easily invisibly infiltrating Agent Hobbs’s office space, which, though it is ostensibly a supertopsecret NatSec facility, has precisely zero security personnel nearby to slow Statham or prevent him from downloading shit onto his thumb drive.

    The FURIOUS SEVEN screenplay is terrible. And FURIOUS SEVEN is a good movie.

  5. I don’t mind Statham being a ghost. Part of his set up as a character is that he is a ghost. He – and only he – has license to behave in that manner.

    The heroes of the movie ARE PAST CRIMINALS. Part criminals who all understand the unfair nature of the legal system quite acutely (Double crossing cop in 2F2F, Dom getting the maximum sentence in spite of helping the gov’t out). How in the name of all that is thematically consistent can a series about the difference between legal justice and street justice, starring an entire crew of characters who spent most of a decade as fugitives from justice after a (semi)wrongful conviction not recognize how INSANELY EVIL God’s Eye is, even on a surface level.

    Every single one of these characters should be thinking of dozens of instances of personal experience the moment God’s Eye is brought up. It shouldn’t take but 3 seconds to realize how fuckin’ horrifying God’s Eye is as a concept. How fundamentally anti-american. How fundamentally destructive it could/will be to the entire human race. How could they not destroy this technology by the end of the film? You know, like Escape from New York?

    I’m utterly shocked that this sellout move hasn’t been discussed by anyone else. This is like when the Yippies went on to become stock brokers.

  6. Vern, I suspect your opinion of FURIOUS SEVEN will evolve over time, as mine has in only a week since I saw it. I of course agree it’s not as good as SIX or as cohesive as FIVE, but that’s where I got to thinking a little more meta about it. We may always wonder what the original version of FURIOUS SEVEN would have been, but not only will we never know, it kind of became something more than just the story it was telling.

    We were all worried they were rushing FURIOUS SEVEN a year later, but if they hadn’t, Paul Walker wouldn’t have been in the film at all. Had they waited a normal amount of time to begin the sequel, we would have lost him and they would have had to write a sequel without Brian anyway. But because we all experienced the loss on some level, the film became what it needed to be: A tribute, and a way for those of us who really didn’t even know him could collectively grieve.

    I’ll probably end up writing about this when I review the Blu-ray but I’m starting to think of the movie’s CGI Brian shots in a sort of spiritual context. First of all, bravo to the filmmakers for not turning it into a showy gimmick. This isn’t like the Young Jeff Bridges in TRON LEGACY where they showed it full frontal, and way too much. This was tastefully bridging the gaps in production, but the point was never to show they could digitally recreate a passed away actor. In fact, knowing we all knew what they had to do, they did their best to keep him obscured, from behind, or pressed up against cracked windows (that was a clever one) when they had to.

    Yet, it’s so obvious when Walker wasn’t really in the scene. I was actually surprised how little it seemed he had actually shot. I suppose here begins SPOILER TERRITORY. I’m thinking the minivan scene, Han’s funeral, the team meeting in Mr. Nobody’s auto shop, the mountain bus sequence, the Abu Dhabi car scene and the phone call to Mia (which Wan said Jordana Brewster had to shoot her end after he’d died, my God). I might be forgetting one, and some of those sequences account for weeks or months of shooting, but not a lot.

    God, I hope it’s not insensitive to think this but I’ve got to share. It feels like the scenes where he’s duplicated or obscured or off to the side, that’s a ghost. It represents what would have happened in the story and we all understand it narratively, but the real Walker weaves in and out of the film with this ephemeral specter until of course the final scenes which are totally created in tribute to him. I even think that the last Brian who says goodbye to Dom isn’t even the real Brian cinematically. It’s a ghost that Dom sees, because while Brian O’Conner is living on the beach with his family forever, he’s really gone to us, to Dom’s future, and of course to the real Vin.

    So that has deepened my appreciation for the film after my initial viewing, which I enjoyed too. This is what I mean. It’s not just a finished film. It’s a finished film with parts that represent something greater, whether I’m reading too much into them myself or not. I do sort of hope Mia shows up in future adventures with reports of how Brian is off on his own awesome adventures, but it’s probably best to leave that alone.

    Oh, The Rock was always meant to have a minimized role. The scene from the Furious 6 Blu-ray already confirms Hobbs was laid up and I imagined this was around the time he was shooting Hercules.

  7. Shall we also say how awesomely Walker held his own against Tony Fucking Jaa in that bus scene? Tony may have been holding back, but I fully believed they were evenly matched.

  8. I really enjoyed this one. I see now after reading Vern’s review how the motivations weren’t set up as well as in the previous films, but I’ll love it mostly for the complexity of the set pieces. I didn’t really feel that the camera work and editing was all that bad, it felt on par with the previous Lin films for me. I also had a thought about how the series has evolved. Everyone points out how they went from boosting DVD players to fighting mercenaries, and I felt like this film was addressing that with how Mr. Nobody and Deckard kept reminding Dom how their world doesn’t play by his rules. It was the series acknowledging how much it has evolved, but without being overly meta about it. They just worked it naturally into the storyline. The ending was really emotional too. My theatre was incredibly rowdy. The moment Statham appeared on screen they started cheering, and kept cheering throughout just about every badass moment or one-liner. They clapped on four separate occasions. Everyone was quiet during the end though, they had enough respect for that. Anyone else have a similar audience?

    As for the sequel, they should throw in some time travel so that for the poster they can flip the 8 on its side and turn it into an infinity symbol. That or robot Han. I really just have no idea where they can go with this now that isn’t science fiction.

  9. Mouth – I considered playing the “if the destruction in MAN OF STEEL tears your soul apart why did you not even bat an eye at this you comic book weiners” card, but I’m retired from that game.

    Tawdry – I think you have a really good point, but I honestly assume this is setup for the next installment. Clearly something more is meant to happen with Mr. Nobody and most likely with God’s Eye. Also they have its creator and hacker on their side. (But actually did Mr. Nobody even end up with it at the end?) They can’t just become sanctioned government agents, can they? They will be outlaws again.

    Fred – Thanks for your post, I love it. But I really couldn’t tell which parts weren’t really Walker, other than the final shot of him driving, which I suspected was taken from a previous scene. The part on the beach I kept thinking wasn’t him because it was from the back or his face obscured, but then they showed his face. I guess that was probly the one digital shot in that scene, but it reminds me of THE CROW when I assumed the double had to be in that stupid footage of him playing guitar on a roof top with his face in shadows and then I found out no, they actually shot that with Brandon Lee and thought it would be cool. (It was a different time.)

    But that was really him at Han’s funeral, because that scene was on the FURIOUS 6 dvd that was manufactured before his death. When I saw it I assumed they’d cut out the awesome “no more funerals” exchange.

    Evan – I had to go to a 1:30 pm show (couldn’t wait) so I missed out on a rodwy crowd. Maybe on my second viewing. Seems appropriate.

  10. Tawdry: I see where you’re coming from, and in a series with real-world implications, you’d be 100% right. But isn’t the foundational theme of F&F about trusting people you have no reason to and being rewarded for it? Dom trusted Brian and got a family out of it. They all trusted Hobbes and got their lives back. Now they’re trusting Mr. Nobody, whom everyone, including the guy who wrote the score for his scenes, expected to double-cross them. But he didn’t, and that’s the master stroke. He’s The Man, but he’s an outlaw too. He’s got the full might of the U.S. government at his disposal, but clearly what he really wants is what Dom has: a family who will have his back into the pits of fuckin’ hell if that’s what it takes. And now, because he trusted Dom, he has it. If Mr. Nobody calls, the team comes running, and vice versa. That’s what this series is all about.

    Plus, as Vern pointed out, I’m pretty sure God’s Eye didn’t end up in government hands at the end. I think it was destroyed in the helicopter, and its creator was part of Dom’s crew, so I don’t think the tech is out there. They could have addressed it, but I like the outrageous twist of Mr. Nobody not doing an obvious heel turn better.

