Monday, October 17, 2016

Imaginary Conversations - Moisture

Latest in my series of Imaginary Conversations/ rambles about random crap. You can view the others here. In case this is the first one you are reading, these conversations take place entirely in my own head.

Ok this is going to sound like a really stupid question…

I am grabbing my popcorn

Is moisture farming a real thing?


Moisture farming.  Like in Star Wars Uncle Ben and Aunt Beru owned a moisture farm.  Is that a real thing?

I feel like you are old enough to know that Star Wars wasn’t real

Ugh!  I don’t mean were Aunt Beru and Uncle Ben real I mean like here ON EARTH not on Tatooine are there actual moisture farms.  Like there is a drought right now in California, are there people who farm… moisture?  

I don’t… I’m not even sure how to unpack this.  So Uncle Ben had a moisture farm in Tatooine but what did that even entail?  How do you even “farm” moisture?  That doesn’t even make sense

I dunno like… they had machines that trapped water vapor from the air and then like… harvested it?  Or I dunno like Matt Damon in The Martian how he used chemical reactions to trap the moisture so he could farm.

You realize The Martian is also not real, right?  

You know what I mean.  I mean I know that that was a real chemical reaction, I’m just wondering if it exists on a larger scale or if that would be a long term solution to our water shortage or like if in the crazy Mad Max water deprived future if we would all have moisture farms.  Like are there actual machines to trap water vapor from the air and can they be used commercially?

I don’t have the slightest fucking idea.  This seems like a question to ask Reddit or something

Barf I don’t go on Reddit.

Reddit isn’t all bad, but yeah I get why you don’t want to go on Reddit it has a bad rap.

“A bad rap” doesn’t cover half of it

Whatever, Reddit isn’t all bad but I’m not going to get into a discussion with you defending Reddit because that is really hard to do.  What brought this up anyway?  Are you worried about water shortages?

Yeah I mean it drizzled this morning and it was the first water I had seen in MONTHS and I know that long term this isn’t sustainable.  Also I was just thinking about the word “moist”

Gah you know I don’t like that word

Moist, moist, moist.  Yeah I know you don’t like the word moist.  A lot of people have an aversion to the word moist

STOP saying it, then! Agh!  

But like the word moisture is ok.  

Yeah, moisture is fine

That is so weird

It’s a sex thing

I mean I guess you are right that the sexual connotations of the word moist are the problem, whereas moisture is more scientific. I just think it is weird that people have aversions to words like that.  Like on a massive scale

I dunno it is like kind of onomatopoetic a little?  The word "squirt" is also gross.  You don’t have an aversion to certain words?

No, not at all really.  The only word I have a literal physical reaction to is the name of a certain presidential candidate.  I get actually nauseous. Not even exaggerating.  



You get “nauseated” something is nauseous.  Nauseated is the word for the feeling of wanting to barf, nauseous means it causes barfiness.  

So barfiness is a word then?  

You know what I mean

So did you, but you chose to correct my grammar like a jerk

Sorry.  So Trump makes you want to throw up, huh?

Yeah.  Ugh.  I mean I feel like he makes a lot of people want to throw up, but lately I find his face like physically revolting.  

How revolting?  Like looking at him is like looking at somebody’s pimples being popped or maggots crawling out of a rotting corpse?

EW that is very specific.  How would you know?  Do you spend a lot of time looking at people’s pimples being popped

I mean I have seen videos of gross shit online, yeah for sure.  I wouldn’t say a LOT of time.  I don’t actively go out looking for that kind of gross shit but I know people who do.  Or like you try to find the grossest shit you can.  

I feel like this is a Reddit thing

It might be, yeah.  

But anyway to answer your question, yeah I guess that is it.  It is like looking at pictures of people’s lungs after they have cancer like in high school textbooks.  He is a cancer

Yeesh, not mincing words are you

Fuck no.  He is a literal cancer on our world making it sicker by the minute.  I would run in a 5K every weekend and wear a wristband for the rest of my life if it would make him go away.  I would wear orange for the entire month of October and people would think it was for Halloween but it is really for DT cancer awareness month.  

Hahaha Oh my god that is so perfect.  You should go as Trump cancer for Halloween.  Like just print out some pictures of cancerous cells and photoshop little wigs on them

I feel like that is sort of insensitive to people who actually have real cancer.  

Whatever it is just a joke

Also nobody would get it

Yeah, that is a fair point

So yeah his name, his face… it is just gross.  Gross like moist is gross to you.  If we wanted to gross out the entire world we could just put them together in some way.

