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The "Fast and Furious" Saga Thread
#1
So... Fast Five inspired a ten-post thread. Fast & Furious 6, 19 posts. Furious 7, a whopping 77 posts. But now, in its third week of release, the billion-dollar grossing The Fate of the Furious has yet to get its own thread... until now. Let this thread serve as an F8 discussion thread, as well as news for parts 9-10 and any Rock-centric spin-offs. (The producers have said they intend to conclude the "main" saga, though not necessarily the franchise itself, with the tenth movie, but there's been speculation that fan demand and Diesel/Rock friction may send Hobbs off on a spinoff before then.)

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

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REVIEW:
The Fate of the Furious is more of the same. One of the great pleasures of the franchise's early installments is how they improvisationally bounced around from being an urban gang drama to a goofy quasi-buddy cop movie to an unrelated side story to a grim revenge thriller to a heist movie to, finally, a cyber-techno superhero saga in F6. Well, it seems they've found their formula and are sticking to it (and, with these returns, who could blame them?), because F7 and F8 are very much tonal and narrative matches to that sixth movie. Although just about everyone agrees that Fast Five is the series' peak, with our protagonists on the run from the law on one side and battling a drug lord on the other, making them government-friendly automotive avengers opens the most globetrotting scales, and allows for the biggest action set pieces, so it looks as though this mode is here to stay. And I for one am good with that.

F8 is tons of fun. Though it has far more comic relief/beats than F4, the previous darkest hour for our heroes, this one gets darker still, showing us a side of Dom we haven't seen before. Perhaps this heaviness was inspired by the loss of Paul Walker, or maybe not. (F8 gives us a new token white guy in Scott Eastwood, the assistant to Kurt Russell's Mr. Nobody, and though he doesn't have Walker's charisma or looks, I liked him a good deal.) And there is one character/plot point that has proven damned divisive, with some saying it irreparably breaks the saga's narrative integrity. And sure, it's a bit awkward, but I went with it. After all, the downside to abandoning the drug lord baddies of the 2-5 years is that the new Big Bads are all techno-terrorists, but, because the risk of offending anyone anywhere in the world means lost dollars, it's never been clear, from 6 on, just what these techno-terrorists want. (Of course, one could say the same for Spectre's Blofeld.) And just how virtuous are our heroes, anyway? They started out as highwaymen thieves, and pulled guns on and threatened (lawman Hobbs included) military members doing their proper job at the end of 6 for purely personal gain, so it's not as though morality has ever been a pressing concern. A spoilsport could credibly call the team's ethics Trumpian, but I am not a spoilsport, at least not here. The aforementioned twist results in more fun than not twist-ing would have, so I allowed it. If the MCU pulled something similar, I'd indeed be pissed - but this ain't the MCU.


In fact, I enjoyed this movie so much, absurd redemption of Statham's Shaw and all, that I was genuinely excited when Luke Evans' Owen Shaw showed up for about two minutes of screen time and as many lines, despite not being a fan of the actor's, and 6 being my least favorite of the non-TD series so far. (Still haven't seen TD, and at this point, don't much care to.) And I expect that, especially if he keeps showing up, I'll enjoy re-watches of 6 more than I did the first time around. Meanwhile, I look forward to seeing Theron return and drive and fight. (Where does she refuel and maintenance her plane?! When they bring her back, we'll need some answers!)

But, I for one haven't forgotten Monica Fuentes. Bring back Eva Mendes, I say! Big Grin

Grade: B+

Series Ranking
1. Fast Five
2. Furious 7
3. Tie: 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast & Furious, The Fate of the Furious
6. The Fast and the Furious
7. Fast and Furious 6


There are some awesome series infographics/data here, courtesy of Bloomberg News. And, because it will never, ever get old:

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#2
F8 of the Furious was gr8 (of the furious).

But seriously, it was a lot of fun. If nothing else, you can count on this franchise to deliver that much. Doesn't quite reach the heights of 5 or 7, but I'd probably slot it right behind them. Adding the Rock and now Statham to this franchise has done wonders. Bring on their spin-off, they were easily the best part of this one. It's interesting too, because while this probably has the most dramatic storyline (what with Dom's betrayal and all), it's also probably the funniest one they've done so far. And I love it.
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#3
(05-04-2017, 08:19 PM)Gaith Wrote: the billion-dollar grossing The Fate of the Furious 

The end is nigh.
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#4
This was a lot of fun. I wish that Dom's turn to evil were treated more as a surprise, just so that it catches EVERYONE off guard. Then after letting Letty go and getting the nuclear football, flashback to how Dom got conscripted and why. In addition, there wasn't any need to bring up Brian O'Conner after the agency gets invaded, it just seemed disrespectful. Also, "Christmas Don't Be Late" should have been heard during Statham's penultimate action scene. Tongue

As for the "unfixable" parts of the movie, I was really hoping that "Little Nobody" was going to be the new Brian of the series (i.e., the straightman where all the whackiness bounces off of him), which I think is what the director is going for, but he just didn't have enough screen time.

(05-05-2017, 08:41 AM)TVs Frink Wrote:
(05-04-2017, 08:19 PM)Gaith Wrote: the billion-dollar grossing The Fate of the Furious 

The end is nigh.

Honestly, I'm going to miss this series when it's over. Movies need more POCs in big starring, action films, especially current state of affairs in the world. Wink
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#5
Interesting idea about Dom's turn being a surprise to everyone. I mostly like it, but we do kinda need that setup of him working on the necklace at the beginning, or it'd feel like a total cheat later on. The Cipher meeting scene could definitely have been much shorter, though.

(05-05-2017, 06:11 PM)Nic Wrote:  In addition, there wasn't any need to bring up Brian O'Conner after the agency gets invaded, it just seemed disrespectful.