    As for the movie as a whole, I agree that it’s not as strong as FIVE or 6, but that’s like saying a black hole isn’t as impressive as a supermassive black hole. This movie really illustrated that the success of this series is in its commitment to its character’s emotions as expressed through ridiculous action. The stunts are like arias in an opera, extensions of the inner life of the characters performing them. This movie was pure catharsis. It took all this negative energy, tossed it out of an airplane and kicked it down a mountain until it landed down at the bottom a twisted mass of beauty and strength. it has plot holes and missed opportunities, sure. But focusing on them is like fixing the grammar in a love letter.

  11. Well said Mr. M

  12. I vehemently disagree, Mr. Maj.

    I think that fast five worked because of one particular scene: rock vs diesel. More specifically, the big manly set piece ended on a sincere character beat of Dom raises that wrench in the air and then stops. It’s a moment that perfectly encapsulates the character’s evolution through action. He was a beast: now he is a man. The system didn’t clean dom up, love and family cleaned dom up.

    Compare that to 7, wherein Dom’s previous violent crimes are again referenced, but now it’s a joke that he has two cartoonishly large wrenches.

    People aren’t noticing because of the wallop that is the walker send off. But this is the end of the line for the series. They’re no longer outlaws who depend on each other for survival and meaning. Now they are private mercenaries doing the government’s bidding. The family element is diluted massively by this.

  13. Loved it. Both thrilling and touching, and really impressive for a first time action movie director.

    Vern- What role would you see Sean playing on this team? Because with all due respect to him, he’s not on most of their level. He can drive…and that’s about it. He wasn’t depicted as a particularly great fighter in TOKYO DRIFT, and there was no other expertise besides the racing/mechanical ones that were shown. Plus he hasn’t even graduated high school yet. Though I kinda want to see Dom show up to try to recruit him, only for Sean’s dad to object.

    Dom: I need him. For my Family.

    Sean’s Dad: Well he’s MY Family, and I’m not letting him put himself at risk again.

    Dom: But…Family.

    Also the villain from 2 should make a cameo training a sniper rifle on Roman, saying “I see you now you little shit”, only for Dom to suddenly appear saying “The only thing you’re about to see is Pitch Black” and then knock him the fuck out.

    SPOILER thoughts/observations follow:

    -Han’s full name is Han Seoul-Oh? Dammmn.

    -The Shaw Brothers have to be supersoldiers or something. Owen surviving that plane explosion was pushing it, but then Deckard is able to take a parking lot collapsing on top of him and doesn’t have any visible injuries at the end. They’re like next generation UNISOLs.

    -So the house that gets blown up…everyone in the Toretto/O’Conner family was living there? Dom and Letty and Brian and Mia and Jack? Nothing wrong with that I suppose, but you’d think Dom might give the couple a bit of space.

    -I get the feeling a number of things would have been cut for time and will show up as DVD/Blu-ray extras, like a scene tying up Ramsey’s involvement in things (since she kind disappears once he hacking job is done) and possibly the God’s Eye with it too. Also did that thing with Tej and Roman fighting with her have a conclusion?

    -What’s the deal with Elena being such a quitter? In Five, she’d introduced as this driven cop who’s committed to cleaning up the streets her husband died from, but because ONE drug lord is taken out, she’s able to just up and leave to go live abroad, because presumably no one else will fill that power vacuum? Then at the end of SIX, she joins the DSS as Hobbs new partner, only to be leaving at the start of this movie? Can’t she stick with anything for five minutes?

    -Hobbs being a single father to a cute little girl like that makes me want to see him in his own spinoff even more.

    -I don’t buy that Jaa’s character died. We never saw a body so there’s an easy out that maybe he grabbed onto a ledge as he was falling after the thing dragging him down hit the ground.

    -You’d think they’d be able to get some backup for the final fight in L.A. If not from official sources (especially since a wanted terrorist was at large in a major US city) then from the local friends. Remember how in 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS they got all the Miami street racers to drive out of those garages at once to camouflage Brian and Roman’s escape? They could have did something similar to that for the Ramsey switches.

    -I liked how Hounsou is the only character new to this movie who seems at all phased by the ridiculous shit that Dom and his crew pull. He keeps having reactions like “WHAT?! SHIT!!” during the climax.

    -Has Dom always been depicted as this strong? I can’t off the top of my head remember him doing something like lifting the car like he did before.

    -I kinda wanted to see Dom sipping some belgian ale in the final scene.

  14. Tawdry: I agree with you if we’re talking about a world that shares the same basic rules as ours. But we’re not. The F&Fiverse is insular and individualistic. It’s a world where a man forms an alliance with another man, and that alliance is sacred and all-encompassing. Hobbes can promise immunity even after hijacking a military convoy at gunpoint. Brian can become an FBI agent even after all of his transgressions because one man believed in him. There is no greater world beyond the borders of the screen. Ergo, Dom & Co. did not sell out to the government; they made a deal with Mr. Nobody, who honored his end of the bargain and became a fight brother of theirs. The series cannot see further ahead than that; it lives its sociopolitical ramifications a quarter-mile at a time.

  15. I think the secret to this series’ success is it’s one of the few blockbuster franchises where audiences actually give a shit about the characters, no one cared about Shia Labeouf or Megan Fox’s characters in the Transformers flicks which is why they were able to replace them and no one cared, but people have really grown to love the characters in F&F.

    Secondly it’s the fact that like you said Vern it’s very multi-ethnic and multicultural in ways no other blockbuster franchise is, so it draws in people who may not be into Batman or whatever.

    And finally the series has been able to go on so long because fundamentally it was not about street racing per se, but about cars (and the characters that drive them), that’s why it was able to evolve from being strictly about street racing to something larger smoothly.

  16. Full agreement that this will be remembered mostly for being Walker’s farewell. It might be a compromised version of what was originally intended, but nearly everything that’s left has been done better (albeit not as big) previously. The characterizations are spinning their wheels, the plot is little more than a giant showpiece excuse machine, and those showpieces have gotten too outlandish and consequence-free: How many times does one of heroes emerge unscathed because another hero somehow arrives out of nowhere to take down the threat? (At least three – and that’s not including the headslam-against-red-button-at-the-exact-right-time bit, or the spilled-haul-as-cover bit, or the hey-we’re-travelling-under-this-bridge-at-precisely-the-right-moment, and on and on.) There’s more happening than ever; less would have been better. With fewer cutaways, the remaining stuff would have had to really work. Now there’s a high percentage of stunts and story that don’t convince or even matter.

  17. Stu – I see it as something like “For this we’re gonna need a world class drifter. And I happen to know the king.”

    (Although, as my friend pointed out to me earlier today, Dom doesn’t lose races except on purpose, so did he beat Sean in that off screen race, and if so is he now considered the Drift King?)

    Part of the appeal of TOKYO DRIFT is that he is just a dude and is very fallible, but that doesn’t mean they can’t tranform him into one of the more super hero type characters of the subsequent movies. I mean, did we know Tej could do martial arts before this one?

  18. I loved that Tej fight, because Tej is all about making you underestimate him and then whipping out previously unsuspected skill sets. When he was first introduced, he was just some puffy-haired dufus who ran a garage and emceed some races. Then we find out that he’s a tech genius. Then he takes his shirt off and we see how ripped he is. Then he reveals himself as an expert safe-cracker. Then we find out that he’s actually suaver with the ladies than Roman. So it doesn’t surprise me that he’s had mad ass-kicking skills locked in storage this whole time. Like the man said, “I had a life before you knew me.”

  19. “The series cannot see further ahead than that; it lives its sociopolitical ramifications a quarter-mile at a time.”

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all week. And I read a lot of comedy scripts for work.

  20. “The characterizations are spinning their wheels, the plot is little more than a giant showpiece excuse machine, and those showpieces have gotten too outlandish and consequence-free…”

    Exactly right, Inspector Li. The series has now effectively painted itself into a corner and reached critical mass. It now either becomes bigger still and runs the risk of verging on self-parody, or it narrows its focus and tries for something less elaborate (goin’ old school). My guess is that whoever has final say will take the first option, which IMO would severely wound the series with part 8, and then kill it with part 9.

