|The Fate of the Furious||F8$1,238,764,765||2017|
Over the Holiday break of the past few weeks, I had an opportunity to watch several movies and shows with my friends and family. At one point, I brought up the idea to watch my next movie to review: The Fate of the Furious, also known as the seventh sequel to a movie about street-racing. Everyone seemed to share the same sentiment as I did towards watching the movie, which was to avoid it all together. However, Doktor Cosmac (my friend, and member of the Church of the SubGenius) did somehow inject some octane-based entertainment into our vacation.
Megalopolis Expressway Trial is a Japanese film that would later be billed as inspiration for the Fast and Furious franchise, along with Ridge Racer and Midnight [sic] Club. Interestingly enough, the movie (along with it’s five direct-to-video sequels) is still banned in Japan due to the fact that the films are about illegal street racing. In the first sequel, Megalopolis Expressway Trial 2, the hero from the first film abandons street-racing and refuses to take on challengers as he is now a professional track-driver. This is primarily the focus of each subsequent movie, as some punk-kid has just bought a Nissan GT-R and wants to risk embedding their teeth in the walls of a concrete tunnel racing the hero.
The movies themselves feel like long car commercials, with most of the street-races taking place in a mix of closed-course shots and close-ups of some doof clutching a steering-wheel. Surprisingly, there is little to no music in the movies which means the soundtrack is primarily “VROOOOM-ERRRRRRR-VABOOOOM” and the sounds of clutches grinding except in the third film, Megalopolis Expressway Trial 3,where someone literally used royalty-free music from SmartSound throughout the film. Nothing says “exciting F-3 race of champions” like a MIDI guitar. The fourth film had some of it’s own music, primarily because they couldn’t find anything to match up the scenes about the dying little kid. If you can’t put it together, Megalopolis Expressway Trial 4 is primarily about an edgy big-brother who wants to race and win against all odds before cancer-boy kicks the bucket. I won’t spoil it for you.
We did watch Megalopolis Expressway Trial Max, the fifth movie, but after nearly 10 hours of watching cars from the late 80’s drive down highways I couldn’t tell the difference of I fell asleep in my chair just before I would have nightmares of crashing into a concrete barricade in a barcalounger.
Now, I don’t know anything about cars other than that they run on gasoline and are easier to own than a horse. The only experience I’ve had racing EVER would be the time I ate three chili-cheese burritos on a road-trip and saw that the next exit was over 30 miles away. It turns out I out I am grossly overqualified for this movie.
Fate starts in Havana. Cuba: home to freedom, big asses and fast cars. Nevermind ANYTHING you have EVER heard about the island-nation controlled by guerrilla warriors just a few feet within pissing-distance from Florida’s bulging tip. The film opens with Vin Diesel playing Vin Diesel as a driver of bitchin’ classic cars. Diesel has to race a jalopy against the “fastest car on the island”. After an eyebrow-raised remark of “it’s not the car, it’s the driver” the team immediately sets to work stripping the car and adding of a tank of nitrous-oxide, that inexplicably showed up from nowhere (possibly stolen from one of those famous Cuban coffee bistros we all hear about) and the race begins. Diesel drives like a maniac while his hot new wife runs through town on a motorcycle closing off streets ahead of them. The race is fun, but Diesel resorts to using the NOS in an effort to win which results in a nice exploding car-scene that lasts about two minutes. Cue the opening title.
The first 11 minutes of the film is incredibly deceptive of what this movie is actually about, and Sweet Christ on a ten-speed, this movie is two-hours and five minutes long.
In what we assume is a day or so later, Diesel is returning from shopping at Cuba’s finest stores as he carries a single loaf of (let me guess, CUBAN) bread and a single rose in a dirty canvas bag. He then approaches a woman’s ass that seems to be connected to a woman who is having car problems. OH NO! It was a setup, and Diesel learns that he’s going to have to get FAST and FURIOUS… AGAIN.
Cut to the jungle, where Vin Diesel playing Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is coming fresh off the set of Jumanji 3: Electric Eel Boogaloo. GOTCHA, he’s coaching girls soccer. Okay, so not too much of a difference. Secret Agent Douchemann shows up and tells Da Rock “get a team together, or we’re all gonna die”. So in a moment of pure spazz-macho irony: Da Rock calls Diesel for a quick bro-down tip-touching before CUT TO: GERMANY.
