What We’ve Learned from “The Fast and Furious” Movies

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The long and winding road toward “The Fate of the Furious” came to a stop this week with our thoughts on both “Furious 7” and the newest entry which is currently breaking box office records all over the globe. But we can’t quite let go of a franchise that has consumed so much of our thoughts and free time since we began the series in January, so we looked back at some of the things that have stood out over the course of a series that began in 2001 and will still be going strong when Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton are running for the White House.

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Kevin

If the screenwriters write themselves into a corner, just invent a new expertise for Tej: Tej started out in “2 Fast 2 Furious” as the owner of an auto-body shop who organized illegal street races on the side. But out of nowhere in “Fast Five” we are told that he’s a great “circuit man” and the “best hacker on the East Coast.” He’s also apparently an engineering savant, a student of “vehicular warfare” in Afghanistan, and an expert in Russian nuclear submarines. Still, in “Fast Five” he says his dream is to own his own auto-body shop in Miami, so he’s apparently forgotten he already did that.

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Yep, the best computer hacker on the East Coast.

Speaking of, this series has no problem disregarding its own character’s histories to further the plot: In “Furious 6,” Brian talks about how he did the same kinds of tricks Hobbs did as a cop, while in prison Braga says Brian put many of the men there behind bars. But in the original “The Fast and the Furious” Brian is a newbie agent who is canned after letting Dom go, and is only let back in 8 years later on a probationary basis in “Fast & Furious,” so when did he ever become such a maverick bad-guy catcher?

Meanwhile in “Fast Five” we are told that Han’s special skill is blending in anywhere, while Roman can talk his way out of anything, two traits we had never seen before or since with these characters. Also, by the time of “Tokyo Drift” Han probably has around $10 million to his name, so it’s unclear why he needs to steal from the Yakuza.

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Han “blending in” in Brazil.

The worse a human being you are, the more likely you’ll be redeemed:  In “The Fast and the Furious,” Johnny Tran didn’t do anything illegal that Dom wasn’t also doing, and he only resorted to violence after one of Dom’s guys disrespected him, but he gets gunned down in the street. Meanwhile Verone from “2 Fast 2 Furious” and Braga from “Fast & Furious” are drug lords who don’t seem to kill anyone as long as you don’t come after them, but they get locked up. Meanwhile the Shaw brothers cause the deaths of at least over 100 people that we see – including the beloved Han – yet apparently their misdeeds are forgiven by “The Fate of the Furious.” With the body count she racks up, I expect Charlize Theron to be welcomed into the crew with open arms in the next one.

Dom loves the concept of family even though he and his crew have created more orphans than a Sierra Leone warlord: The collateral damage left in the team’s wake as the movies goes on is staggering, and boy do they not give a shit, including intentionally turning downtown Los Angeles into a war zone just to get a sleight strategic advantage. Brian is the worst of the bunch; whereas he used to just drive right by the horrific car crashes he indirectly caused, in “Furious 7” he intentionally uses an 18-wheeler as a shield from an attacking drone, causing the innocent driver to of course be shot to shreds.

In any other context Dom and his crew would be the villains: They started out as low-level thieves, they only help anyone outside of their crew in exchange for money or favors, and they are constantly directly putting innocent people in danger or indirectly causing their deaths. Yet all this has been justified because they were putting worse people behind bars, but if the bad guys are going to be forgiven in the next movie then what’s the point?

Hitting the pavement from a car going over 100 mph is fatal, unless it isn’t: Gisele’s tragic sacrifice in “Fast Five” comes as she leaps out of the car on the runway to save Han from a gunman and perishes, although maybe they should have checked to make sure she was dead because in “Furious 7” people are constantly leaping from speeding cars onto the pavement with nary a scratch.

Michelle Rodriguez makes this face with shocking regularity: 

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No matter how badass your team is, if you cooperate with Dom they’ll be killed: Both Hobbs and Mr. Nobody have their own teams of highly trained and capable ex-military warriors who eventually get wiped out in ambushes, leaving each of them to have to rely on Ludacris and Tyrese by the end.

People shouldn’t hide important computer chips in fast expensive cars: The bad guys in both “Fast Five” and “Furious 7” employ this trick and it obviously never works out well.

Whoever took this picture of Brian at Letty’s funeral must be getting some good residuals: For the last three movies he was in, every time we saw a photo Brian either on a news report or as part of a government file, it was always this still of him from “Fast & Furious” with the earpiece photoshopped out. Weird that he didn’t notice someone taking his photo from like three feet away from his face.

