The Countdown is Over: “Furious 7” and Thoughts on “Fate of the Furious”

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Remember when these guys mainly drove Honda Civics?

Kevin: That’s it, we’re finally done. No more speeches about family from childless criminals, no more hearing the word “nos” 800 times, no more watching Jordana Brewster act. Our long march toward the “Fate of the Furious” (see bottom of the page for links to previous movies) is concluded with “Furious 7,” in which the crew barely has time to relax after taking down master criminal Owen Shaw when his much more fearsome brother Deckhard Shaw (Jason Statham) shows up looking for revenge.

New director James Wan took over from Justin Lin and gave Paul Walker a respectful send-off after the actor died in a car accident during filming, while adding Kurt Russell to the mix proved that yes, Kurt Russell makes everything better. We’re still waiting on Ja Rule to return since his first appearance since the original, but for the time being let’s take a look at “Furious 7” before going into CJ’s thoughts on “Fate of the Furious” (Note that there will be some spoilers for the new entry below):

Kevin: Dom must be a big fan of “The Vow” with Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, because he starts the movie romantically trying to jog her memory by taking her to all the things they used to do together.

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This scene always makes Dom laugh, and also cry a little.

First up, “Race Wars”! No it’s not what you’re thinking, it’s the giant desert street racing event first seen in the original, but the name hasn’t gotten any less “problematic” since 2001. By the way, when Letty asks, “We used to come here?,” Dom responds, “We invented it.” Since it appears that this illegal event is being heavily sponsored by Monster energy drink, does that mean they get a cut of that money as well?

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As Ripley would say, “Nuke it from orbit.”

I wouldn’t normally think that a movie filmed in 2014 could already be called “dated,” until I saw the cameo from rapper Iggy Azalea, whose three-line performance makes me long for the subtle nuances Devon Aoki brought to her role as Suki in “2 Fast 2 Furious.” Also, between this and the Rita Ora cameo in the last one, this series is great at featuring then-hot female rappers who obviously stood the test of time.

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Must … resist … “White Girls” reference!

Hobbs is also back, seen at his desk doing paperwork but working up enough of a sweat to constantly be wiping himself with a towel, which feels like a callback except I’m not sure to what. Elena is also back as well, but her new short haircut is doing Elsa Pataky no favors. Hobbs presents Elena with a letter of recommendation, saying he meant every word in there. I’m guessing he left out the part where Elena shacked up with a wanted international fugitive for a while. If he did I’m guessing he left out the part about how the fugitive who convinced her to give up her life and career was Vin Diesel, because that does not reflect well on her judgment or her eyesight.

CJ: So Hobbs has given Elena her letter of recommendation, which, okay, fine. But what bothers me is, how DID Hobbs get Elena a job at the CIA in the first place? What’s his sell? Some newbie Brazilian cop who abandoned her post to run away with a known criminal would be a great fit for Team America? I’m starting to think that maybe (spoiler alert), Dom’s baby in “Fast 8” isn’t really his! Also, given the timeline, shouldn’t she be looking a little pregnant at this point? I mean, they handled the whole “’Tokyo Drift’ takes place way in the future” thing so well, I can’t imagine they’d screw this up.

Kevin: Hobbs to Shaw: “I’m the last man on Earth whose computer you want to be hacking into.” John Podesta might disagree with that statement. Also, we’re all pretty sure that Hobbs must have some porn on there he doesn’t want being seen, right?

Hobbs’ fight with Statham also reminds me that I don’t tape enough guns to the bottoms of my tables around my house. In movies they always come in super handy.

Back in L.A. at the old Toretto home, Mia laments to Dom that Brian is obviously feeling constrained by family life, and when she tried to talk to him he said he didn’t miss the girls, he didn’t miss the cars, he missed “the bullets.” First of all, the thing about not missing the girls is bullshit, but if he truly misses the thrill of almost getting killed he needs serious therapy. When she reveals that she’s pregnant, she says she hasn’t told Brian yet because, “I don’t want him to be disappointed with his life.”

