Fast & Furious 6

“I am such a sucker for a cheesy action movie, and there’s nothing like the Fast franchise. I’m actually _really_ glad I thought to marathon it’s predecessors over the past week. A little context goes a long way. I’m still so impressed at what good cast retention there’s been in this half of the series, and the team keeps growing. I love that they each maintain an important role and express some fun individuality. No one really fades into the background.

The new recruit I was really excited for was Gina Carano who steps in as Riley, Hobbs’ (Dwayne Johnson) new sidekick. Til now the real muscle has mostly been in the cars, so throwing in an MMA trained fighter was really gonna pick things up a notch. I was just waiting on edge for the inevitable girl fight with Michelle Rodriguez, which did not disappoint.

The rest of the action was far from disappointing as well. They still find ways to make the chases bigger and better. Usually the answer is to think outside the car, bring in some new vehicles. I will say no more.

Some of the story seemed a lil forced to me (amnesia, really?) but there’s a lot that’s really starting to come together. I’m mostly impressed at how relevant they’re still managing to keep Tokyo Drift. Even though I just rewatched it earlier this week, I’m feeling like I need to rewatch it yet again.

Alas, what I really want to talk about is the end set up for the next movie, but I play by the rules. Keeping my mouth shut. But holy \m/ I very loudly gasped. Twice in a row because once just wasn’t enough. I both love and hate that they do this to me.

Fast & Furious 6 – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Fast Five

“Dayum! I am so jazzed to see F&F6 tomorrow. Fast Five was just the extra jolt I needed to get my engine revved up.

Seriously, I still can’t believe how much new life got breathed into the back half of this series. It didn’t ever deserve it, but all the pieces fell together and it’s been such a fun ride. Five picks up exactly where Four left off. Exactly. But it continues the cliffhanger and we actually do see Brian and Mia bust out Dom, and off they go to Brazil to continue their adventures.

Ah, but this time around, bigger jobs mean they need more help, So we bring back characters from the entire franchise, major and minor. Besides the obvious trio, we’ve also got Vince from 1, Roman and Tej (and Monica if you count the mid-credits scene) from 2, Han from 3, Gisele Tego and Rico from 4. As you can tell just from the character names, it’s a rather diverse bunch. Racial diversity in films is something I don’t typically notice, but it’s true that this is a refreshing change to a usually whitewashed landscape.

I love how the minor characters don’t just fade into the background of our trio. They get fun intros and an even more fun epilogue. And I’ve gotta say that Han is quickly becoming my favorite character in the bunch. I’ve been paying a lot more attention to how his storyline fits in with Tokyo Drift (which sequentially is the last film). Besides the teases of him eventually going to Tokyo (we had that in 4 as well), you get his history with Dom and this movie also explains how he had all that money that he was basically throwing away on our car-ate kid. I also love the romance with him and Gisele. I typically don’t care for those subplots, but their courtship is fun and flirty and just played out enough.

Incidentally, this is the only one of the lot that I had previously written up, so I’ve already been through all the details of it as a stand alone film. Great action sequences (the safe chase, the Vin Diesel/Dwayne Johnson brawl, etc), bringing in The Rock, etc. And just rewatching that midcredits scene, I repeat, I cannot wait to see the next chapter tomorrow”

Fast & Furious

“If this were any other franchise, it would have died after 3: the random death rattle that was more stretched spin off than sequel. But that didn’t happen. Instead, not only was new life breathed into this vehicle, but we got what was arguably the best installment thus far.

I’d already written off the Fast movies. The idea of them putting another one together seemed a lil desperate. Since the original had come out, Diesel had two non-starters that were expected to be big series. Walker’s career, well, what career? The whole thing screamed paycheck. And maybe that was some of the motivation, but the entire team certainly give it their all and the payoff was fantastic. This is the one that made me a fan.

I’d complained with some of the earlier ones that I’d expected these to be action movies. Fast & Furious finally realized that potential. Sure, the plot’s thin as ever, but the action permeates the whole thing. And it’s action based almost exclusively on the vehicles, making it unique to the genre. Trust me, I know. No more quick races down the closed off street. Oh no. Racing thru the busy populated city or thru tunnels at the border. And what about that opening sequence? The first trailer highlighted that, and even after several views, when I’d catch the trailer I’d forget that it was a Fast movie.

Oh and because we’ve already bought up the subject of silly sequel names, is it really that much different to just drop the The’s from the title? Everyone’s gonna refer to it as 4 anyways. Then again, this was the year of the simple naming conventions. Final Destination did the same thing with The Final Destination (or I guess they technically did the opposite). And all of the reboots went simple too: Star Trek, Sherlock Holmes, Friday the 13th.”

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

“The EW series summary of the Fast franchise referred to this as the car-ate kid. Quite fitting actually.