    The second option is trickier. They’d have to begin part 8 with Toretto & crew handling some challenging problem for Mr. Nobody, and upon its conclusion Toretto runs into one of his old friends (maybe Hector?… since he just reappeared. Vince would’ve been perfect, but he’s gone), who then asks him “What happened to you, man?”… calls him out for selling out to The Man. Then Toretto becomes unusually ruminative, has a crisis of conscience, and talks it through with Letty.

    Shortly thereafter, he gathers the crew for The Big Speech (no gettin’ around it: Dom loves giving ’em), and proceeds to wax obvious about how they’ve lost their core values, the importance of family, blah blah, etc. And the second half of the movie is all about them going down a different path (anyone’s guess as to what would be plausible yet still audience-engaging). Could work, but the bean counters at Universal would have a shitfit at the mere idea of it.

  21. If they keep expanding the family and occasionally killing characters off. You could turn this into a James bond style franchise with more continuity.

  22. Vern – Personally I think its pretty obvious how Lucas Black will fit into this team if think about it.

    Consider it the same way Spider-Man will probably fit in the Avengers in their next few post-AGE OF ULTRON movies. He’s the new guy, or compared to others on the team a much more inexperienced guy trying to cut the mustard at this hero/driving game. Or basically Diesel will be doing the mentor trope.

    I mean TOKYO DRIFT, Black had his adventure. Now he’s knee deep in shit that’s much bigger and more dangerous and he’ll have to man up and prove his salt.

    (Personally I think Dom let Black win in Tokyo.)

    “I considered playing the “if the destruction in MAN OF STEEL tears your soul apart why did you not even bat an eye at this you comic book weiners” card, but I’m retired from that game.”

    Oh Vern. Vern Vern Vern Vern. WHEN are you going to learn that people who bitched about MOS weren’t really bitching about that thing in MOS as much as how they were disappointed by it or didn’t care for it? That whole “disaster porn” complaining was just a bitchy coat rake for them to hang their hats on. If they had liked the film, we wouldn’t have been hearing as much complaining about that or the neck breaking or whatever.

    Alot of them didn’t like MOS. But they give F7 a pass for doing it too…because they liked it much more. WILL WONDERS EVER CEASE?

    Or put it another way, AGE OF ULTRON promises alot of destruction. If nerds like it, they’ll give it a pass for the destruction too. Not exactly rocket science.

  23. I wonder if, Han and Gisele aside, the makers are afraid to kill characters off. The series snapped back to big money life when the original foursome were reunited in #4, and now even the bad guys have a great survival rate.

    Everyone acknowledges the joy of the loopy timeline and the soapy character developments, but perhaps overlooked is how fantastic seeing the cool-but-likable local racers evolve into globehopping operatives has been. The audience’s unique bond to the characters came from them not being static – but based on Furious Seven the characters are now largely fixed, and the attraction is “familiar folks in bigger hijinx.” Furious Seven is obviously a huge financial bonanza, but I hope the makers realize that they’re kind of coasting on what made F&F special. This series can go on forever, but not if maintenance is limited to crazier and crazier stunts.

  24. Vern – have you considered actually writing a book about these movies? I mean you were advocating for them from the beginning, long before it was mainstream critically acceptable to do so and you see so much more into these movies in themes and why alot of folks enjoy them that only many critics recently have caught up to you on pointing out.

    I think you would knock this fucker out of the park. You should legitimately think about doing it.

  25. Inspector Li – Somebody I know compared that group to the Avengers, and both actually have a similaritiy in that the rosters (in the Avengers’ own comics anyway) weren’t static. Members came and went, killed off or quit or whatever. I think the same will be the case with this Fast group going forward.* I mean we all agree Brewster aint coming back, right? That hacker chick I’m assuming will join the group in their next few adventures alongside Lucas Black. So that’s some change already.

    I’ll tell you what’s weird: how twice F7 made a point of Dom feeling left out, a man missing out on something when he saw Walker/Brewster with their kid, or finding out hey Hobbes has a kid himself. Even Stevie Wonder can see where they’re going with that. (Or was it simply part of his subplot with Rodriguez?)

    *=Either all those players drop out because they’re tired of doing these films or because they become too expensive for Universal (I’m looking at you Dwayne Johnson). I mean that’s why Marvel is introducing Scarlet Witch and Vision and Dr. Strange and Antman and Black Panther and whoever, new people to take over the roster spots going forward once Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans and so forth complete their contracts.

  26. RRA is right. Vern, you should write a book about the franchise. .I would definitely buy that book and show it to my friends who are Non-Furiousists and prove to them that these films are actually worth watching.

  27. I think you got a good point Inspector Li. Doesn’t make sense that Statham went all the way over to tokyo to kill Han when he had almost every chance easily to kill the rest of the group in dom’s presence. But then again as a plot device, tokyo drift being the one the shoot itself in the foot for having killed him off makes sense to have one die at least. Like Majestyk said, i’ll have to just forgive the errors and enjoy it for what it was. I loved it, though not as good as 5 or 6 it was still very fitting to the series. Expectations were high for this one but wan still pulled it off despite the problems.

    I really think it should end here, this was the only way to do it. Unless they somehow fit Dom into the origin of XXX with Mr. Nobody it just wouldn’t feel right.

    possible sequel scenarios/casting

    -Statham is actually the guy from Italian Job, has Mark Wahlberg and the transformers to bust him out. Transformers, italian job, and FF universes combine just like they said they would. Enter in Hobbs, being roadblock the whole time as FF series is the tokyo drift to GI JOE as will have been Tyrese’s character with transformers for a GI JOE/TRANSFORMERS/ITALIAN JOB/FASTANDFURIOUS SEQUEL PREQUEL OF THE UNIVERSES..s..s

    -Channing Tatum. Hear me out guys, but i have theory that had he been cast in Tokyo Drift Channing he would’ve made a better Sean. The series probably would’ve taken another direction but he would’ve fit right in with the group. See mountain dew commercial.

    -Sylvester Stallone as Dom’s dad. Just to hear the voice exchange between him and vin. And also, because Kurt Russell used to work with him, and he can refer back to their tango and cash days working together. Wink wink

    -Bruce Willis, of course.

    -George Clooney, bring in Danny Ocean/Jack Foley into the mix. Or just bring Dom’s remainding group into the ocean’s fold.

    I think i remember reading this theory how Vern said how the FF hype was a precursor to the Avengers movie. Just getting everyone together for an exciting event. Makes alot of sense to what RRA was saying too. And it’s kinda crazy how I see the new mission impossible movie trying to emulate that FF formula.

    Anyway, It’s tough to replace anyone as everything has almost happened organically through time. We can’t just have another white guy in the group, or an asian guy. Which is why i hope they choose to end it with this one at it’s peak. Sure the set pieces were nice but alot of it was getting exhausting to watch. Even Tyrese’s shtick was getting old. But i loved it, flaws and all. I just hope they don’t drag it out even though it’s already starting to show. This tribute combined with the tragedy just makes it the perfect bookend to everything before it.

  28. I liked that suggestion somebody online had about getting all the surviving villains from this franchise team up with one single objective: Going after Dom’s gang. Owen Shaw wakes up from his coma, he busts his brother from jail. They do the same for Braga and Verone.

    Then in the ending fight when our heroes are outgunned/outmanned, Sonny Chiba shows up with an army of hitmen…to help Dom’s group out.

    I don’t know, somebody help me here.

  29. Thanks for the book encouragement, RRA. I have thought about it before, but I don’t know. Maybe some day.

    Also to be completely honest I didn’t see the first one until video and going over the old reviews I discovered that I didn’t actually get around to 2 FAST until after seeing TOKYO DRIFT in the theater. But from that day on I was a vocal proponent of the quarter mile lifestyle and I found it pretty funny seeing the conventional wisdom catch up with me five years later.