Okay, does Mia behave like any woman any of ya’ll have ever dated? I think in real life she would tell Brian to get the fuck over it and start driving for Uber because they have another mouth to feed now.

CJ: I also like the concept that Mia thinks having a second child would make Brian disappointed in his life. Apparently she is deeply in love with a man who, at the thought of fatherhood, is expected to react with, “Well fuck this shit.”

Also after Shaw sets off the explosion at Dom’s house, notice not a single neighbor came outside to see if they were okay? My guess is Dom’s BBQs were loud and the Torettos got what’s been coming.

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Would you want these douchebags in your neighborhood every weekend?

Kevin: In his hospital room after almost getting killed by Shaw, we discover that Hobbs – the guy who busts criminals around the globe and who never talks about family – apparently had time to raise a daughter. But get ready for 20 upcoming speeches about family by the childless Dom.

Finally, we’ve come full circle back to the end of “Tokyo Drift,” which means we are technically in a time period where everyone is still using flip phones, but let’s not focus on that.

CJ: Yes and apparently no one was supposed to notice that even though the events of “Tokyo Drift” just happened, Sean has instantly developed a severe receding hairline.

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Kevin:

Sean to Dom: “When you find the guy that killed Han, what are you gonna do?”

Dom: “Words ain’t even been invented yet.”

Me: And if they were you wouldn’t be able to pronounce them.

(Also note that since Shaw is alive and well in “Fate of the Furious,” looks like all of Dom’s tough talk didn’t really amount to anything.)

CJ: Actually “Furious 7” has a lot of terrible lines that everyone seemed to brush by. Well not me. Here are things I thought as other people spoke:

Dom: “They say an open road helps you think about where you been and where you’re going.”

Me: Who says this? You made this up for this movie. This is not a real quote.

Letty: “You know me, I gotta ride or die.”

Me: Really? I prefer a casual jaunt and early to bed.

Dom: “This time it ain’t just about  being fast.”

Me: Let me guess, it’s about being furious! Right? No? Ahhhh, you guys suck.

Dom: “The thing about street fights? The street always wins.”

Me: Given the rampant destruction that’s gone on in L.A., I’d say the street got its ass handed to it. Also, shut up.

Kevin: Getting back to movie, Shaw randomly appears out of nowhere in L.A. to kill Dom, what will turn out to be a consistent theme in this movie. After their cars collide with each other head on and before Shaw is about to gun down Dom, a team of about 20 soldiers descend and start shooting. Shaw runs off around a corner as another SUV full of officers pulls up near him and … no one apparently chases after him? They just all stand there while Kurt Russell, as mysterious government agent Mr. Nobody, briefs Dom, all the while Shaw is probably only a block away on foot. This is like “Fast & Furious” when Braga escapes the sting operation and Dom chases after him, and the rest of the FBI … just goes home and calls it a night apparently.

CJ: I like how everyone in the world who comes into contact with Dom is legitimately afraid of him. Except Kurt Russell. Every scene he has, he always looks at Dom like he’s a cute puppy.

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Kevin: Mr. Nobody says he can help Dom get Shaw … the guy who was just there and they let get away, and who is still in Los Angeles and could probably be found pretty quickly if they, you know, actually started looking for him.

Instead he wants Dom to help him get the “God’s Eye,” one of those movie inventions that can track anyone anywhere at any time. If Dom rescues a hacker who can help them get the “God’s Eye,” Kurt will use it to find Shaw for Dom. Dom rightly points out that he can more easily wait for Shaw to come to him, but I guess because Mr. Nobody gave him a Corona he’s in.

He’s also assembled Dom’s team,  and once again Roman’s whole role appears to be explaining why they shouldn’t do whatever insane plan they are about to do.

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And to dress like Andre 3000.

The team descend in their cars from the sky to rescue Ramsey from a convoy of terrorists lead by Djimon Hounsou. It also turns out this world-class computer hacker Ramsey that they need is a hot chick! That’s never been done in a movie before, except for all of them.