It might not have been necessary, especially with that other moment at the end, but it didn't bother me. Apparently Diesel has talked with Walker's brothers about maybe bringing the character back at some point. Now that they made their Paul tribute at the end of 7 and gave Brian and Mia a break this time around I wouldn't be bothered if in the future Caleb Walker were to do a few scenes as Brian, without CG mucking, though they ought to be quiet "FAMBLY" scenes with Jordana Brewster only; enough screen time to honor the characters and give Death the middle finger, but not so much as to suggest Paul could actually be replaced.
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#6
Was a big fan of F8, as I have been of most of the franchise (Don't like 3 or 4), but I'm excited by any film that portrays a haka. 

The Prison Break set piece was breathtakingly well done. I felt taken aback by just how well filmed the whole thing was. Also it gave us The Rock curling a stone table, because flexing out of a cast isn't metal enough apparently.

I wasn't too bothered by Jason Statham joining the main cast, except when he joins the family table. I'm still not over him murdering Han. But at least it gave us some of the best sequences in the franchise. #BabyBattle
Add in Luke Evans and his terrible accent, and DAME HELEN FUCKING MIRREN!?!?! I had no idea she was going to be in this so I had a huge smile on my face whenever she was on screen, especially her conversation with Statham about bringing his little brother along. I was having flashbacks to several very similar conversations I've had with my own super-english mum.

Fast Five set an amazing trend with these movies by disregarding the laws of physics all together from the very first set piece. And these gut-laugh-inducing moments are aplenty (Rock lobbing a torpedo at a truck and Dom jumping a nuclear submarine in a muscle car are good examples).

I agree that I'd like to see a fan edit of this that prolongs the reveal of Dom turning, I'm sure Mark Kermode mentioned this in his review. You can keep the scene of him and the necklace at the start, cut the scene of him being ambushed by Theron, move the scenes with him and his baby further back if possible.
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#7
xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)

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With its international ensemble, outlaw attitude, and peculiar sentimentality (apparently xXx recruits are the new FAMBLY), this other Diesel-fueled franchise revamp clearly wants some of that sweet, sweet Fast & Furious money. The question, then: should F&F enthusiasts (such as myself) give this movie at least a rental, if only due to fandom-by-association?

Nah, not really. Paul Walker was the heart of the F&F saga, a role that now mostly belongs to the team as a whole, but also The Rock in particular. It certainly isn't Dom by himself, but Diesel re-positions himself as the beating heart of this series, to underwhelming results. I can buy and enjoy his portrayal of Dom as an international folk hero if it's a ridiculous piece of an absurd whole, but in this movie, it's most of the show, and it's just kinda lame. Also, this movie feels as though it couldn't afford a proper third-act set piece (its budget was a measly $85m), so it drags and extends what should be second-act finale into the actual finale. Finally, while others may disagree, I genuinely missed Tyrese's constant yelping here. Without a constant supply of goofy, self-deprecating banter, the OTT action quickly gets tiresome.  

Conclusion: Watchable, but meh. That said, I still think a double-Diesel xXx/F&F crossover movie would be peppermint-ice-cream-delicious. Just make sure the F&F team are the ones in charge - clowns they may be, but they know their craft.

C
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#8
I don't think I've actually seen a John Cena movie, but I'm totally down for his officially joining the Fast franchise at Dom's side. With Paul Walker gone and The Rock having had enough of Vin Diesel and preferring to go his own way, the main saga will need a new player with actual charisma to balance out Diesel's absurd self-seriousness, and Cena definitely seems like a good fit.
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#9
I love him in Arrested Development!

Wait, that's not right.
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#10
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

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Longtime series writer Chris Morgan. Deadpool 2 director David Leitch. And, of course the riveting pairing of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. The question, then: what went wrong?!

I regret to report that, in spite of one great low-key hallway fight sequence, and some fun banter here and there, Hobbs & Shaw is a total dud - as in, don't even bother with a rental. The biggest problem is perhaps location: the story's three acts each get one, and the first two are London (already the boring primary setting for the post-Fast Five franchise low point Furious 6) and a dull, soulless factory/warehouse in the former USSR. Granted, the third act location is a major step up, but by that point in this 135-minute slog, it's too slate; the patient's dead.

Another drag is the complete invulnerability of our main stars. This has been a factor in recent Furious movies also, but those flicks have had the sense to bring its huge cast of FAMBLY along for the ride, so we get secondary characters whose almost entire purpose is to wail, panic, complain, and briefly act macho before doing all the aforementioned things. Hobbs and Shaw may come from different worlds, but their fast-paced snark just doesn't make for much of a contrast. They're funny together, but they were already funny together in Fate of the Furious, and because their goals are aligned just about the whole movie, they only get chances to be funny by grinding the story to a halt. There are some great quasi-superheroic action beats, but suprisingly, Leitch doesn't go far or cartoony enough. I actually found myself wishing I was watching a superhero movie, so there'd be more variety of powers and abilities than endless punching, driving, and a bit of shooting.

As for Idris Elba, he's a boring villain who answers to an unseen boss, so, despite the script sweating to convince us otherwise, there isn't even much tension between him and our heroes. He's just a thug doing a job, for generic and boring transhumanist reasons. Finally, there's the truly odd detail that, in a franchise and movie in which FAMBLY is the dominant theme, Furious 6 baddie Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), last seen in Fate, is only directly mentioned once, and so briefly that I missed it.

Yes, Hobbs was a blast of fresh air as an antagonist in Fast Five, but he was a dull ally in Furious 6, spent most of 7 in a hospital, and was then against Dom in Fate. Maybe an almost certain Hobbs & Shaw sequel can give the character him a great starring role, but, bearing in mind I haven't seen Tokyo Drift, this is my least favorite Furious yet, by a long shot.

C-
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