So this movie had disaster written all over it. Three-quel. None of the original stars (as least not from the initial look at it). Completely new setting. Introducing a new concept, drifting. That all usually spells straight to DVD bargain bin. But yet, it was given a summer release in 2006. The theaters were flooded with the trailer. For months leading up, I don’t think I could go see a movie and not catch this trailer. My thoughts went from “”oh God another one”” to “”actually that looks kinda cool”” to “”geez, enough already make it stop””. I resisted then, but eventually a Black Friday sale offered it to me for five bucks and I caved. Incidentally, this is the only one I don’t own on BluRay, since I bought it first. I got 1 and 2 on sale when 4 came out and then 5 upon its release as well.

For a five dollar DVD, this one is actually pretty fun. Yeah, until those last two minutes, it’s kind of a stretch tying it into the franchise other than “”oooh look cars!””. Knowing what I know now, that 4-6 are meant to take place before Tokyo Drift, it really was interesting to see and understand that connection. They really did keep the best character, Han, to incorporate back into the fold when 4 happened. But we’ll get there later. Tomorrow prolly.

For the rest of Tokyo Drift, nothing too remarkable. Plot, thin as ever. Cars, hot and fast. Pretty boy outsider in the drivers seat. A little more juvenile in the story line since these were high school kids instead of cops and maladjusted young adults. And it being Tokyo, there’s some Yakuza thrown in too, like ya do. Were this not a Fast movie, I find it hard to imagine anyone would have ever cared about it. As it is, it’s sort of the step child of the series.”

2 Fast 2 Furious

“Yes, one of the worst sequel names ever. But I do kinda like their don’t-give-a-\m/ inconsistent naming convention throughout the franchise. It amuses me. Sometimes they try, sometimes they dont, sometimes they shouldn’t have.

It’s now 2003. I first saw this one in Hawaii. As a graduation present, I got to go meet up with some friends from the summer program I did the year before. One night, the guys wanted to catch a movie. This was it. We certainly left there laughing for all the wrong reasons. Yes, it is one of the weaker links in the flimsy but fun franchise. However, putting it in context, it’s not too bad.

This one tried to do what the first one didn’t: bring the action. Very thin cop drama with lots and lots and LOTS of fast cars. They certainly stepped up their game as far as quantity and, well I don’t know if I wanna say quality, but certainly creativity and density. More cars. More chases. More speed. And a boat.

Something else I hadn’t really appreciated until watching them in succession is that this does give us a chance to see some of Brian’s backstory. The first movie was all about Toretto’s crew. Brian was the outsider. We knew how Dom and his gang got together, but knew little about Brian. Here he gets to be reunited with his homeboy and we hear some of how he grew up. He’s with his team, who’s got his back. And Tyrese’s Roman certainly is no replacement for Toretto, but he’s an interesting counter character.

Yes it is a bit of a surprise that the franchise managed to continue after this clunker, but I think we’re all glad it did.”

The Fast and the Furious

“I realized the other day that I’ve got a pretty clear week leading up to a pretty clear memorial day weekend. Lots of extra time tends to mean lots of extra movies. While reading EW’s write up of the Fast & Furious franchise, it occurred to me that other than keeping up with the newer releases (only one of which I had previously written up), I hadn’t really visited it in a while. Thought it would make a fast and fun mini project. I’m mostly interested to see the entire story pieced together.

It all started back in 2001. Paul Walker was coming off a string of teeny bopper hits (by which I mean She’s All That), so he was brought in to lead fun little crime thriller posing as an action movie. It ended up launching a pretty successful franchise. However, the name that became most associated with it wasn’t Walker. It was Diesel. Vin Diesel. After a few small roles and not widely seen films, this is what shot him to the A list and made him a star.

As per usual when writing up older films (by which I just mean not new releases), you’re gonna get the story of when I first watched it. Just part of the ExpDel deal. So I think it was back in high school that I rented it. It was during the point in time when my Daddy and I would raid Blockbuster weekly, each of us picking a movie or two that we’d watch together over the next few days. The Fast and the Furious was one of my picks. I thought it’d be a fun, high paced action movie. Now while that’s what the franchise has evolved into over time, the original started off as more drama than action. At the time it was a disappointment. But with the right context and perspective, I grew to appreciate and even love it.

This is our first introduction to Brian O’Connor and Dominic Toretto, as well as Letty and Mia. For now, they’re just big ambitious fish in a small pond they are quickly outgrowing. The film promises fast cars and climactic chases, but there’s more to it than that. There’s the drama of Brian figuring out if he’s more loyal to his badge or his newfound friends as he tries to figure out who’s behind some rather sophisticated highway thefts. As the franchise grew, it did pay more attention to the cars, but for now, they ended up being just a small piece.

But even if they weren’t as much of the focus as the film as I originally expected back then, they’re still pretty sweet. You know that your movie is on some level successful if it introduces subject matter that you find yourself wishing you knew much more about. I watch this and want to know all there is to know about cars. Now of course, that feeling will fade over the next few hours and it will fade into no more than a quick thought. But while you’re immersed in the world of the movie, you just want to be deeper in it. And that is why this small time movie turned into a major Hollywood franchise.