  30. What do you think of TORQUE, Vern? It makes a good companion piece to the F&F series.

  31. Maybe someone have already suggested it; but how about in a potential FA8T having both of the “Shaw Brothers” join the team for some flimsy reason? To get the cooperation of Owen, Dom and his crew has to bust Deckard out of prison and there is this suspicion in the beginning that grows into manly manbonding at the end.

  32. Latino Review is claiming they’re trying to get Eva Mendes back for Fast 8.

  33. I definitely think they should bring in Lucas Black to fill the role of Dom’s little brother character, and, whether as villain or new crew member I think this series could use Byung Hun Lee.

  34. John Singleton brought up something recently about how Ludacris’ inclusion in this franchise originally wasn’t supposed to happen. According to him, Ja Rule was supposed to come back and reprise his first film’s gig but he wanted too much money so he (and his character) were replaced with Ludacris.

    Ludacris should send Ja Rule some champagne sometime.

  35. I suppose they could redeem themselves if they work with Mr. Nobody in 8, then somehow team up with the Shaw Brothers in 9 to face off against the clearly corrupt organization that Mr. Nobody represents in 9… if they can survive an entire movie as government stooges who help to bring about a 1984-esque world.

  36. Great review, I enjoyed this addition to the series just as much as I enjoyed 5 & 6 (5 is still the best). I could have done with less of the Lettie & Dom romance and more of the Rock, but it featured some great action (the mountain top sequence is awesome) and was fun despite the cloud of Paul Walker’s passing kind of hanging over the film. I don’t have a lot to add that hasn’t already been said but there are a couple things I noticed that haven’t been mentioned.

    I love that the Rock doesn’t even wear sleeves even when he is at the office.

    I also think John Woo would be proud of the way Brian used the little four wheeled cart during the shootout in the finale.

    As much as I liked the film I am kind of hoping they don’t make any more F&F films. I am down with a Hobbs spin off that features Dom or some other members of the F&F universe, but this franchise should ride off into the sunset with Brian.

  37. I forgot to mention that little HARD BOILED bit. That was great.

    And actually I had not until now considered the possibility that Hobbs could be promoted to co-lead, and it could shift to being primarily about the bro-ship between he and Dom. Hmmm.

  38. Felix, Vern reviewed TORQUE when it was new and he was one of the few only people who actually gave it a positive review

    http://www.outlawvern.com/2006/07/22/torque/

  39. Also: Joseph Kahn posts here sometimes.

  40. Perhaps I went in with the wrong expectations, but I really disliked this movie. It felt like there was less emphasis placed on the distinctive heart and personality of the series and more on turning it into a generic blockbuster franchise. I actually hated the display of Tej’s fight skills. That moment is kind of representative of what I don’t like about this entry’s style.

    When I think about character-focused moments I love from the previous movies, examples that pop up would be the post-race conversation between Dom and Letty as the camera revolves around them in part 6 and the way Dom reacts to the news that Mia is pregnant in part 5, right after they’ve been through this insane chase. Aside from the moving ending, I don’t think there’s anything really like those moments in Furious 7. The movie does try, but there’s something about the delivery of these scenes that feels so rushed and unconvincingly melodramatic. I think the intrusive score is certainly a part of the problem.

    I enjoyed some of the action, but Lin’s movies had a much better sense of pacing and tension, including a great ability to deliver big payoff moments. The action scenes in part 7 seem more interested in throwing more and more at you at a faster and faster pace until it becomes dull.

    I don’t know, maybe I’ll appreciate it more on a rewatch, and Wan and the cast and crew obviously had to overcome a lot to even complete the movie, let alone deliver a commercial and critical success, but I was shocked at how disappointed I was.

  41. I think they could do some cool stuff with Hobbs and Dom working together as heads of an elite IMF style task force backed by Kurt Russell’s character, and they should bring Statham back as well. Some big time baddie (the bandit Burt Reynolds????) looking to fill the vacuum in the criminal underworld created by the Shaw brother’s being sidelined makes a power grab and kills the younger Shaw brother while he is in police custody. This prompts Statham to break out of jail to get revenge on his brother’s killer and at some point forge an uneasy temporary alliance with Hobbs and Dom in his quest for revenge. Then the stage would be set for the reveal that Russell’s character has been the puppet master pulling the strings all along from the shadows and playing each side off the other for his own benefit and/or profit. Hobbs, Dom, and big brother Shaw would thwart Russell’s plans, but in the process Hobbs & Dom would become outlaws. Then in the 9th film Hobbs & Dom while on the run from the law and Shaw would try and put the band/team back together for a special heist/adventure to raise money to save the local orphanage from foreclosure.

    PS: Yes I am aware that my idea for F&F 9 strongly resembles the plot to the BLUES BROTHERS, but this is a franchise that was launched by a remake of another film.

    PPS: In all seriousness the idea of Hobbs & Dom on the wrong side of the law like a modern day Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid could be awesome.

  42. I’m with Vern on this one. Actually I’d go a little further and say it’s not a pimple on the ass of the last 2 entries.

    I’m gonna go old school Broddie with this one and really go in depth for a bit so either indulge me or step off cause there be spoilers.

    First off I was never very active in the FURIOUS SIX thread certainly not like I was with FAST FIVE. With that said I still enjoyed it fairly much. The one thing I feel FURIOUS 7 regresses with is the execution of the action and it’s the most glaring flaw. Wan just isn’t Lin. James Wan didn’t really get what makes the absurdity and execution of the action the biggest charm of TF&F: The Original 21st Century Movie Franchise (TM). I don’t think it was fair to ever expect that but a little more consistency would’ve been nice.

    The setpieces just weren’t inventive enough for me. It had the same problem as THE AVENGERS were it decides to spread generic by the numbers micro setpieces across instead of making one or two stand out setpieces the shit because so much more thought went into them simply because it was 1 or 2. Which is where I would give something like THE DARK KNIGHT RISES which I disliked as much as AVENGERS the nod. It focused on really making the chases and Batman vs. Bane resonate a lot more because they had more time dedicated to them on the creative end.

    This is a movie where I see Jason FUCKING Statham fight BOTH Vin Diesel and The Rock. Yet there is absolutely nothing in this movie on the level of the foot chase, Rock vs. Diesel and giant chase with a vault attached from FAST FIVE. Or even on the level of something like Not Orlando Bloom in armored kart at the beginning of part 6 and then a tank causing absolute fucking mayhem towards the end of it. What about when Joe Taslim gets to be Joe Taslim on screen and manhandles Tyrese and Han like it was nothing?

    This one couldn’t achieve any of that with Tony Jaa cause we hardly even get to digest whatever the fuck he is really doing against Paul Walker in that vehicle. With Taslim Lin really let the geography and choreography flow and speak for itself to the point that it really hits people hard. I can’t even tell you how many times I told people go “you liked that? you should see THE RAID: REDEMPTION” while watching that. Where as my I don’t recall telling my buddy “you like that? check out ONG-BAK” at any point early this afternoon.

    Now I didn’t like the highly popular airplane sequence from the last movie much at all. I felt it was too uncoordinated and dark. It also felt extremely superflous by that point. Tank raising hell should’ve been the big finale. Only thing that really got me was Giselle’s selfless death and what it meant for Han. It literally got a tear out of my eye but outside of that I enjoyed crazy go karts, Taslin vs. Han and Roman and tank on the warpath much better as setpieces the last time around. Nevertheless in that regard FURIOUS 7 is BULLIT compared to numero seis.

    Only thing that got slightly close was the Vin and Rock team up of leaving a bag full of grenades in a helicopter and then shooting said bag to ignite it. However that wasn’t as cool as their tag team finisher from the last movie. Quite frankly Bruce vs. Helicopter in DIE HARD 4.0 was a better version of that scene too. What I did like that Wan did though was his focuses on the family bonding which we all know is the true heart of the franchise. He did exponentially well there till he got too hammy and on the nose towards the end. This is coming from a Grant Morrison fan so I’m used to metatext but this really was OD.

