Tag Archive: the fast and the furious


2013 will see the release of the sixth film in the highly commercially successful and highly critically criticised Fast & Furious franchise. Last week Vin Diesel uploaded some pictures to his Facebook account of him on set and these photos were met with largely negative response to people on the internet with people saying things like “oh look, Vin Diesel in a car, they’re really pushing the boat out for this one” or just simply “shit” etc etc etc. But really, what did people expect from the Fast & Furious franchise? And with every film pulling in great box offices so far and the latest instalment Fast Five being the highest praised and highest box office is there any need for all the negativity and is there any need for the series to be clamped?

It all began back in 2001 when producers decided to make a film about street racing clubs that use Japanese cars to race in New York City. And the first instalment, The Fast and the Furious, set the tone for what every other film that follows was set to be about; illegal street racing. And while these are just typical popcorn, mindless action films (up until Fast Five) is there really anything wrong with that? Actors, especially back in the 80s, have made names for themselves in making mindless action movies and what we have here is just an hour and a half – two hours of real escapist fun. The films aren’t made for the critics, they’re made for the fans and as long as the fans are out there the films will get made.

The fourth instalment reunited the original cast… if only for a brief time.

Whilst the series continues with 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, when the rightful sequel arrived in 2009 with the original cast members all back together the franchise seemed to be reborn. Fast & Furious reunited Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez as well as adding new characters that would seem to become main players in the franchise from her on out: Gal Gadot and Sung Kang (the latter also appearing in Tokyo Drift). With Fast Five some more talent was added and Dwayne Johnson received high critical praise for his performance (and is it any wonder? He was brilliant!) and the series continues to add fresh acting talent with The Fast and the Furious 6 adding Luke Evans, Gina Carano and Joe Taslim. It was rumoured that Rihanna (excuse me while I throw up) was reported to be in the next instalment but thanks to scheduling conflicts (Hallelujah!) we are not being subjected to that torture and she is rumoured to be replaced by British pop sensation Rita Ora… interesting.

Various shots of The Fast and the Furious 6 in production

Anyway, it was Fast Five that was the real game changer. It seems that now Fast & Furious has finally reached it’s full potential. With Fast Five, the writers, cast, crew, directors, producers, whoever! had got a grasp on what was going on in the series and Fast Five showed that it was more than just mindless action. They allowed for real character development; it was great to see how much Dom Turetto had changed since his first outing in 2001 as well as Paul Walker’s former cop turned criminal’s relationship with Jordana Brewster’s character. The really disheartening thing is that, because people think the first few films are rubbish, the majority of people will not watch Fast Five and they are missing out on a real treat and one of the greatest action films of all time!

Yes, the acting isn’t always brilliant and the stories aren’t always gripping but Fast & Furious has never set out to be a contender for big awards in film making. For this series it’s all about having fun; fast cars, hot women, tough men, big action scenes and explosions. And when you watch Fast & Furious you can’t help but have fun. So people should stop moaning about the quality of previous films, sit down and watch Fast & Furious (2009) followed by Fast Five and prepare to be swamped in fun, explosions and at times surprisingly touching friendships. Embrace it.

 

 

How can you not want to at least watch Fast Five after that?

UK Release Date: 23rd November 2012.

Stars: David Ayer (director), Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, Cody Horn, David Harbour.

Plot: Two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel, during a routine traffic stop.

From the writer of such crime and action films such as Training Day, The Fast and the Furious, S.W.A.T comes his latest film which is written, directed and produced by this man: End of Watch. Based on his previous films the action should be handled pretty well and will probably be placed above character in the order of prominence.

However, judging by the trailer, End of Watch seems to place more importance on character development and relationships that any of Ayer’s previous work so this could be a step in the right direction. Gyllenhaal and Pena play the two cops who come under attack by the drug cartel and hopefully their chemistry will be believable.

If the film is entirely shot in the same way as the trailer, with the action scenes sliced together with scenes that look like they are from a cop documentary then I would be very interested to see it. But the trailer seems to split itself into two halves. In the beginning it looks like a more realistic and real life look at the work of police officers, then it turns into just a generic action cop film. I think that once you’ve seen so many cop films they all become the same.

Saying that though, I do think End of Watch looks pretty good.

Fast Five (2011) Review.

Fast Five was the latest instalment in the Fast & Furious franchise which saw its main cast return, directed by Justin Lin and written by Chris Morgan (the duo previously worked on The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious). It is time that this franchise had some new life injected into it as it had began to grow stale and audience may be getting bored with seeing the same thing over and over again so what was changed and how good is Fast Five really?

The official synopsis of Fast Five is thus: Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story; Fast Five is not just a simple ‘you chase me, I’ll chase you’ story like the original films as the brief synopsis would suggest, instead the characters are put into a different world in South America where they attempt to pull off a huge heist and but their freedom.

The main cast of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster all return with some very familiar faces in the world of The Fast & The Furious; Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Gia Gadot, Matt Schulze and Sung Kang. The return of all these cast members are very obvious nods to the previous films and an acknowledgement of where the franchise has come from. New additions to the cast include Dwayne Johnson, Elsa Pataky and Michael Irby who all come to the franchise with very different qualifications: Johnson is the ‘tough guy’, Pataky is the ‘beautiful woman’ and Irby is the ‘evil foreigner’ and anyone who has watched the rest of these films should be more than familiar with those stereotypes.

