Films sequels can be a tricky tightrope to walk. Sequels need to offer the audience everything they loved about the original movie but on a much bigger scale. But, they also can’t compromise the integrity of the original story. Sounds like a simple thing to do, right? History has shown it’s not easy to make an entertaining sequel that’s still faithful to the original. I’m looking at you Blues Brothers 2000, Grease 2 and Matrix Reloaded. But what happens when you start to move beyond three films in a series? Well, you’re in danger of moving into self-parody. It took four movies for Rocky to introduce a Robot butler. Six movies in and Freddy Kruger possessed a Nintendo 64. Finally, it took a grand total of ten movies for Jason to go to space.
And maybe that’s why the ‘Fast franchise’ has rallied for as long as it has. Pardon the pun. After all, how can you pinpoint the moment a franchise went off the rails when there were no rails, to begin with?
The Fast and Furious world
It’s hard to believe that for the last 15 years the Fast and the Furious AKA: “Vin Diesel Grunts: The Musical” is now on its eighth instalment. The formula for a Fast movie is simple. Combine a paper thin plot with stupid stunts. The Fast and the Furious universe is a magical world where dying is just a mild annoyance. A world populated by female supermodels all you solve all conflicts with fast driving.
Dominic (Vin Diesel) and Letty Toretto (Michelle Rodriguez) are having fun on their honeymoon in Cuba. Of course, they are partaking in the odd car race. It all goes to hell when a woman called Cipher (Charlize Theron) targets Dom. She forces Dom to work for her and he’s forced to betray his team for some mysterious reason.
It soon becomes clear that our favourite band of rogues and scallywags, led by Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) to stop whatever plot Cypher has up her sleeve. Even if that means working with his arch foe Deckard (Jason Statham).
Stupid isn’t bad you know
There’s no way to say this in any real nice way, but this is a stupid movie, there’s just no other word for it. The plot falls apart the very moment you attempt to look beyond the surface of it. If Cipher is such an amazing hacker why does she need Dom in the first place? But then again, stupid doesn’t necessarily mean bad. That’s this movie’s biggest strength. It’s aware of what it is, to the point where the actors clearly don’t take this movie seriously. Ironically and oddly, it’s the Oscar winner Theron that sticks out here in a bad way. She tries too hard to bring some gravity into the movie. Her lines delivered with poise and sobriety in a too fast movie is about as warmly received as a fart (while everyone one else loosens up and has fun with the role).
And that’s what this movie is meant to be – mindless fun. If you treat it seriously for a moment, you’re wasting your time. But if you’re willing to turn off your brain for two hours then you’re in for quite the ride.