    Speaking of that anybody want to put some money down on them overturning that down the line by having Brian killed off because we know Mia is practically Dom’s daughter so it’s almost impossible to not have her appear in future movies? It wasn’t even consistent with part 6 where he’s all “well I would like a family life but this crazy shit we do is where I really belong”. Like they forgot they explored that subplot in the last movie and resolved it or something. I get why they forced it back in but that was enough to get me to rank this on the lower tier when it comes to the overall franchise.

    When it comes to that tier I’ll break it down like this. I’ve never liked THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS thought it was ok at best. 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS was cool when I saw it with my boys cause we basically mocked all of it including the sheer homo eroticness and also loved that it gave James Remar a paycheck. We certainly didn’t enjoy it in the way John Singleton and Neil Moritz intended us to though. Nevertheless I am 14 and 12 years respectively removed from when I last saw those movies and though still can’t fahom rewatching them despite my love for the franchise overall; What I will say is that I personally feel FURIOUS 7 fits in with them more than it does with TOKYO DRIFT, FAST FIVE, FAST AND FURIOUS 6 and FURIOUS 7.

    TOKYO DRIFT is a personal favorite. It was what rekindled my faith in a franchise that I originally thought was dead on arrival. It was THE KARATE KID in Japan with cars and hot chicks. Where can you go wrong with that?

    I still haven’t seen FAST AND FURIOUS all the way through. So by default it’s my least favorite because I can’t even sit through the whole thing. Nevertheless FURIOUS 7 is down there with that one though again as I didn’t like the first 2 enough to ever watch them again by proxy that makes 7 the best of the lower 4. I just hope that

  43. sorry I hit enter by mistake.

    I meant to say at the end there that I hope Wan is able to be more refocused and familiar with what he’s dealing with next time around. If he really is doing part 8 that is. I only knew him from the first 2 SAW movies and wasn’t really impressed with his transition to action filmatism very much.

    I do like one thing though. Both Not Orlando Bloom and Statham are still around. That is fucking great because it leaves so much potential for further world building. Especially with Vin wanting Michael Caine in the series and Helen Miren wanting a piece of the action. Imagine that fucking family vs. the Torreto Crew for 2 more movies? shit man that is a premise to filled with potential.

    Another gripe. I waited 9 years for Sean Vs. Dom and you give me the aftermath? the fuck?!? also consistency between Dom’s wardrobe in TOKYO DRIFT and FURIOUS 7 during the Tokyo bits would’ve been nice. It was cool though that both Russell and Statham got to channel some of their career best roles though. With Statham’s Shaw Brother we see a bit of the Transporter some Lee Christmas and a tad of WAR. With Russell we see some Gabe Cash, a definite amount of Jack Burton and some Snake Plissken via night vision. It was so fucking cool made me hope we’d see Harrison Ford as his brother Bruce as their cousin and Sean Connery as their mentor in the next couple of movies.

  44. One last thing. You got Ronda Rousey in the movie but I see no cross armbar applied to Michie Rodriguez? really though?!

  45. Gonna go back on the “one last thing” comment cause lack of Hobbs was also pretty criminal. Was he also shooting HERCULES during this or something?

  46. As great as the opening and the ending of FURIOUS 7 are, the movie itself was a more lackluster experience for me.

    The action scenes in FAST FIVE were big, but they were a integral part of the story and gave everyone something meaningful to do. Even the more ridiculous scenes in part 6 were at least emotionally true, like Dom saving Letty in mid-air.

    In FURIOUS 7 the action was just too overblown and out of character, with no consequences or emotional relevance.

    Why for example would risk Dom the lives of his family in the suicide mountain mission for a shady government operation? Just to get some informations that help to find Shaw, someone hat follows them everywhere to kill them anyway? This doesn’t make any sense. Not after they decided that the last thing they want is another funeral. They literally crash Brian into a truck full of armed and hostile bad guys. This can’t be the best plan, not if you want nothing more than him going home to Mia.

    When Shaw actually makes one of his many surprise appearances during this long action scene there isn’t much tension. They push him from the street, nobody has the time to look after him or chase him down. They are doing this to find him, why is the scene over when they have captured the hacker — and nobody even asks about Shaw? Did they forget?

    I had the same problems with the skyscraper jumping in Abu Dhabi.

    In both scenes it’s hard to believe this is the same Dom that makes such a fuss about the security of Brian and his family. How realistic is it that they survive all of this? If they don’t care, why should I? In Fast Five they fight for their lifes, here everybody seems to be in the Roger-Moore-Bond-era-mode.

    I’m not nitpicking in logical details. It’s great to have a ridiculously overblown action movie. But the characters, the family theme, the revenge story and the emotional farewell for Brian don’t work as good as they should in this environment.

    I would have preferred a leaner and more intense experience.

  47. Three additional thoughts.

    – James Wan’s wonderful DEATH SENTENCE shows that you can have spectacular action in a intense revenge movie. FURIOUS 7 didn’t need to be that dark, but some steps into this direction would have been great.

    – The last time I liked a funny and badass opening scene that much was in LOCKOUT.

    – There is a reason for the very lackluster death scene of Owen Shaw in FAST & FURIOUS 6 – he is alive. For no good reason in this installment. But yeah, now a Shaw-Brothers-teamup is possible.

  48. James Wan has said that he’s not doing another one. It was rumored that they were trying to get Lin back for one or two or three more (possibly two shot back to back MATRIX RELOADED/REVOLUTIONS style) but as far as has been reported nothing has been set yet. And with Lin looking like he will finally actually get to shoot one of the big blockbusters he’s hired for (STAR TREK: SPACE DRIFT) his availability is not guaranteed. But I haven’t heard any other names thrown out there.

  49. I was thinking maybe they could bring Gal Gadot back. Obviously when they killed her off they went planning on losing Walker, and with Brian gone we lose Mia. We need another badass female on the team, and if Owen Shaw can survive that fall so could she. Maybe she’s been in a coma and wakes up to rejoin the team in 8.

    Also, I know how much Vern loves Lucas Black and Tokyo Drift, but man I just can’t stand that guy. His accent is awful, he’s wooden, and not in a charming way. Not looking forward to having him included in the future.

    I say bring back Ted Levine!

  50. I have both of Vern’s book, highly recommend them for those that haven’t gotten it already. My question to you Vern is, will you do another one in the future or how about write a book on the whole fast & Furious franchise???? I’d buy 10 of them!

  51. jsixfingers – Nah she’ll be a tad too busy for next few years with a whole other mega-franchise.

    Vern – depends on scheduling, but that Lin rumor was reported before he took over Star Trek 3. If next entry is out ’17, Lin is not happening.

  52. Do a spin off movie with Hobbs. I like the idea of Dom and Hobbs as butch and sundance. Make a sequel or two. Then come back for furious 8 after a few years when it won’t seem as exploitative of Walker. I mean, it’s obviously not exploitative since they were planning 7-8-9 before walker died, but it will still feel off to many casual viewers. The Hobbs spin off would keep things fresh and add longevity to the whole. It would be FF8, just not in name. You could even get cameos from some of the crew. Do it like Sony’s bizarre Spider-Man universe plans. It would work better here, methinks.

  53. I don’t necessarily think a Luke Hobbs solo movie is such a great idea. What’s great about THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS is the ensemble. And look at every other movie The Rock has headlined solo. Even Hercules, which he was genetically made for, is already forgotten. I think a Hobbs movie is presumptuous. He’s a great supporting character. But I’d still see the shit out of it.

  54. FURIOUS ORIGINS:HOBBS

  55. Or maybe a spinoff for Stathams character. How he became a “monster”. A three part trilogy just like the Star Wars prequels.

  56. The funny thing is the moment I saw them bring back

    Elena

    I was like “oh she’s clearly still around to set up the eventual Hobbs spinoff”.

    There was one more thing about this movie that kinda irked me. Wasn’t a deal breaker but I felt that Dom trying to court Letty again provided a cool dynamic not often seen in blockbuster movies. How does the hero get the girl to fall deeply in love with him all over again? lots of cool dramatic potential there and they already went back on it after just one movie. I think she should’ve gotten her marbles back at least by part 8. Oh well.