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Yep, definitely every company IT person I’ve ever head to deal with.

CJ: Credit where credit is due, when the bus’ side cannons opened up and Tej rolled up his window, I laughed. I will say that I remember seeing this in the theater, and every stunt Brian had I wondered if this is where they kill him off. Anyone who says they thought otherwise is lying.

Kevin: Yes  Paul Walker’s real-life tragic death does lend an uncomfortable amount of tension to an otherwise ridiculous action film. It’s like waiting to find out how Crispin Glover lost his arm in the 1980’s portion of “Hot Tub Time Machine,” only much sadder.

But let’s not focus on that, if you thought Shaw colliding with Han at just the right time while he was being chased by Yakuza in “Tokyo Drift” was impressive, wait ‘til you see him just appear out of nowhere during the team’s mission in Bumfucknowheresville, Azerbaijan.  Also where did he get his own armored-up “Mad Max”-type vehicle? Was there a rental place at the bottom of the mountain?

CJ: After looking over Dom and his crew for like 10 seconds, here is how Ramsey breaks down the team:

Brian: Ex cop or military

Tej: Tech

Dom: Alpha

Letty: Mrs. Alpha

Roman: Joker

Here is how I interpreted her breakdown:

Skill, skill, no skill, no skill, no skill. Yeah I’d definitely want my life in their hands.

Kevin: The movie then moves to a large skyscraper in Abu Dhabi because the team needs a vital computer chip there, and also because one of the “Mission Impossible” movies did basically the same thing, and why start getting original now?

While attempting to steal the chip, which of course is being stored in an expensive luxury car, Letty winds up in a fight with a bodyguard played by Ronda Rousey, who has just two lines and is still instantly the worst actor in “Fast and Furious” history. Let’s just say I apologize for every bad word I said about Gina Carano’s thespian abilities in the last one.

Vin before driving the car through some hotel doors: “Time to unleash the beast.” This is the only context I ever want to hear Vin say that. By the way, after Shaw has of course shown up again out of nowhere and started firing at them, Dom and Brian drive the car through three different buildings before jumping out and letting it crash onto the ground below, miraculously not killing anyone although no thanks to these heroes.

After getting the chip, Mr. Nobody uses the “God’s Eye” to track down Shaw, who it turns out is now working with Hounsou (enemy of my enemy is my friend, yada, yada). Mr. Nobody’s team is massacred and even though he gets shot he is okay because he is wearing a bulletproof vest that for some reason looks like Aquaman’s scales (ironic considering James Wan’s next film is in fact “Aquaman).

CJ: Quick side story: when I saw this in the theater, we got to the scene where Kurt Russell throws on his shades and gets to business killing baddies in the warehouse. I immediately started clapping. No one else did. That is all the proof you need to know that this generation is a bunch of pussies and we are all doomed.

Kevin: Well before we all perish let’s get to the climax. Hounsou has the “God’s Eye” but needs to take out Ramsey so she can’t disable it or something. Knowing that he is coming after them wherever they go, Dom says, “If a war is coming, we’re gonna face it on the streets we know best,” after which we cut to a shot of downtown Los Angeles. The citizens of L.A.: “Gee thanks for bringing your war here Dom!”

Roman: “I don’t even have a gun!”

Dom: “A gun? We got a whole city!”

Me: Yeah I’d still also like a gun.

CJ: When Roman says he doesn’t plan on dying today he also points to his watch. There isn’t really a joke here other than I think Roman might be stupid.

Kevin: Hounsou is tracking the team from a helicopter while attacking them with a Predator drone. While being shot at by the drone, Brian hides his car under an 18-wheeler, causing the drone to shoot and kill the driver. Great job Brian! I’m also not sure why the cops are more concerned about the speeding drivers than the drone raining missiles from above, except that this is Los Angeles and I’m sure they have a speeding ticket quota they have to fill no matter what.

