4/17/15

Furious 7 . . .

So I have been putting off writing and sharing my thoughts on Furious 7, the latest chapter in (The) Fast & (The) Furious franchise. From the looks of the box office receipts (nearly a BILLION DOLLARS in ticket sales, worldwide, in 10 days I can safely presume most of you have seen the movie but very few of you have EXPERIENCED the movie the way I did.

WHY do I think I have a premium on "experiencing" these films? Well, like any mother who carried a baby in her womb for nine, long months, I am part of these movies and they are part of me. No, no. I'm seriously. Deadly serious. You see for all the anger and rage I have over "blockbuster" movies and how sequels are killing the world and creativity and how special effects in movies are destroying the actual imagination of the world and blah, blah, blah (I am directing that at myself, in scorn) I can honestly say that I have truly loved EVERY chapter of this franchise.

And I'm not alone - since the series started FOURTEEN YEARS AGO - the idea of a gang of hard-driving street criminals and their law enforcement frienemies (I'm bringing that term back, dammit.) has captured billions of dollars in revenue, millions and millions of eyeballs and the shock and awe of other franchises that keep trying to figure out how they keep raising the absurdity bar for these movies without the slightest hint of revolution from the fans.

Why? Because the film franchise, its cast, its crew, and its directors are committed to each other and the fans as much as the fans are committed to the franchise. And I don't mean this as hyperbole. It is well documented that these actors enjoy working together and they really are, as the recurring theme of the films (family is everything) a group that believes in family being about more than just blood and genetics. It is about heart and love.

Let's be clear - the Fast & Furious movies are absurd. They are truly ridiculous and they just keep getting more and more fantastically removed from reality (they dropped cars out of a plane and they were then guided, by GPS, to a mountain pass below and when they landed - safely - they got into a gun fight with an armored bus . . . and the crowd went NUTS for it). There is nothing wonderful about the script (there are a dozen one-liners per film that make me audibly grunt "F*ck yeah!") and the acting is not exactly award-caliber. Yet . . . the dude abides. The films keep getting made. The fans return.

I have mixed thoughts on what might happen next. I really think the franchise has sort of run its course. The characters are now "old" (they intentionally introduced a cast member in this installment who is easily 15 years younger than the average age of the rest of the cast) and I don't care how much you love cars and fighting crime at some point you say "Nah. I'm good." - even Bruce Wayne hung up his own tights in the end.

More over I thought the ending of this movie - where the narrative was broken and the "fourth wall" of visual media knocked down - and the open, loving tribute paid to Paul Walker (who died, in real life, while the movie was being made) and his character was so spot on (I wept - literally - you can ask Special Lady Friend) and wonderful that it really, in my opinion, is how the whole thing should end.

Do some spin-offs, maybe break the group apart and see what sticks (the world needs more "Hobbs" (and his cute daddy-daughter dynamic)) but I think they should leave this one alone.

Of course I say this full-and-well-knowing that, come the spring of 2017 IF they are offering an eight installment . . . I'm there. With bells on. Me and these movies . . . we are family.