  57. Fred, I agree with you that some of the magic of these films starting with the 5th entry is the ensemble cast and how they were able to reformat the series as a sort of suped up version of OCEANS 11 on steroids & NOS. However, too many members of that ensemble are gone and I am not sure they can maintain that same magic at this point without it feeling forced. Also, I think what has really made this series special is how it has reinvented itself and evolved over time, and I think at this point it is time for them to change things up again and go in a new direction.

  58. At this rate I fully expect the franchise to go FIRST CLASS and do prequel films. “How did Dom and Letty first meet?” Hey do it 1990s-era.

    (Univeral, don’t do this. I’m just spitballing here.)

  59. Imagine LETTY & DOM as a network television series in the spirit of OC…

  60. I can see it now: A prequel trilogy which ends with Dom’s sister complaining about some repeat asshole customer ordering the same crappy Tuna sandwich repeatedly.

  61. Actually, the Vudu digital streaming service sells the F&F film saga parts 1-6 presented chronology broken in 18 chapters/episodes as if it were a television show. They don’t edit anything out of the films they are just broken into chapters. It is a kind of cool way to revisit the series.

  62. Pretty clearly this franchise is/was building to a Sinister Six type scenario where all the villains from the previous films will join together to fight Dom and co. How that would play without Walker is questionable.

  63. About time Cole Hauser came back for revenge from 2 FAST.

  64. I’d like to see Kurt come back and take center stage. Have him drive a big rig that houses Dom and company’s cars.

    We can call it Fast Trouble in Furious China.

  65. Have most of the action take place in China. We get a crazy car chase on the Great Wall. Universal Studios gets all the coveted China money. Everyone wins.

  66. Kurt can get shot in the eye at the end of the chase and return for the finale sporting an eye patch. The thing writes itself.

  67. Jack Burton – When he returns he would be sporting a beard and a winter jacket and will arrive via the Pork-chop Express.

    Shoot – Now that they seem to have gone from heist movies to revenge movies that may not be too far fetched. He could execute his revenge against Tyrese.

  68. Jack, I think China has already invested in the F&F franchise. I swear there was a Chinese production tag in the opening credits. The rules in China limit the number of foreign films released theatrically in a year (I want to say it is 9, but that number might have gone up), but if a Chinese company helps produce the film it is not counted as being truly foreign.

  69. There was definitely a China Film (or something) logo at the front of FURIOUS SEVEN. Kind of surprised the tower jump sequence wasn’t in Shanghai. It seems like China’s involvement in a film usually leads to an out-of-nowhere location jump but maybe they’re saving it for FAST FOR8VER.

    I would also like to thank both China and the success of FURIOUS SEVEN for making the NEED FOR SPEED sequel happen. The first one was one of my favorite films of last year and I was bummed that nobody else seemed to respond to it. Well, if by “nobody else” I meant “one billion red Chinamen” then I was dead right, because it was a huge hit over there and now some Chinese production companies are making the sequel happen. I just hope they get back some of the same cast and crew because I felt that they brought more heart and skill to the film than you’d expect from a video game adaptation.

    Anyway, I saw SEVEN again and it totally holds up. Did you guys notice that the guy Mia stays with in the DR has a line of dialogue that explains how the crew was able to get that safe so easily in FAST FIVE? For a second I thought maybe that character was in “Los Bandoleros” but I guess not. Speaking of which, when are Tego and Don Omar gonna come back? They must have blown through their FAST FIVE score by now and could use some work.

  70. Mr. Majestyk – The dude in DR is Romeo Santos a.k.a. the guy who makes those songs that makes the girls panties drop whenever I’m cruising through the heights or Dyckman. I guess they just put him in there in a thankless cameo to fill in the “latino music superstar” quota left vacant by the lack of Don Omar and Tego.

    Don Omar and Tego felt that they were portrayed very buffoonish and overtly stereotypical in FAST FIVE. So they have no interest in ever returning to those roles. I actually respect that. I sympathize as a caribbean latino because we’re generally brought up to value integrity and self respect so I get why they’re like “fuck that!”. No amount of money is worth being uncomfortable in your own skin and not being true to yourself.

  71. Aw, that’s a bummer. I mean, I can’t argue that those characters were used as comic relief, but they were always portrayed as competent when the shit hit the fan. I thought they came off as distinct characters and not stereotypes, but I respect their decision. It takes a special kind of music superstar to not mind looking silly on film. At least we’ll always have Tyrese.

  72. There are strict import limitations on foreign films in China and the censorship board often cuts the films to ribbons. However, having Chinese investors in a film doesn’t get you a free pass to release (IIRC). It only works if you are an officially sanctioned ‘coproduction’ a status that is only permitted after the film is finished and one which can be revoked at any time based on the whims of the nation’s government.

    For example, Trans4mers was a true co-production with China that followed all of the rules (including inclusion of a Chinese protagonist who must be equally competent and active when compared to all other characters and filming in mainland China) but then lost out on the co-production status because… fuck it!

    The big importance of the Chinese co-production status is that studios recoup only 25 cents on the dollar from China for non-coproductions and 50-60 cents on the dollar for co-productions.

    It’s a really savvy ploy on China’s part, and as of yet, I don’t think it has negatively impacted the quality or content of films. I mean, it would have made more sense for Trans4mers to use the space ship to go to Cybertron instead of Shanghai, but that wouldn’t have made the film ‘better’ inherently.

  73. I think Fast 8 should be called F8, as in — FATE.

    They’re clearly playing up a bizarre Jesus allegory with Dom since part 4 and it would be an interesting way to grapple with the loss of Walker.

  74. Like Vern, I didn’t notice which scenes they had to use some sort of manipulation, be it digital or stand-in, to replace Paul Walker. Except for the end. That was his brother on the beach. They did show his face, but it was never close up and they look so much alike that it wasn’t very noticeable, but there was one shot where you got a good look at the shape of his eyebrows/eyes, which were different than Paul’s. And I figured the very last part with him in the car next to Dom was taken from some other scene, maybe even one of the earlier movies.

    I was happy Brian got to drive off into the sunset and live happily ever after with his family, but it was bittersweet. I thought I would have trouble seeing Walker in car crash type situations, but it didn’t really happen. The part that probably got me the most was when they were all at Han’s funeral and saying they didn’t want to have to attend any more.

    The government definitely didn’t end up with God’s Eye. Even if they could retrieve it from the helicopter crash, they had already invalidated it with the virus that was uploaded. I guess there’s an idea they could clean it up and fix it, but I don’t think that was the impression we were supposed to end up with. I was a little surprised and uneasy that they were turning this over to a government agent they clearly expected to turn around and betray them, but figured if he did or they got the idea he was a bad guy they were going to do something to sabotage it. They always talk about how their strength is their ability to wing it. I agree with Majestyk that it was nice that he didn’t end up turning on them. By the way, Majestyk, “The series cannot see further ahead than that; it lives its sociopolitical ramifications a quarter-mile at a time.” might be the best thing you’ve ever written.

    There is no way in hell that Dom and crew will ever team up with the Shaw brothers. They can overlook it if you betray them to the cops, steal from them, things like that, but they will never make peace with someone who has murdered one of the family. That’s a line that will not be crossed.

    Speaking of lines, there were some awesome ones in this one, I don’t care if they were ridiculous. My favorites, “The street always wins.” “Too slow.” For the one line Tony Jaa had, I loved the way he delivered it. And finally, “Daddy’s got to go to work.”

  75. Franchise Fred has prevailed and Vin Diesel announced there would be a FURIOUS 8 in 2017. I hope all you who doubted the franchise could continue have faith in Vin when he says this will be the best one yet. I believe in the family.

  76. Yeah, I read a really good article today about don’t worry, even though they have been saying all along that there were plans for 3 or more FAST movies, and even though the latest has already made literally a billion dollars, making it the most profitable in the series, and 7th highest grossing movie of all time (below two James Camerons, 2 Marvels, a Disney and a Harry Potter), and making the series the biggest franchise in Universal history… despite all this, yes, they are STILL going to go ahead and make another one as planned and announced and reported and expected by everyone always.