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The CIA is a better place to work for than the FBI: In the original “The Fast and the Furious,” Brian is told he has 36 hours to close the case against Dom or he’s fired, while in “Fast & Furious” the FBI director says they have 72 hours to get something on Braga or he’s closing a years-long investigation despite the fact Braga killed several agents. Meanwhile not only does Hobbs never get any similar ultimatums from the CIA, they don’t even seem to know what he’s doing most of the time.

Government agents don’t like staying late at the office: In “Furious 6,” they learn Shaw has created a diversion and is planning on robbing Interpol, which is so empty for the night that they need to call in fucking Roman to help protect it. Ditto the CIA headquarters in “Furious 7,” where Hobbs and Statham have a loud gun battle in an apparently abandoned building at like only 8 p.m.

Dom and his crew are apparently modern-day Robin Hoods, except for the part about giving the money away: Perhaps the filmmakers realized that their heroes were not particularly heroic, because out of nowhere they have Elena mention in “Fast Five” that they gave away the gas they stole at the beginning of “Fast & Furious,” while some random guy in “Furious Six” mentions Tej giving away his money. This is news to us in the audience, as we have never actually seen these guys give any cash away unless it’s into a stripper’s thong.

In a series filled with horrible non-actors, Ronda Rousey may be the worst: The MMA fighter has only a couple of minutes of screentime in “Furious 7” and is instantly the worst “thespian” in the series:

Odd since she had previously had a much larger role in “The Expendables 3” and came off as at least not totally embarrassing; I guess that just means everyone raises their game in the presence of Sylvester Stallone! She does have some stiff competition from Iggy Azalea, who only appears in like 10 seconds of “Furious 7,” and I can’t imagine how bad her other takes were if this was the line reading they went with (3:00 mark):

Finally, there is no one character, not even the dead ones, who this series won’t bring back: Except Ja Rule.

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CJ

Given the concept and plot points in all of these movies, these guys are actually terrible drivers: Name one scene involving cars that ended without destruction to civilian, city, or government property, loss of life, or explosions. If just one of these things happened to any of us, we’d be out thousands of dollars or locked up forever. These guys turn any six-block radius into the opening scene of “Saving Private Ryan” and all anyone says is, “These guys are GOOD!”

Dom cannot be respected as a leader or a man: He flatly rejects Gal Gadot and is utterly disgusted while being kissed by Charlize Theron. If Gal Gadot threw herself at me I’d make her record it on my phone the way people make celebrities do their outgoing voicemail, and if Charlize Theron up and kissed me this would happen:

The writers have no idea how the father/son dynamic works: In “Tokyo Drift,” Sean’s father forgets to pick him up from the airport in a country where they don’t speak English and orders a prostitute instead, while seemingly paying no attention to him and willingly letting him head into battle against the Yakuza; yet in the end Sean turns out to be a pretty honorable guy who treats women with respect. In the “Furious” movies, Dom talks about how his hero father made everyone go to church and come for BBQs, creating a real solid family structure that everyone could lean on. Okay enough about dad, let’s go steal some shit and let lots of innocent people die.

The franchise is awful at guessing who will be relevant in the future: When I have kids, I look forward to making them watch all the “Furious” movies with me, and when Ronda Rousey shows up and my son goes, “Who’s that?,” I will laugh because we all rightly stopped giving a shit about her years before.

Vin Diesel truly believes he’s a BAAAAAAD man:

This guy:

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Thinks he’s this guy:

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Even though he’s this guy:

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I think Brian secretly wants to divorce Mia: He constantly leaves his family to face near-certain death. When most people would say, “This plan has me nervous, as you know I have a wife and child at home and I love them very much and would like to get back to them,” he says, “Not only should we do this plan, I think we should also do this over shark-infested waters – in fact I’m willing to cut my hand if it’ll get their juices flowing.” The only thing he and Mia ever talk about is those stupid tuna fish sandwiches from the first movie.

I’m pretty sure Roman is a virgin. He talks way too much for a guy who never closes a deal.

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We all know he’s saving himself for that special someone, who’s maybe closer than he realizes.

Thanks for taking the ride with us, and if you missed any of our write-ups you can find them here. See ya for “Furious 9”!:

4 thoughts on “What We’ve Learned from “The Fast and Furious” Movies

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