Directed by: Same guy who made Straight Outta Compton
Written by: Chris Morgan
Starring: Don’t pretend like you don’t already know
Runtime: 35 minutes
On Wednesday, April 17, 2017, I saw a movie called Your Name. at the Angelika Film Center in Fairfax, VA. It was a lovely Japanese movie, one of the best fifty films I’ve ever seen, and I highly recommend everyone see it as soon as possible. I cannot guarantee that a review will be coming shortly; it’s not something that’s easy to write about.
The Fast and the Furious franchise is not particularly easy to write about either, unfortunately. I’ve spent some time in the Terrible Blog Scientific Research Facility and Laboratory and developed a pretty solid theorem which states that any average human being currently occupying Earth has either a) seen all of the Fast and the Furious movies or b) seen none of the Fast and the Furious movies. The theorem does not allow for anything in between. You’re either a fan or you’re oblivious. You either think it’s an above-average action/thriller series that has deviated from street racing to heist set-ups, or you’re vaguely aware that some beefy bald guy drives a car really fast in them.
I can personally count myself a casual fan of the series; I’ve seen ‘em all, and I have my praises and criticisms. I love the drifting in Part 3, I hate the protagonist in…well, Part 3. I’ve made jokes in the past that the Fast and the Furious is the benchmark for action films and film trilogies, but we all know that’s horseshit. There is no grouping of three Fast and the Furious movies that matches up to the Evil Dead trilogy or the Dollars trilogy. The highs of the Fast and the Furious never comes close to the highs of Mad Max: Fury Road or The Seven Samurai. What it does – and this is not insignificant – is surpass The Expendables trilogy. Being above average in today’s film world, replete with remakes and practically devoid of creativity and originality, is respectable. They made eight of these for a reason, boys and girls. (This is my best excuse for why I went to watch it.)
I went to watch Fate of the Furious at a Regal theater in Arlington, VA, not thinking for a fraction of a second that it could possibly live up to the heavenly experience I had watching Your Name. I was accompanied by two associates, Josh Brody and Alex Sinar. I’m naming names so that they can confirm that what I’m about to describe to you folks actually happened.
We made our way to the theater in some worthless mall I’m never going to revisit, and discovered the theater had reclining seats. Not exactly Alamo Drafthouse, but a hell of a lot better than most of the theaters I grew up with. There was even a little tray to put the bucket of popcorn on so the butter doesn’t leak and drip all over your crotch. Regal thinks of everything (except showing good movies).
The first part of the movie involved Dom Toretto being forced/inserting himself (some blurred lines here) into a street race with some Big Shot Bobby on Cuba; Toretto is forced to race his cousin’s car, the slowest on the island, against this guy’s car, the fastest on the island. Despite his cousin’s protestations, Dom’s pretty confident he can take what appears to be the shittiest car in recorded history to the limit to take down some guy we’ve never seen in seven (7) prior movies. The first thing he does is tear apart half the car, stripping off excess weight that would only be wasted protecting a driver against collisions or some bullshit. He then outfits the crummy engine with pure unfiltered Cuban nitrous oxide, as Letty Ortiz warns him that the engine can’t handle it. Nah, it’s okay, he comforts us; it’s not about the engine, it’s about the driver. No, you don’t understand, continues Letty, the engine will literally burst into flames and explode. Toretto says something asinine like “just you watch” or whatever. Homeboy’s driving a car that’s one step away from a horse and buggy and he just knows he’s going to beat the best car in Cuba. N2O is this series’ deus ex machina.
|Half the fun is just watching Vin Diesel haphazardly rip parts off the car.|
Toretto obviously wins the race (whoa, unmarked spoilers Chris, stay in your lane), but the journey to the finish line is really something special in this stupid movie for idiot babies. He’s obviously losing for most of the way (Suspense 101), so he hits the N2O button. This propels him into competitive speed, but it’s still not quite enough. Also turns out Letty was right for once in her life, and the engine – what little of it actually constitutes a motor – is shaking around like a belly dancer in an earthquake. It literally bursts into flames on the final stretch, and Dom gets a hilariously great idea: he spins the car around and goes into reverse like it’s Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, uses the explosion of the engine to boost across the finish line for the win, then spirals the car into the ocean. Oh yeah, then he gives his beautiful, perfect car to his cousin, who is never named and is referred to only as Cousin, for no real reason in particular. Something about family, I’m sure. Then he gets forced into a job by Charlize Theron in blonde dreadlocks.
The movie then cuts to The “Dwayne Johnson” Rock as a little league girls soccer coach, leading his team in a Haka dance. This is a very special dance in Samoa, one that is very special in Polynesian culture. Word has it (I did a crummy youtube search) that this dance was blessed by the elders. Then The Rock makes this weird sorta dragon face with his tongue flaring out and everyone lost it. A government agent pulls him back in to acquire some technobabble thingamajig, and ol’ Rocky says “Oh, don’t worry. I’ve already got a team I trust.” You people have no idea just how much I wanted him to bring along that soccer team.
The Rock and Toretto team up with the usual suspects to steal the whatever-it-is technology thing, but Toretto goes rogue and steals the thing for himself. Wham bam thank you ma’am, The Rock gets imprisoned along with none other than Jason Statham, who’s really in rare form in this movie. He’s talking way faster than normal and keeps thinking he can fight The Rock one-on-one. Bear in mind, The Dwayne is the biggest he’s been in a movie since Pain & Gain. An excellent prison escape ensues, where The Rock gets shot with rubber bullets and just grunts “big mistake.” Both Statham and The Rock are saved by Kurt Russell (still riding his never-made-a-bad-movie streak) and…
The film cut to black. The projector died.
Immediately screams, groans, moans, yells, yelps, shouts, roars, bellows, howls, hollers, and shrieks filled the theater. The guy next to us cried out “TORETTOOOOOOOOOOO!” Everyone began pounding their seats’ trays. Alex yelled out “no, you guys don’t understand, that’s where the movie ends!” and the same guy responded “NOOOOOO IT WAS LIKE TWENTY MINUTES!” I swear on my life he yelled like a Jets fan when they drafted Roger Vick. In between demands for a refund and spilling Sprite on his friend’s jeans, he also instructed us to add him on snapchat. Never miss an opportunity to promote your brand (incidentally, you can read more about the Fast and the Furious here).
Some background: Josh and I used to work at a Regal movie theater in Rockville, MD, and whenever something like this happens, it’s a genuine nightmare. Refunds are given and the entire theater is shut down. Very bad for business to say the least. Usually the staff is very conciliatory and apologetic. Everyone was shouting so loud, however, that the projectionist was shouting above the clamor about how he was trying to rewind it, and people were laughing back at him. It was a near riot. They were able to get it to rewind, but the projector died at the exact same spot it died at before. The yelling got even louder and we all filed out for our refund tickets. They didn’t even have the decency to show us Boss Baby.
I’m sure the movie lasted longer than the 35 minutes I got to see of it, but I wouldn’t know. As far as I’m concerned, the movie ended right then and there. It’s not like I could go out and watch the rest of it; nothing is ever going to live up to that theater experience. Besides, it's not like immediately after that point in the movie the plot is going to become a convoluted, nonsensical mess while Charlize Theron gives a horrendously boring performance and they try to make Clint Eastwood's shitty kid a part of the crew.
I’m so happy Alex paid for those tickets. I guess this is just going to have to constitute as my review, consider this Gonzo journalism.
|Except without this guy hanging around|