All of a sudden, things are happening again. Explosions, cars, and people in cars in front of green screens. They have that aspect down: lots of hands on wiggly steering wheels as people very calmly drive at 200 miles per hour over makeshift ramps that are also exploding. At the twenty-five minute point we are given the plot to the movie: Vin Diesel (as himself) has gone rogue and Vin Diesel (as Da Rock) is gonna have to chase him down, and we don’t see another bitchin’ car for twenty-two minutes.
Even though I’ve now seen over a dozen hours of movies about people driving cars, nothing has prepared me for this film. While the Japanese films are primarily focused on shots of the cars racing (several of the films feature ten-minute segments of cars driving through dirt) the Fast movies are in complete contrast action-adventure movies with sequences revolving around cars. I haven’t seen any of the series since I watched the first movie in a summer-school science class. I don’t remember much about that movie because I was watching someone in class drawing anime-girls sleeping in giant crystals instead of taking in the educational value of bitchin’ cars. I fucked up.
This is a spy movie. This is not about driving cars, fine-tuning them and taking them around Devil’s Curve. I don’t know where in the series this happened, but all of the hard-chiseled slabs of sex-meat in this movie are master-criminals with super-hacker skills and they probably know karate. There is a shadow-government agency employing the sex-meat people, and this is the movie in the series where everyone’s favorite meatman becomes the antagonist. So unlike other movies where the audience screams “just shoot them” while secret-agent Skullfucker’s trembling hand points a fist-sized rocket at evil professor Shitlicker’s bleeding head, you get to sit through a movie thinking “oh I wonder if someone will shoot him, because everyone likes him”.
There is an evil organization too, it is called CIPHER. I think. I don’t know how they spell it, it’s probably SYFER. It’s probably an anagram too, like Seventh Yokel Franchise-sequel Evokes Redundancy. Hey I didn’t come up with it, I’m just writing jokes here. Calm down. Anyway, aboard their bitchin’ spy-plane with an interior the size of a fucking COSTCO we find out why Vin Diesel has gone rogue.
At 57 minutes is a warehouse full of totally bitchin’ cars. Get ready because they’re gonna be Tokyo Driftin’ and Pile-O-Box smashing any minute now. Until then, more super-hacker shit and dialogue about who we can and can’t trust. There is what appears to be an albino Asian person. At one hour-five-minutes, Rogue Diesel has begun driving a really bitchin’ car and there is a scene involving a city full of self-driving cars that have also gone rogue.
I had no idea that vehicular autonomy was going to play such a role, this film should go into the next Zeitgeist movie about how Google is going to force us all to download Candy Crush to our retinal-viewers or run us over the next time we hail an Uber. I also had no idea that so many cars could drive on their own already. And despite what you would think would be exposing a serious security-flaw, the Chrysler corporation proudly sponsored a mass-scale terrorist attack involving dozens of remote-controlled man-flattening death-machines. At one hour and ten-minutes, Da Rock and his crew of teeth-gnashing badasses start driving their bitchin’ cars in attempt to stop Rogue Diesel. At one hour and thirteen-minutes, the bitchin’ car chase begins.
The cars drive through crowds of people, once again proving that high-speed chases through residential areas are way more effective than ever calling a helicopter. Within six minutes the bitchin’ cars are done and we learn that Rogue Diesel is stockpiling an arsenal to take over the world.
I am only mildly exaggerating here, but that is close to where we are at nearly ninety minutes into the film. Cosmac and I both admitted during the Megalopolis movies that they were insanely boring even when the cars were on the screen. Slammed between ENDLESS* shots for controlled-course footage for next summer’s Toyotathon was ham-fisted acting all dragged over the same exposition: to be the fastest driver and have the most NOS decals.
In this movie it’s like James Bond was rebooted in the Transformers-universe (holy crap that’s the Kingsman movies) and after only another few minutes of bitchin’ car’s we are treated to some hand-combat scenes and some much anticipated one-liners. “Nasty” Da Rock says, after someone is tossed into the spinning blades of a dry-docked nuclear submarine. Don’t ask how we got here, you should’ve abandoned reason 7-minutes in when Vin Diesel activated his turbo-boost with a tab from a Coke can.
One hour and 41 minutes in, it’s now time for the fucking submarine. I know, when we started this movie I was expecting some bitchin’ cars blasting off sweet ramps and maybe some Blues Brothers style police hilarity. But what we get is Lamborghini versus Russian tanks and snowmobiles. A man defends himself with a car door and people are murdered point-blank before the guys with fucking jetpacks show up on the bitchin’ spy plane. There’s talk of who to shoot first, and a “you’re supposed to be dead” moment. Then, finally Rogue Diesel absorbs the power of 1000 sacrificed plot lines and becomes MEGA DIESEL and shows up just in time to save Da Team from a bunch of missile-carrying Russian trucks all while the bitchin’ spyplane hosts a firefight for some precious cargo.