You mean like if I talked about Donald Trump’s moist lips

Oh Jesus Christ I am actually going to vomit.  I am not even joking right now I can feel bile in the back of my throat

See moist is a terrible word

Alright, alright moist is a terrible word. I am on team anti moist. Dammit you have ruined moist for me.  I wasn’t one of those people who hated moist and now I hate moist. Damn

One of us, one of us gooble gobble


Aww are you mad?  

Just a little.  


Neh it’s fine.  I guess it isn’t really your fault, more the fault of the English language.  

God damn English language

Indeed.  Ok but for real though I do want to know about moisture harvesters

Do I look like a scientist to you?

I dunno scientists look like anybody so yeah you could look like a scientist.  Internalized patriarchy is the only thing that is telling you that you don’t “look” like a scientist

Ok fine. I am NOT a scientist, I don’t fucking know.  

Do you know any scientists?  

Do I know any scientists who know about moisture farming?  No, I don’t know any moisture farming scientists.  Maybe you should call the college

I think I will

I really want to be next to the admin assistant or grad student who has to answer that call

So you are saying that I shouldn’t call then?

I’m not saying that

But how am I supposed to find out the answer to this very important question?!

You could Google it?  You could go to the library?

But then I would have to ask the librarian about moisture farms is that any less embarrassing than asking a grad student in the chemistry department.  

I dunno that is kind of their job to answer random shit like that

Would they even know how to look?

I mean does it hurt to find out?

I don’t want to be one of those weirdos that goes up to a librarian at the reference desk and asks them some random ass question and have them think I am some weirdo.  I am too poor not to use the library to get my books and movies.  

You aren’t a weirdo, but whatever.  So you have three choices: either you A) ask and potentially live with the idea that the librarian is silently judging you as you get your DVDs from now until eternity or until you decide to go to another branch where they don’t know you, B) don’t ask and just live with the fact that you will never know your dire questions about moisture farming, or C) Google it and get the best answer you can.  

Ugh… I guess I will just trust Google.  

Most people do

I know the answer I find might just be total bullshit

I mean it isn’t like you are writing a term paper on moisture farming, I feel like a Google answer SHOULD be sufficient

I was actually going to write my Congresswoman


I was going to see if moisture farming was real and if it is real and we don’t have a lot of moisture farms I was going to write my Congresswoman and ask her if this is something that we could be investing in.  Like I wanted to really pursue this.

Alright I take it back, you ARE a weirdo.  You are like those people who call into CSPAN to tell long convoluted stories.  

I am just really worried about moisture.  I am just really really worried we aren’t moist enough


You said I was a weirdo

Ok ok I take it back just stop it.  

Damn I wish it would keep raining

Fat chance


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Curiouser and Furiouser: A Fast and Furious Watch - Part 5: Fast Five

Just to recap: I am watching all the Fast and Furious movies having never seen them before and without any knowledge of what they are about. This is the fifth part of my series, you can view from the beginning Here. On to the review.

What in the heck did I just watch?! I don't mean this in a negative way, not at all, but having just seen 4 previous Fast and Furious movies I can't even say that this is a "Fast and Furious" movie. I mean, obviously it is, obviously this is the direction the new movies are going in, but after just watching 4 movies that basically have the same exact plot this one REALLY came out of left field. Which was refreshing. Watching a completely different movie was definitely refreshing, but man oh man it was SO unexpected especially since I just watched the 4th installment the other day. The characters have completely new and different skill sets, the entire plot was completely different, everything about this movie was new. Justin Lin, who once again directs this installment, really went all out on this film 

Our story begins exactly where the last one left off, with Brian, Mia, and the two guys who helped them before (whose names I still do not know) driving alongside the prison transport truck that is hauling Dom off to a lifelong sentence. Two guesses how that turns out. It ends in a bus rolling over multiple times at high speed with apparently nobody getting any injuries and Dom and co driving off into the sunset. We see news reports of the breakout, featuring several local LA newscasters I recognized, in what I think was the first time the events of the movies made any kind of impact on the in-world national consciousness. Dom, Brian and Mia are now wanted criminals and their names are splashed around on the cover of newspapers etc. Already this changes the shape and scope of the film from something that takes place in a very limited microcosm of street racers, the cops that hunt street racers, and gang members who control the street racing crews, to something that is on the national or international stage. When next we find our favorite anti-heroes, they are in Rio. The sweeping helicopter shots of the city are gorgeous, and it immediately strikes me that this movie must have been FAR more expensive to make than its predecessors.
Guys, I'm pretty sure this shot cost more than all of the first movie
Checking the internet I see that the budget for this film was a whopping 125 million: 40 million more than Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious and nearly 90 million more than the first movie. Well no wonder it looks better. Even before we get to the actors' salaries, which certainly increased with the addition of more names, the set pieces, the action sequences, etc looks more impressive, more expensive, bigger. The shots of Mia and Brian as they wander the slums of Rio recalled to mind scenes from other big budget films like Mission Impossible. It turns out that that was a fairly apt comparison, even before I realized it.

