Sunday, April 23, 2017

Everyone's Buddy-buddy Now.

I've always really enjoyed the Fast and Furious franchise. Back before everyone called movies franchises, I loved how Universal could throw together funny movies about physics-defying cars filled with action, adventure, larger-than-life dudes, and sexy ladies. If you compare it to Universal's old monster movies or MGM's monstrous musicals, which were pretty cheap to make and brought back truckloads box-office cash, you'll quickly understand why they keep making these movies and why they insist on rolling out the Mummy's bones and Dracula's carcass every few years.

But Fast and Furious refuses to take itself seriously and aims to merely entertain. I'm personally sick of comic book adaptations pretending that their stakes are high or that we should ever be taking a man in clown makeup or bat ears in earnest. And don't get me started on Star Wars. Star Wars has morphed into a hyper-serious futuristic (?) Fast and Furious franchise.

Anyway, I still love these big dumb movies about big dumb cars and big dumb guys and gratuitous booty shots of ladies whom I doubt I'll ever see at a street race. But there's one thing that bothers me.

The extremely loose force that bonds the movies' characters to one another and, indeed, the films themselves to one another is the mantra "family," and they kind of stuck a middle finger to that in this eighth outing.

Statham is one of the only action stars around young enough and charismatic enough to appear alongside the Rock and Vin Diesel, so it makes sense they'd want to keep him around for as many sequels as possible, but he Killed Han. And his brother killed Han's girlfriend. And now they're hanging out with Statham on a rooftop in New York doing their final movie prayer scene ritual. Statham's not in the family, and shoehorning him in is less believable than a Cuban crime boss helping out or a muscle car taking on a submarine or even an EMP that can kill any vehicle except for the one driving it around.

And now they're talking about making a spin-off film with the Rock and Statham going on madcap missions to catch bad guys or something. And I'll dutifully trudge my way to the cinema to see those spin-offs just as I'll slouch toward whatever horrible new direction Disney churns out for the beloved characters of my childhood.

Maybe Kylo Ren will be a good guy by the end of the latest Star Wars trilogy, paling around with Cehwbacca, and everyone will be gasping "but he killed Han!" And I'll be there saying, "yeah, but Fast and Furious did it first."

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