CJ: While this is going on Dom and Shaw again collide their cars head on. When Dom starts talking about having a street fight with Shaw, he fires off his shotgun into the air. The angle wasn’t that high though, and I would have loved an off-screen “Oh shit he shot my husband!” Dom also punches the car and puts a big dent in it. Has anyone ever known someone so desperate to overcompensate for the fact he plays Dungeons and Dragons?

Finally we get back to Hobbs, who sees all this going on and breaks his cast off his arm by flexing his bicep. The first time I saw this I squealed like a girl, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

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Yeah this is what the doctor told me to do right after I had my cast off as well.

Kevin: Although I find it strange that considering Hobbs is by far the most trained and capable person they know, that Dom and the gang didn’t seek his help. Or at least warn him that they would be turning downtown L.A. into a war zone. Either way I am impressed that Hobbs knew exactly where the drone was in the tunnel underneath him and was able to perfectly time it so that he collided with it after crashing off the bridge. Although if you told me that’s how Hobbs normally exits off a bridge I’d believe you too.

CJ: When Dom is helplessly watching Hounsou raining bullets on Letty I bet he wished he hadn’t fired his shotgun off into the air, right Dom? You stupid shit.

Kevin: Either way Dom manages to take out the helicopter (it involves a bag full of grenades and a muscle car defying all laws of physics) and while he appears to be on death’s door, the film gives me by far my favorite moment in the franchise, a flashback to Dom and Letty’s wedding featuring Vin wearing a tasteful formal white wifebeater and the most romantic vows you’ll ever hear:

Also it turns out that Shaw survived and is being held in some fortified underground prison. Hey Dom, I think they actually did invent a word for that, it’s called “imprisonment.” I wonder if he will be locked up for long. Actually no I don’t, because we sent CJ to check out “The Fate of the Furious” to answer that and many more of our burning questions. Here is what he reported back:

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Okay CJ, let’s start with what everyone wants to know: Is Ja Rule finally back in a “Fast and Furious” movie?

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I hate to start this off by bringing everyone down, but no, Ja Rule has once again been left at home. I imagine he’s somewhere in his home scribbling “Monica!” over and over again.

Apparently the runtime on this is 2 hours 40 minutes. Now I’m sure the integrity of the story demands such a length, BUT, if you were a professional editor and were told you had to cut maybe 20 minutes, is there anything you could possibly think of that might be able to go?

Hmmm, maybe the first 20 minutes. Or last 20 minutes. Or 20 individual minutes chosen at random spaced throughout the movie. I will say, you definitely notice the running time in this movie. For example, during the opening scene Dom races not a mile, but a Cuban mile. What a Cuban mile is is never explained, so I had to assume it just meant “Drive around a while, despite not being told the route you have to take, but somehow end up at the end.” Point is, Dom wins and gets the other guy’s car and his respect. Dom says he doesn’t want the guy’s car, but will take his respect. That’s when I noticed the runtime because I went, “I have 2.5 hours left to go …”

Apparently Jason Statham has gone from villain in “Furious 7” to one of the good guys now. In addition to killing the beloved Han, the last one also opened after he had apparently massacred dozens of cops and at least a few hospital staff. How does the movie deal with this tricky moral conundrum, or, more likely, do they just ignore it and move on?

You’re correct, he is on the team. Enough chit chat, let’s get to work and find Dom!

I’ve read that Scott Eastwood is the new de facto substitute for Brian: Two questions: 1) Can he possibly match the acting chops of Paul Walker? And 2) Does he continue Brian’s tradition of being completely uninterested in helping the victims of accidents he causes?

1) Nope, which should be frightening to us all.

2) He was even less interested in being good at saying his lines, seeming believable, being likable, or generally any of the things associated with acting. He seemed content to just continue to get gigs because he’s good looking and Clint Eastwood’s son. I’d hate him if it wasn’t for the fact that I would do the exact same thing.