The submarine chases the heroes (now reunited) and we are treated to how amazingly calm and collected a group of people driving sports cars on a frozen lake can be. We are finally treated to the SICK RAMP JUMP which ends up triggering a gigantic explosion who’s wake threatens a vulnerable Mega Diesel who is spared from being flame-broiled as all the surviving cars pull-off a Batman cape-shield maneuver.
This is also the point in the movie where I learn that Cipher is actually the name of the woman I thought was running the organization. Wow, I feel betrayed. The day is saved and there is a big party and everyone is having a good time with friends. Records are cleared and children are praised as “worth living for”, even though everyone just spent the movie throwing caution to the wind in exchange for a chance to drive bitchin’ cars and see some pretty big explosions all over the world.
As I stated before nothing could’ve prepared me for this. It was more like a G.I. Joe movie, and if there weren’t a few top-name actors in this I honestly don’t know who would want to see it. The plot was so insanely absurd for a movie series that was based on cars going fast. I only saw a few minutes of Tokyo Drift, but god-damn at least it was about people driving cars. And yes, I am now completely aware how boring a movie about cars driving around can be. I CAN HONESTLY VOUCH THAT. But what in the hell we’re these people thinking when they were writing this. If I was in a writer’s room for one of these movies, I imagine I would hear “okay, so how do we top the last movie”. And I imagine the guy across from him would say “well, we could ramp a car of something bigger”. And you know what, that’s fine. That is a completely reasonable statement. But after six ramp-jumping sequels you’d think when the guy in the writer’s room who is desperately grasping at the last tufts of hair attached to his head says “okay, so how about a nuclear submarine” and a room full of executives responds with “sounds good”, I would expect the next sounds in that room to be gunfire. But no, instead of burying this ridiculous waste of gasoline and nacho-spray-cheese and killing off this abomination it gets cranked out and it becomes the third highest-grossing film of 2017 and the sixteenth highest-grossing film of all time.
Doktor Faux’s Score
This is by far one of the most unbelievable movies I have ever seen. Everyone is indestructible, over-powered and constantly on the edge, and it’s the cliche team of grey-hat bandits that literally is the only force on Earth that can possibly stave-off a nuclear war. Despite having the plot of the cliffhanger episode of every 80’s cartoon, there was no way I could’ve predicted several scenes from this movie (and that’s not always a good thing).
The movie lives up to it’s name. It’s FAST, and surprisingly two hours sped by quickly. Coming in from outside the franchise, I didn’t know who any of the characters were and I was oblivious to any past-grudges they had with one another. Fortunately the archetypes here are pretty easy to sort out (Bad Guy vs. Bad Boi). This movie may is insane. Chris Morgan has written every Fast since Tokyo Drift as well as movies like The Vatican Tapes and 2017’s The Mummy. Based off this movie and those on his resume, I doubt I will ever want to see any of the others in this series.
Any movie starring the Rock and Vin Diesel, with support coming from Ludacris, should be very easy to figure out. God bless them, they were the prefect people for these roles even though they never look like they are actually driving a car. I can’t blame them for taking the parts, but could you imagine this movie with anyone else?
It’s the same orchestra\horns music from any movie with a chase sequence. There’s the opening song in the Havana sequence which instantly sets the atmosphere and the location, after that nothing really stood out.
The opening of the movie feels like a promo for MTV Spring Break, it’s nothing but butts, asses and cheeks on the beach. After that, the movie take place somewhere different in the world just about every seven to ten minutes. Most interior shots are cramped garages and briefing rooms, except for the bizarre roominess of a secret airplane. Exterior shots take place either in crowded cities or a frozen desert. All of the car interior shots look keyed-in; there is way too much CGI in a movie originally about driving cars.
While watching the movie I remembered how I enjoyed “The Italian Job” and I wondered why the people making this film didn’t take a hint from it. Then I find out F. Gary Gray, director of Fate, was the director of The Italian Job, as well as Friday and Straight Outta Compton. How in the hell do you pull of such legendary movies for over twenty-years and end up slapping your name on something like this? He may not have come up with it, but he did pull off a hyperactive globe-trotting explosion-fest about super-thieves and it did make a BILLION dollars. It still doesn’t make it ‘good’. I would’ve put in more bitchin’ cars.
|Average Score||1.6 out of 5.0|