Sorry, Vin. I love your confidence, but Furious 7 is not winning ‘Best Picture’ at the Oscars in 2016. Many people laughed and mocked his claim about the latest installment of–struggling to find a word here…heist movies? spy movies? racing movies?…oh, I know–the most badass movies on Earth taking home the hardware for best film, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good film. It’s actually a fantastic film.
I love the Fast and Furious movies. No, like I really fucking love those movies. At least once a year, I check in with Dom, Brian and the rest of the crew. I was 16 when the first film was released. Right then and there, I was hit with my first man crush, and he went by the name of Paul Walker. The movie had racing, action, comedy and didn’t seem to take itself too seriously. I could never have imagined that 14 years later I would be seeing a 7th film halfway across the world.
I had the pleasure of going with my best friend here in Hong Kong and, to explain a little about him, he is hard to please with films and TV shows. He hates a lot of them. Almost all of them. But it’s not just that he hates them, it’s why he hates them. John Carter: he complained that the boat didn’t break when he jumped off a 100-foot cliff to land on it. Never mind he is on Mars and has 10-foot green aliens with eight arms…the boat didn’t break. Stupid movie. Game of Thrones: the music they ride their horses to is dumb. Stupid show. Walter Mitty: He would never get cell service on that mountain. Stupid film. Hate the whole thing because it’s not real.
My friend had only seen the first Fast film and made it clear his disdain for the franchise due to the motorcycles making the wrong sound, the wrong car part being said when building the engine and the terrible acting and one-liners. So I knew he would flip when watching the 7th (he did!) and not like it (he didn’t!).
So this gave me an idea: I am sure many people feel the way my friend does about the Fast and Furious franchise, so I am going to use what he dislikes about the film to explain why it’s OK to like the franchise, and why we should root for Dom and the rest of the team when they take to NYC for Fast 8!
“The acting is bad and the lines are corny.”
Yup, and it’s awesome! Think of it as a throwback to action movies of the ‘80s with Terminator and Rambo, except the F&F films say these lines on purpose, kind of as a homage to those action flicks of the past. When Quentin Tarentino has corny lines or cheesy music to pay homage to a genre of movies, he is a genius for it. Sure, he may do it better, but the idea is the same. The movie wants you to cheer. It wants you to feel the excitement. To feel the rush.
When Dom looks at the camera and says he’s gonna hurt Shaw so bad that words “ain’t been invented yet,” you’re supposed to be caught in the moment of cheeziness and laugh along. When The Rock breaks his cast off by flexing and spits out “Daddy has to go to work,” you know a badass action scene is coming and somehow, someway, The Rock is going to bring down at attack drone all by himself. And you should love it.
“There is no plot.”
Seriously? There is no plot? You can argue with me that these movies may not have a “good” plot, but to say there is no plot just screams that you haven’t seen all the movies (I’ll get to that next) or you aren’t paying attention. The first film’s plot is pretty straight forward. And after the second one, all of the films set up the next and intertwine while building on what has already happened. In regards to the 7th film, from what I have read, it was supposed to end differently and set up the 8th more, but cast and crew wanted to send Paul off in a nice way (again, more on that later) and with his death it made filming a bit limited. But still, there is a damn plot.
There is also a pretty big theme: Family. And it’s mainly a family of your own choosing and the bonds we create and what we would do to protect them. This isn’t a Transformers flick where we don’t care about the characters and it’s just action for the sake of it. We care about what happens, and it was painful to sit and like Han more and more for three films knowing he was gonna die.
“It’s not realistic.”
No shit! Thank you, Captain Obvious. It’s Hollywood. Please name me a Hollywood film that is 100% true to every single detail. Bet you can’t. Even in very accurate movies, they change one or two events for the audience to understand or the movie to flow or to be visually aesthetic. Certain movies you go see for realism and accuracy. Obviously F&F is not that and–again–say it with me, “THAT’S OK.” It doesn’t want to be. It’s not like our history books in school that tell lies about George Washington. This isn’t a documentary trying to shine light on a societal issue. This is Fast and Furious.
Please tell me where in the movie the director stops the film, gets on camera and says “By the way, Paul could totally run up the top of the bus as it is falling off a 10,000-foot cliff, jump and catch a car spoiler that is whipping off the edge.” He doesn’t. Cause there is no need to. You trying to tell me that you only watch, read or imagine things that are 100% real? If that’s the case, I challenge you to be a little creative and let loose a little bit. Have some fun.
I bet people that dislike F&F for realism just love Avengers or Star Wars. And don’t give me that “it’s a different universe” or “they explain themselves” bullshit answer either. (This friend loves Jurassic Park–even though it is not one bit realistic–because they “explain” their science). Well F&F can explain it, too. It’s called being badass.
“So stupid they’ve made seven of them, even though I have only seen the second one.”
Talking bad about a movie franchise you haven’t completely seen is like bad-mouthing the Great Wall even though you’ve never been to China. Once you go, you can tell me how much you hate it all you want. Until then, you can’t.
Just because you don’t understand or know what’s happening, doesn’t make it stupid. They made like half-a-dozen Harry Potters and Lord of the Rings and I don’t hear nearly as much criticism about those films and they involve wizards and hobbits. But, yeah, Fast and Furious is unbelievable.
“The sounds of the cars don’t match up with the actual car that’s on screen.”
Thank you, Henry Ford. Next.
“The type of beer he drinks from a keg doesn’t come in a keg size.”
Thank you, Sam Adams. If this is the shit you notice in a movie, then you’re doing it wrong.
“OK, the ending is sad.”
He actually didn’t have anything bad to say about the ending, because there is nothing bad to say about it. I just wanted to bring up how well they sent off his character, and how it must have felt for the cast. As someone who lost his father suddenly in an accident, I think it would have been really cool to get to say “bye” to him…even if it was just CGI.
Look, life is hard. Life is real. We deal with stress every day in different forms and different levels. Every decision we make carries the weight of that looming consequence or reward. The world seems to be falling apart. It is very important that we all be aware and involved with issues that affect us and those around us so we can begin to make changes in the world.
But, in my opinion, that’s why we should be embracing films like Fast and Furious. Films that are fun, senseless and can transport us away from the real world for a few hours. It won’t make you clueless to the real problems of the world, I promise. Liking F&F won’t make that artsy award-winning film you love any less special. You’ll still be hip. Sharing your favourite, unbelievable stunt with friends doesn’t make them think you believe it can actually happen. Just enjoy the thrills, the explosions, the fight scenes and Paul’s stunning blue eyes. If you take yourself too seriously to enjoy something that was made purely to entertain you and not take serious, then may I suggest staying away from FOX news.