For instance, there is a scene where Charlize Theron’s villain Cipher has hacked into all the cars in NYC and created a Carmageddon scenario in which she manually causes all the cars to drive recklessly. We see people in these cars who clearly must be killed, and Eastwood does nothing, as he is only focused on getting Dom. Then again, other people who didn’t care either include the team, Kurt Russell, The Rock, the NYPD, and general passersby.

Speaking of which, how do they explain away Brian’s absence? Is there a scene where someone mentions, “yeah Brian just called and said he and Mia are stuck at the airport in Minneapolis, but he wishes us good luck”?

“Hey guys, Brian would know what to do and how to help.”

“No, we can’t involve him in this.”

(End scene, everyone in audience makes uncomfortable eye contact with each other)

In typical “F&F” fashion, does any government agency impose a completely arbitrary deadline to close an investigation?

Kevin asked this question yesterday and gave me a 43-minute deadline to answer. So I guess you’ll never know.

Does anyone have a conversation with another person while they are driving separate cars at 100 mph and can’t possibly know what the other person is saying?

No, they just talk to themselves now. It’s more like “Oh, he thinks he’ll catch me? Oh no he won’t!” which I’d have to imagine is even more awkward had another driver seen them mouthing words to no one in particular. They’ve basically all become that guy in the bar who screams “Throw a strike!” at the TV while everyone else shifts their chairs away from him.

Does someone say, “Ah hell no!”

Yes, the movie has African-American cast members.

Are we graced with another glorified cameo by Kurt Russell? And if so, does he actually do his job this time instead of just fucking up horribly, getting injured, and turning over the entire operation to Dom and his team at the worst possible time?

We are, and it’s always good to see Kurt! He doesn’t do much though, and seems to constantly be laughing through his lines. I honestly think he showed up to set drunk. One more reason why Kurt Russell is awesome.

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“What time is happy hour at Applebee’s again?”

Apparently they are able to shoe-horn in an actual street race in Cuba. I hope that in typical “F&F” tradition that this event features the finest skanks Castro’s impoverished Communist utopia can offer.

If what I saw during the street race is indicative of what Cuba is about, then curse all our previous presidents from keeping us from this fine land! Apparently Cuba has two things: rampant poverty and hot whores.

At some point does Roman state the obvious but it’s taken as comedic relief? Something along the lines of “Oh hell nah?! They got a submarine y’all!”

I think he actually says that word for word.

Now that we’re on submarines, does Tej know the make, model, and entire schematic layout of the Russian submarine we all saw in the trailer? And does he hack into its security system with his dashboard laptop?

Not only does he know it, he knows the exact chip they need to remove to disable the nuke. This is without having ever been in one. Because it’s a RUSSIAN sub. No one questions him, in fact they accept it as fact on the spot. Even Hobbs, who logically should be like “Well let’s go over the schematics or talk to all these naval people we have access to. Oh who am I kidding, it’s Tej! He’s a pro!”

Does Hobbs finally have his own team again or does he have to rely on Dom’s idiots as usual? Remember how in “Fast Five” he had this much cooler group of ex-Seal badasses he was supervising before they all got killed in an ambush (thanks in part to the actions of Dom and his crew)? Does the CIA operate on a strict policy whereby you get one team for your entire career and if you lose any of them then that’s it’s, no more for you?

They literally ask Hobbs if he has a team and his first choice is the Furious crew. If I’m the CIA I would have responded with, “Are you sure? It seems like every time you pick this team a LOT of innocent people die. It’s actually a little concerning how high the death toll has been and the fact we haven’t been sued yet.” Luckily in this installment they just Skyped with Dom, tracked his location, and Dom quietly turned himself into the authorities.

I’m also surprised that in this world Hobbs has signed off on not contacting Brian. I feel like a good cop would have said that if Brian can help, then they have no choice. They should have at least had a scene where Hobbs is leaving his 15th voicemail for Brian consisting of “Hey Brian, it’s Hobsy again. Just checking in to see if you got any of my other messages about Dom being a rogue agent and double-crossing everyone you love and not caring if they live or die. Okay, hope to talk to you soon.”