Mia and Brian wander into a Brazilian slum and are surrounded by gunmen, but it looks like they know who leads them, though who this could be I have no idea until out pops Vince, aka mesh vest bro from the first movie!! Wow I had no idea he was going to turn up again.
Apparently in addition to ditching his early 2000s era mesh vests, Vince has a beard and a family now! Awww. His baby is really cute. Everybody catches up inside of Vince's house but then Mia excuses herself to go throw up. Of course in movies women never have the stomach flu and it is obvious that she is preggers. Go Brian! Go Mia! BABIES!!! Vince tells the two about a job that he knows is coming up. They are uncertain about taking it, but they look like they are in pretty rough shape and could probably use the money.  

Apparently they agree and we see them next aboard a train travelling through the Brazilian is there a place in Brazil that looks like this because this scene was clearly not shot in Brazil. Anyway, back to business: stealing DEA seized cars from a moving train. Oh so this is a heist movie now? Yes, Fast Five is a straight up heist movie, but a cool one. Vince pulls up in a cool dune buggy thing with his crew and then they carve a hole in the side of the train with a plasma torch deal. While it is moving.
Crazy moving train action nonsense
Damn. The dudes jump into the train and its DOM! who has a little reunion with his sis and Brian. Then one of the other guys gets into one of the cars and somehow the truck pulls it on to the back and lowers it down. Super super complicated shit. But things look kind of weird to Dom, and he suspects something is up with this heist when he overhears two of the guys talking to each other. When it is Mia's turn he tells her to drive the car in the opposite direction of the other guy. His suspicions turn out to be correct and the guys on the crew work for the big drug lord boss guy and everything turns to shit. There are explosions, shooting, crazy, crazy stuff. Dom straight up dives a car off the train and rescues Brian and then the two of them drive the car off of the bridge and jump out to safety. There are some crazy Mission Impossible-esque elements in the action.

 Also Mission Impossible-esque: the next scene finds Dom and Brian hanging by their wrists in some warehouse or something. You know... that scene that happens in literally every single movie about a spy where a guy is chained by his wrists to the ceiling in a dimly lit warehouse and some henchmen beat them up. I think there is a whole page for it on TV tropes. The big cartel boss Reyes is played by Joaquim de Almeida, that one actor who has played a big cartel boss in probably 6 or 7 movies/ TV shows including 24 and Desperado. It just feels right he is the big boss in this movie. At any rate they don't get the info they are looking for and Reyes leaves and Dom and Brian escape, 'natch, because they are like super spies now I guess and not just street racers or street racing police people. The only thing we learn from this scene is that there is something in the car that Mia stole that these drug people want back.

 It is at this point that we are introduced to Hobbs, a federal agent played by The Rock. Hobbs is a fucking hardcore action hero bad ass. Of course he is, he is played by The Rock. But his entrance into this franchise is really pivotal. Up until this point, the people who have been hunting Dom and Brian have been kind of been ineffectual cops or Feds like Captain Dexter's Dad or that chubby black guy that Brian used to work for. One of his very first lines is "Get the fuck out of my way" which I think is the first F bomb in the series, though don't hold me to that. This isn't a guy who plays around, that much is clear. Two DEA agents are dead back on that train and Dom and Brian are the only suspects. He is going to track them down no matter what it takes.

The FF crew are blissfully unaware, just trying to recoup, when Vince decides to sneak into the garage and steal a chip that was inside one of the cars. Dom angrily confronts him about going behind their back to which Vince replies that nobody ever listens to him and Dom always turns things to shit which like, I dunno.. isn't exactly wrong. They part ways not on the best of terms and then Brian uses his hacking? skills to figure out what was on the chip. Oh so they are hackers now. Neat.  It turns out what is on the chip are details about all the drop spots for this drug dealer guy.  This seems like a bad thing to keep on a GPS chip, but as we learned in Fast & Furious we are in the future now and in the future everyone has high end GPS instead of that dumb map Brian had to use in the first movie. Remember when Brian had to use an actual paper map to find a location?  Ah.. memories.