    PHEW! My knuckles are white. I don’t know if I can take another close one like that!

    I might go see it again tomorrow just to make sure they don’t change their minds. Seems a little iffy right now.

  77. You know, after the critical acclaim and commercial juggernautery that this one received, I was a little worried that our favorite Little Franchise That Could was going to lose its underdog status. But then FURY ROAD came out and kicked everyone’s asses, so now the prevailing thought seems to be “FAST & FURIOUS is for babies, FURY ROAD is the real deal.” Because god forbid we have two awesome car franchises going at the same time. This is the internet after all, where movies are like cell phones. As soon as a new model comes out, you throw out the one you’ve been perfectly happy with up until now and mercilessly mock anyone still holding onto the old one.

  78. I’m surprised that nobody here talked about the announcement of F. Gary Gray as director for FURIOUS 8. But I guess it’s because he is such a solid choice, that there isn’t much to say about.

  79. Yeah, I think he’ll do well. Good with characters and ensembles, has worked with some of the cast, has done good action, including with cars. And I also think it’s kinda cool that they’re continuing the streak of no white directors since part 1.

  80. Am i crazy or did this movie seem like the Spy Kids 3D of the franchise? Or more accurately, the 140 minute version of those 10 minute shorts you see at an amusement park before you get on the actual ride, a la Terminator 2 3D? I know this series has already took place in a heightened reality, but this throws any trace of the word “reality” out the window – everything here is dumbed down and hilariously turned up to 12, from the ridiculous opening tracking shot, to the Return of the Jedi finale, to the blatantly telenovela-style subplot with Dom and Letty. This is a movie where a character gets an entire parking deck dropped on him and he doesn’t have a scratch in the next scene, and by that point you don’t even notice how weird that is. For some this will be the series jumping the shark, I say this is where it gloriously nukes the fridge and finally becomes the outrageous spectacle fans keep saying this series is (I honestly found 4 and 6 to be dull with inconsistent glimmers of stupidity, and 5 to be very good but also overrated).

    Also, there’s nothing I hate more than a “____ really died and it was all a dream!” fan theory, but I’ll be damned if this whole movie doesn’t seem like the dying fever dream of Dominic Torretto. Or at least “Dom goes to Total Rekall”, because that’s the only way any of this makes sense. How else to explain the inexplicable Kurt Russell character, the sudden sci-fi trappings, the James Bond-esque locale hopping (doesn’t Dom go to FOUR continents in this movie?), or the Danny Aiello-at-the-end-of-Hudson Hawk brushes with death. The thought of Dom and Letty from part 1 now wearing tuxes and evening gowns and battling people in Abu Dhabi seems like a bad joke, but that’s part of this movie’s charm. It’s the Moonraker of the series, and there’s nothing wrong with that. (Seriously I hope the last one is in space, I’m not kidding)

    Side note: I’m shocked by how little Walker is in this – I guess I was hyper-aware of looking for doubles and CGI, and to be honest, there’s only a handful of shots where you actually see his face and hear his voice at the same time. You probably see his face more in that closing montage than you do the entire movie. They did the best they could do with what they had and even though it’s awkward and eerie to see people constantly talking to the back of his head, the whole enterprise is really touching and sweet and the tear-jerking finale is an all-timer.

  81. Thanks karlos, that was a really great read! My favorite part was him talking about Disney asking for his opinion on MARY POPPINS. I also appreciate that he mentions 3,000 MILES TO GRACELAND gets mentioned even if he doesn’t list as a movie he’s most proud of.

  82. Glad you dug it, GeoffreyJar. It really is a fantastic read. Russell is just bursting with awesome stories – he really should write his autobiography.

    (Holy shit, the KILL BILL 2 anecdote is about him?!)

  83. I hope that “Zero unlikeability” will end up on his tombstone.

  84. Ever since they announced the official title of the new FURIOUS movie I have legitimately not been able to stop smiling.

  85. I’m most excited about the case of ninja masks and knives we see behind Charlize.

  86. I’m pretty sure I predicted it would be called F8 like two years ago, so I’m just gonna take my victory lap now.

  87. Majestyk – You earned that lap, sir. I saw you call it, I genuinely didn’t think they were going to do it, and the fact that they did has proven me wrong in the best way imaginable.

  88. This franchise honestly seems to be able to gauge how shitty my life is at any given point in time and then reintroduce itself in new and incredible ways to cheer me up. Obviously that is not actually the case but kismet gon’ kismet.

  89. FAST 8 Official Trailer up

    The Fate of the Furious - Official Trailer - #F8 In Theaters April 14 (HD)

    The Fate of the Furious - OFFICIAL TRAILER https://www.fastandfurious.com In Theaters April 14, 2017 On the heels of 2015’s Furious 7, one of the fastest mov...

  90. Before this series wraps up they need to tackle space travel, time travel, characters receiving superpowers and found footage. Please Universal!

  91. Please please please please please please don’t let Charlize Theron’s role in the film be 90% shots of her in a control room on a headset commenting on the action that’s taking place. Please.

  92. Fast and Furiosa?

  93. I’m still annoyed by “the internet’s” attempts of acting all high and mighty and trying to make fun of the ridiculous direction the series took. None of these people must have seen any of these movies after the original trilogy, otherwise they would know how self-aware and mock proof it became. But well, it’s the age of snark. At least they keep making these movies for us, who appreciate it for all the right reasons, instead of going full ZOMGSOBADITSGOODSHARKNADOSHARKNADOHEREISDAVIDHASSLEHOFFLOLREDDITREDDITREDDIT on us.

  94. That trailer made me moist.

  95. Universal should also figure out how to cross it over with it’s Jurassic and Monsters franchises. Dom putting Dracula in a headlock while car surfing on top of a haunted pinto being chased by a T. Rex needs to happen. Seriously the more absurd the better. Dom is practically bulletproof thanks to the power of family. That conceit has a lot of charm.

  96. THE FAST AND THE MONSTRUOUS

  97. I can imagine that once the “shared universe” lost all its novelty, the next thing that movies will take from comic books, are the non-canonical one shots for shits and giggles, so I can totally imagine them doing at some point a crossover like that, that exists in its own universe, without any consequences for the original franchises.

  98. CJ regarding the internets disdain for our favorite series about furious fasters when you really think of it this series has blatantly not given any fucks for general movie conventions as far back as 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS. That movie’s intentional idiocy is what made it so great. TOKYO DRIFT is basically a masterpiece of absurdity and sports movie tropes.

    Technically speaking even the original POINT BREAK WITH MUSTANGS had it’s fair share of outrageousness. It just gets further amplified by each new entry. It’s like they seem to have forgotten their beloved escalation speech from the end of BATMAN 5 or something.

    It’s funny to see so many people trying to downtalk this franchise’s stupidity because they come across as retarded as the stuff they’re critiquing. Like that’s the shit that gives this series character and flavor.

    They expect everything to be as formulaic and pandering as their precious MCU and Disney’s Star Wars but I for one am glad that thise series bucks that trend. If it didn’t it would never have found it’s purpose and it’s place within the reaches of high concept action cinema.

    I for one am glad that those of us who grew up watching JCVD punch a cordless phone & a rattlesnakr and Steven Seagal put a pimp through a windshield still have a billion dollar franchise out there that genuinely caters to our sensibilities.

  99. Yeah, but let’s be honest, the first three movies were actually just ridiculous trendsploitationers, that thought they were the coolest shit ever, but didn’t bother to appeal to anybody over the age of 15. (No offense to the people here who fully enjoy even the beginnings of the series.) It was really just from part 4 on when they went from being the cinematical equivalent of Nu Metal (Has its qualities, a certain amount of fun and didn’t feel out of place in its time and age, but isn’t really something that I could listen to all day or even would buy on CD) to being this generation’s COMMANDO (Ridiculous, fully self-aware fun, that knows that the audience is on the same page but at the same time doesn’t give a shit if you laugh at or with it, because that’s just how it rolls).