So the same cast are back and they’re still driving fast cars and parading around beautiful woman so what exactly makes Fast Five so different to the rest of the films? The heist. This is the first memorable opportunity for us to see just how clever these guys are; obviously Brian O’Conner (Walker) is a former cop and clearly is quite smart but now we get to see Domini Toretto’s intelligence as he plans the heist to perfection and we can now understand how it is that Turetto has managed to outrun the law for so long. There is a great montage where the main trio of characters are talking about different members of the team they are going to need which plays over the scenes of all the characters coming together to meet at the arranged location and the editing is just fantastic. The high quality of editing goes much unnoticed by most people but it is there and it is subtle in Fast Five and it just helps the film to run so smoothly.

Of course, if the main heist at the end of the movie was the only action we got to see many fans of the Fast & Furious franchise would be disappointed. There is plenty of action and enough explosions to entertain audiences increasing in scale right from the off: to being we have a small scale prison break, then a mid-scale train robbery, then we get to see Vin Diesel and ‘the Rock’ take each other on in a great fight scene before the huge scale heist which involves driving away with a safe attached to the back of two cars… from a police station. Some things that happen really do ask the audience to suspend their disbelief for a few moments but it wouldn’t be the great popcorn action flick that it is if it didn’t.

There is a lot here to enjoy for fans of the franchise and is an easy jump-in point for anyone looking to get involved; there isn’t exactly a deep running storyline through these films but Fast Five is well worth watching. It’s pretty much Ocean’s Eleven in cars and one of the best action films of recent years.

The Face of the Bourne Franchise: Past & Present

It was stated earlier this week by The Bourne Legacy producer Frank Marshal that it would be his dream to see Matt Damon and Jeremy Renner on the screen together in a future Bourne film as Jason Bourne and Aaron Cross respectively. This is something that fans of the series will no doubt be drooling at the prospect of if the Renner helmed The Bourne Legacy does as well as expected this summer. But it would not be the first time that several characters from a single franchise had appeared together.

Back in 2008 Marvel Studios began a four year adventure with what is quite possibly the best piece of foreshadowing in movie history; Nick Fury’s appearance post-credits Iron Man announcing something called the Avengers Initiative? Later, Marvel released Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Iron Man 2 before bringing all strands of their universe together in a little movie you may have heard about this year: The Avengers. The Avengers became the third highest grossing film in movie history and one of the key reasons for this is no doubt because it is the culmination of a multi-strand franchise, bringing together the best characters from a series of film all together in one film sharing the screen time. This could be the start of something new for the movie universe.

Comic book readers’ dreams came true when The Avengers exceeded expectations this summer

Of course, movie fans with a specialist knowledge, shall we say, will point out that Marvel’s The Avengers is not the first film to bring together characters from a successful movie series. Although, by any stretch of the imagination, not on the same level commercially or critically as The Avengers, in 2011 the Fast & Furious franchise brought out Fast Five; not only did Fast Five feature the main characters of the franchise (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker) it also brought back characters from previous films such as Tyrese Gibson’s Roman Pearce from 2 Fast 2 Furious (of which Vin Diesel had no part), Sung Kang’s Han (Tokyo Drift) and Gal Gadot’s Gisele Harabo (Fast & Furious). This was not a ploy to pull in audiences (that was all thanks to Dwayne Johnson!) but more of a nod to fans of the franchise and I have to say that when I saw all the characters from the previous films coming together for Fast Five I was really surprised and pleased to see them all there! It’s just a real acknowledgement that these characters do know each other and I think that it adds another level to, not only, the friendship of the characters but also the film universe itself. Of course I was happier to see Iron Man fighting alongside Hulk and Thor but seeing everyone from the Fast & Furious franchise working together was almost just as pleasing; I imagine seeing Damon and Renner fighting together in a later Bourne film would have exactly the same effect.

The Fast Five crew is built of characters from the previous four films.

I think that audiences really like it when they see old characters from previous films returning to help out their friends in a later film or just appear at the same time. It is also a big money spinner as The Avengers proved and Fast Five is also the most successful film of that franchise, helping to retain some credibility for the Fast and the Furious brand.

Obviously, it is a huge commitment when doing something like this because plans have to be set in motion several years before the big event and that means taking huge risks. For example, if both Thor and Captain America solo films had failed then all the hard work heading towards The Avengers wouldn’t have paid off. This is a risk that DC comics and Warner Bros. do not seem to be taking with their comic book heroes despite fans crying out for the ‘Avengers model’ on Justice League.

My opinion is that these multi-strand franchises are a fantastic idea and they have an incredible effect on me as a member of the audience. Unfortunately though, people who make movies do not have foresight and can not tell whether a series of films will be just as successful in a few years so it may be time wasted that could have earned money somewhere else but when done properly they are like nothing else; the journey from Iron Man to The Avengers was fantastic to see on screen with all these solo films being connected in the slightest of ways (and not so slight in Iron Man 2) but it’s unlike anything that’s ever been done before and if more franchises could use this model I, for one, would be very very happy about that!