and I went to see Fast & Furious 6
last night with every 20-something meathead in a tri-county area. The two sitting directly behind us were my favorite. At every explosion they would AWWWW like it was the 4th of July. At every snappy line of funny dialog they would AWWWW like it was an HBO comedy special. And at every flash of a girl in a tightly fitting outfit they would AWWWW like it was free Playboy subscription. Did you catch the different inflections in all those AWWWWs? Because they were varied and distinct.
Let's not mince words here - I came for the epic bromance between Dom and Brian. That is the main thing in this franchise that is worth my price of admission. I like the cars, I like the banter, I love the supporting team members, but at the end of the day I'm there to watch Paul Walker and Vin Diesel stare at each other like star-crossed lovers. So while every college-age frat boy probably loved this movie with it's flashy cars, shiny explosions and hot girl fights, I was severely disappointed. The heart of this franchise is the Dom/Brian relationship. In every movie it had grown and evolved. In FF1 went from distrust to trust then back to distrust then to begrudging respect. FF2 was all about regret. We don't talk about FF3. FF4 offered the opportunity for redemption and FF5 was the final coming together. The original push-pull of their cop-criminal relationship was gone. They were brothers now, a family.
I expected FF6 to continue down this path. Strengthen their existing relationship and add another chapter to the Epic Love Story of Dominic Torretto and Brian O'Connor. But I don't feel like I got that from this movie. First of all - THERE WAS NO HUGGING. Well, okay, no Brian/Dom hugging. UNACCEPTABLE. Second of all - OMG DID THESE PEOPLE NOT PASS 8TH GRADE PHYSICS. Dom and Letty are both dead right now. No, I don't care what the movie fucking handwaved. DEAD. Third of all - I just didn't feel the connection. For a movie lousy with call backs to the first five movies I expected a healthy dose of nostalgic brotp moments. Nope.
This isn't to say the movie was all bad. Like I mentioned, the call backs to earlier movies was outstanding. It almost felt fanfic-y at times with how much they winked and nodded at the past. I appreciated every nod to a previous movie; like Stasiak getting his nose broken again by Brian, Han wanting to settle in Tokyo (and damn it, I guess we have to finally admit FF3 really did happen. BOO), someone leaping from a moving object onto a car, and finally getting back to the original house in Los Angeles (okay, so in that moment the entire theater went AWWW!!!! I may have punched Theresa in the arm hissing THEY'RE HOME!!!!!). The one thing that kinda blows my mind about this franchise is re-watching FF1 and realizing this all started with a little movie about street racing. The were so young then; so brash and street smart and rough. Now they're millionaires pulling off bank heists and going up against drug cartels and helping stop international criminals from starting WWIII. They wandered so far from home, it was satisfying to see them end up back on the Torretto's back lawn, having a BBQ and offering up a prayer of thanks. Although I'd love it if the 7th movie got them back to their roots, I'm afraid the wild success of the last two movies makes that nearly impossible.
I understand these movies are made for the summer popcorn eating crowd, but that doesn't mean it can't expand the genre. NPR did a story the other day on these movies (I do not know how much Vin Diesel gives during the Pledge Drive, but I'm assuming it is a LOT considering the thinking man's coverage this station commits to this franchise) talking about how effortlessly multicultural these movies are and how in some ways they raised the bar on what to expect from a summer "guy" movie. They were one of the first to use a lot of subtitles ("No one goes to a summer action movie wanting to read"), they integrated a sense of place into the car races (FF4's Mexican street race feels entirely different to FF6's race through( Spoilers (and not the kind on the back of your souped up hotrod)...Collapse )
TL;DR needed more hugging and less bad physics.