  100. I love that the trailer ends not on a typical money shot, but with Dom kissing another woman right in front of Letty. It’s a WTF/Oh shit moment that gets its punch not from FX or another crazy stunt, but solely from our knowledge of the core characters and their relationships with each other. I think I actually said “oh shit” at my desk at work.

    I also hope “Why is Dom doing what he’s doing?” will be a secret that will be kept wrapped up until the movie’s release and will have a more interesting answer than “they’re blackmailing him”.

  101. I think some of you must have a weird persecution complex if you’re treating one of the biggest, most successful movie series in recent history like some maligned underdog. As far as I can tell “the Internet” really likes these movies, at least everything after FAST FIVE, and they even do surprisingly well critically.

  102. I agree with Crustacean. Since FAST FIVE it seems like most pop culture savvy people I’ve encountered have given the series the respect it deserves, or at least understand that most people enjoy them now.

  103. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this series is some kind of popculture punching bag (I think not even the Razzies have a beef with it), yet to me it seems like too many people still put it in a “so bad it’s good” category and laugh at and not with the movie. (I mean, TRANSFORMERS is also one of the “biggest, most successful movie series in recent history”, although I agree that all in all the world is more on board with F&F.)

  104. Here’s my big, unsolicited, spoilery review of F. Gary Gray’s The Fast And The Furious: Part Eight: The F8 Of The Furious:

    This movie will surprise no one because it’s exactly what you expect it to be, for good or bad. Just like the previous films, the script is a complete afterthought, rife with moronic dialog and huge leaps of logic to get us to the next scene. The characters are barely fleshed out, which is weird because the movie simultaneously relies on the audience remembering who all these characters are while at the same time completely ignoring their motivations from the previous films. [SPOILERS] So you end up with the bad guys from the previous two films now teamed up with our protagonists and there is literally no explanation for why these guys are no longer evil terrorists. Like I think they hint that the Shaw brothers (Jason Statham and Luke Evans) are actually working covertly for a government, but that never gets fleshed out or even brought up again, plus it absolutely doesn’t fit with the evil shit they were doing in the last 2 movies. But if you’re looking for consistency in your character motivation, this is the wrong series to look to.

    So plot holes don’t bother me much, but a lack of good characters does. I’m not gonna lie, the lack of Paul Walker really hurts the chemistry of the rest of the cast. The heart of the story now rests on Dom and Letty’s relationship, and unfortunately Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez have never had any chemistry in any of these films. And all the bromance stuff is now a three-way between Diesel, Statham and the Rock, and it all feels forced. Call it corny if you want, that’s a fair criticism, but all the themes of brotherhood and family felt much more genuine when this was Dom and Brian’s story. Those two had genuine screen chemistry. And I’m not gonna lie, I teared up a bit at the end when [SPOILER] Dom names his kid after Brian. Good shit, and a nice tribute.

    Blah blah blah character story plot HOW WAS THE FRIGGIN ACTION?!!! So yeah, the main reason to watch this movie is the action, and the question going into this one was “how are they going to top themselves again”? Well for the first hour I was worried they wouldn’t be able to do it. We start off with a very by-the-numbers car race sequence which I guess is here to remind us that at one time this was a franchise about people who race cars as a hobby while they weren’t stealing DVD players. Then we get some hand-to-hand fighting in what should be an exciting prison escape sequence. There are a lot of cool stunts happening in this scene. At least I think there are, because unfortunately this sequence suffers from the modern action movie syndrome (MAMS) where they put the camera too close to the action and cut away too quickly, making it unnecessarily difficult to tell what’s going on. For Christ’s sake people, this isn’t that hard. Just look at John Wick. Pull the camera back a bit and trust your stunt team. If you want fast editing, follow the Fury Road model and make sure the point of focus is always in center of frame so your audience doesn’t have to work hard to keep up. Action movie language is firmly established at this point. There’s no excuse for any more of this Paul Greengrass style “post-action” horseshit anymore.

    So halfway through the movie I’m getting pretty bored because the action is ho-hum, the characters have little chemistry, and the upcoming “twists” have all been loudly broadcast ahead of time, so I’m just waiting for the script to catch up to me. Thankfully at that point, they get to New York and have one of the craziest action set pieces the series has conjured up so far. Charlize Theron’s evil hacker character (named Cypher in a brilliant act of originality) wants to attack the…. I want to say the German Chancellor? Because she wants to steal his “nuclear football”, which I guess is a thing German Chancellors carry around. And of course he’s in a motorcade because we need another car chase. So Cypher decides to magically hack every car in the vicinity and somehow control them all at once like a swarm of robots. Shit gets ludicrous. Waves of cars bear down on the Chancellor’s motorcade like a flood of metal. Like the zombies in World War Z, they almost seemed like a force of nature.

    As if that wasn’t enough, cars start driving themselves out of parking garages ten stories up and dropping onto the motorcade, trapping the Chancellor. Dom goes all Jack Bauer in full riot gear and steals the football, trying to make a getaway as his friends chase him down in cars modified with harpoon guns. I had the biggest smile on my face this whole time.

    After that there’s like another 10 minutes of expository dialog, then they get to the last big action set piece which involves setting off an EMP at a Russian nuclear sub base in the arctic in order to take control of one of the subs. Now, I don’t want to give anybody the impression that I’m a nuclear scientist or anything, I’m just a guy who watches a lot of TV and movies, but THAT’S NOT HOW EMPS WORK!!! EMPs don’t just turn off the electricity. If you set off an EMP next to that sub, it would overload every electronic circuit and permanantly destroy all the computer systems. The same computers that Cypher was using to take remote control of that sub. Ugh, anyway this leads into the ludicrous final action sequence which involves Vin Diesel out-running a heat-seeking missile while [SPOILER] Jason Statham recreates my favorite scene from Hard Boiled where he has to shoot his way through a gauntlet of faceless stunt men while holding a baby.

    What I’m saying is that the second half of this movie won me back over. I’m still on board for more of these, but I am a bit worried that much of the ensemble chemistry seems to be gone without Paul Walker. Action is fine, but I need to care about the people in the action scenes as well. And this movie did nothing to develop the characters in any way. The Rock was the only one who had a character arc, and that just involves him quitting his job to spend more time with his daughter. It doesn’t help that they tried to introduce a new bland, white-guy character (played by Clint Eastwood’s son who looks 45 despite being only 31) and tried to give him some “fun” dialog with Roman and The Rock which mostly falls flat. And then he’s just there at the end, like he’s now part of the main cast, even though I don’t remember inviting him.

    I don’t know. Despite all the faults, I still had a lot of fun with this one. I’m sure it will make a billion dollars despite its issues. For the next one I think they could really use a bold casting choice. Just spitballing here, maybe Matthew McConaughey as a colorful arms dealer. Or Sharlto Copley as a wacky mercenery. Or Peter Weller as a high ranking government official going rogue. Or Powers Boothe as a high ranking government official going rogue. Or Robert Redford as a high ranking government official going rogue. Or Sigourney Weaver as Dom’s truck-driving mom. And she has a fleet of truck drivers she calls in to help them at some point. Or Sylvester Stallone as an older “version” of Dom, like he led a team similar to Dom’s years ago when he worked for Kurt Russel’s “Mr. Nobody”. Then that gives you an excuse to introduce all the “Expendables” into this universe, which I would not oppose.

    My point is, this series is getting a bit stale, and they need to do something bold if they want to keep it going. I know there’s been talk of sending this series into space (not a joke) and you know what? Fuck it. Yeah, let’s go to space. It took Jason ten movies to get to space. I don’t see any reason Fast/Furious can’t do it in nine.

    I give The Fate Of The Furious three out of five heel-turns.

  105. I still haven’t seen Straight Oughta Compton (though I did post a bunch of those memes) so the last F. Gary Gray movie I can remember is The Negotiator, which I really liked. Mostly because I love Sam Jackson and Kevin Spacey. That’s one of the earliest DVDs I bought. I still have it. I think I should give it another watch.

  106. Also, just because I want to spread good music, you should all listen to this song:

  107. Also, just because I want to spread good music, you should all listen to this song:

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