Apparently Charlize Theron is the only hacker in the world better than Tej. Is this more or less realistic than that super hot blonde Australian hacker in the first “Transformers” movie:

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Everything that happens in any Transformers movie is beautifully executed and accurate to all real world logic. That’s strike one, Kevin.

After causing I’m sure untold worldwide terror and loss of innocent life, what’s the chance that Theron will be welcomed into Dom’s crew in the next movie with open arms?

It all depends on what kind of sinister plans Gal Gadot has cooked up in “Fast 9.” I’m thinking she’s got some kind of robot appendages and is inflicting total carnage on any city that has harbored the Shaw brothers. It will also definitely feature a shitty scene where someone screams “HAAAAAAN!” while looking up into the sky.

Are there at least 9 powerful female roles in this movie? We all know that women can do anything men can do and that goes double for a fantasyland where male characters are doing things not even humanly possible. I for one am dog-ass tired of seeing women relegated to waitresses and prostitutes, and it would be refreshing for them to finally get the recognition they deserve after all this time. Also, do any of them show their tatas!?

There are no MMA fighters in this movie. I think we see the Rock’s nerps.

Letty has a whole storyline about not believing Dom has really turned against them, which is weird because the whole team believes it almost instantly. It’s kind of odd how Dom turns and they are all like “Yeah, I can see that.” Anyways, Letty is adamant it can’t be Dom because that’s not the Dom she knows. At no point does anyone go “Don’t you have amnesia?”

Is Dom actually a bad guy or is this some elaborate plan wherein he needs to pose as a bad guy in order to fool the actual bad guys into thinking he’s a bad guy and letting him into their inner circle? Because that would literally be the first time I’ve ever seen that.

Original? Oh Mikey, I’m pretty sure the first draft was just 2 hours of pictures of Paul Walker with sad emojis appearing on screen.

Does Dom drink a Corona?

No. And I just realized “Corona” would have been the perfect name for Dom’s kid. Oh also, Dom has a kid. He’s ugly.

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If it’s Dom’s kid I assume he looks something like this.

Kevin: But while we may be done with the movies, we are not done with the series, so check back this week as we discuss the many important things we have learned from the “Fast and Furious” franchise since 2001. I think “family” may come up at least once. Until then, don’t forget to check out our rundowns of the previous films:

“The Fast and the Furious”

“2 Fast 2 Furious”

“The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”

“Fast & Furious”

“Fast Five”

“Furious 6”

7 thoughts on “The Countdown is Over: “Furious 7” and Thoughts on “Fate of the Furious”

  1. Only a couple comments this time:
    a) I think I mentioned this when you did the third movie, but I’m pretty sure that if you follow the adjusted timeline, Dom’s house explodes and his response to the threat to his family is to immediately head to Tokyo and challenge the new “Drift King” Sean to a race.
    2) As they’re jumping the car from tower to tower, why was it important to the producers that they – for no reason at all – destroy what I can only assume are intended to be priceless 2,500-year-old Chinese statues? I mean, that makes less sense than if they actually had purchased the _real_ statues (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terracotta_Army) in order to smash them.
    “What’s a totally irreplaceable ancient treasure we can make it look like Dom and Brian render worthless as they also trash a $3.4 million car?”
    “They could drive through multiple versions of Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’.”
    “Wasn’t there only one of those?”
    “How about the Egyptian pyramids?”
    “Too big.”
    “I know – those terracotta Chinese statues.”
    “Will we have to explain why they’re on display on the 100th floor of a tower in Abu Dhabi?”
    “Nope.”
    “Let’s do it.”
    iii) Anyone else catch themselves trying to figure out which shots were Paul Walker’s brother?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess they decided if they weren’t going to get innocent people killed they could at least destroy valuable artworks. And we always forget to look for the reshot Walker stuff, we’re so engrossed in the story apparently.

    Like

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