The Rock rolls into the favela to get the FF crew and Vince's helper dudes pull guns on him but he has bigger guns and then the drug dealers come and they start shooting and everybody is running away and... hell, this was a very confusing action sequence.
 Everybody is shooting at everybody else and The Rock like straight up breaks a dudes neck and stabs a guy.  I have been watching this movie for about 35 minutes now and there have been MAYBE 5 minutes of cars.  You'd think we would get more cars in an FF movie, but apparently not anymore.  Anyway, they kind of protect the lady cop who has been helping the Rock and now she starts to have second thoughts about whether the FF crew are really bad or whether they shouldn't be going after these drug dealers instead, but The Rock has a really big hard on for capturing Vin Diesel.  Apparently the FF crew was stealing that gas in Fast & Furious to just give it away for free like some Robin Hood shit, and it doesn't jive with lady cop that they would be killers now, but Rock isn't buying it.  Well that explains why they were stealing gas at any rate. Wonder why they couldn't have mentioned that at SOME point in the 4th movie.

Anyway, back to our heroes.  After escaping, Brian and Mia reveal that they are expecting and Uncle Dom is all excited.
God I love this man
 Brian is worried that he will be a shitty dad like his was, but Dom assures him he will be a good dad.  Lots of cute dad feels. They then decide they should just use the chip they got from the car for one last job: use the GPS coordinates to find Reyes' money spots and steal all his money.  This is a big job, though and they are going to need a team.  SO THEY RECRUIT EVERYBODY!!! Han! Roman! Ludacris! Gisele!  Those dudes from before! Yay!  The very first thing that Han does on screen is eat some chips and I am so freaking pumped.  Who will eat more, I wonder: Roman or Han?  These are the questions that deserve answers.  Unfortunately, Roman and Dom don't really like each other and kind of get off on the wrong foot.  He's ready to bail until they find out that the score is 100 million and his share would be 11 million dollars.  "11 million sounds like a whole lot of vaginal activity to me," Roman says unironically.  Vaginal activity.  I can't even with this guy.

On to the plan.  Step one: they go into one of the drug dealer's places wearing masks and carrying guns.  Step two: they light all the money on fire.  Step three: profit... ?  Then they take their masks off revealing who they are for some reason.  Why?!  I don't understand this plan at all until I see that Reyes is super pissed and decides to move all his money and the crew plan to take it when it is on the move.
Um... what now? 
 Ah ok, I get it now.  This is why they need street racers: to go after the cars.  But then instead of going after the cars, they.. don't?  Roman spots the cars on the road transporting the money and is literally eating a sandwich and has to swallow before he reports this very important information.  God love Tyrese his constant eating.  Anyway the money is now being brought to a police station.  Dom says this changes nothing.  Um.. I think it changes at least something, right?  I thought you got this crew together for street racing purposes.  "This went from mission impossible to mission insanity," says Roman.  Tyrese really gets all the best/ dumbest lines in this movie, but he isn't wrong.  Hobbs meanwhile is following all of these developments because apparently he has some kind of magical computers that can run facial recognition on people wearing masks.  Though he doesn't know what is really happening.   Neither do I, to be honest.

Roman gets sent into the building in disguise as a special agent and distracts the dude in the evidence locker with his non stop talking trying to get in to see the safe that the guy doesn't notice that he has just accepted a random box from a stranger.  The random box opens up inside the safe and out pops a cute little robot that Ludacris made because he makes robots apparently.  Ludacris also apparently knows
about safes.  "I had a life before you knew me," he says, hand waving away any questions about how he went from owner of a body shop/ street racing crew organizer to master safe cracker, but whatever.  He did do that cool thing in 2 Fast where he made the bridge go up and down so it is clear he has always had a lot of technological know how.  Whatever, he is the "tech" guy now.  They are all sitting around the plans and Roman is eating graham crackers.  At this point I think Tyrese is eating more than Han.  Then the crew put a bomb in the bathroom of the police station, which explodes while the poor evidence locker guy is taking a shit, and the two dudes from before go in as the cleaning crew to hook into the security cameras which is also a thing they apparently know how to do.

"Let's go get some cars," Brian says, finally.  Yay!  Here we go, at a booty shaking street-racing dance party.  Finally things are familiar to me.  "Home sweet home," says Dom.  Oh no but they are recognized since they are international criminals who also robbed the biggest drug lord in town.  The street racing crew leader says its okay to race, though.  What a nice guy.  They get to race for the new cars they need.  I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for an actual street race when... nope, they just cut to them already having the cars.  In a Fast and Furious movie they literally just cut the actual race.  I am just... what is this movie?  They do get to test the cars out though, so there is SOME driving at least.  They are trying to find a car that can drive faster than the security cameras.  Gisele does the best, and Han is watching her with interest.  "I think I'm in love," Han says.  Ugh.  Whatever.  Why did they take away all the gay vibes Han was putting off.
mmm chips
 Also, about Han... they still have yet to explain how he escaped from that fiery crash in Japan.  I guess we will get to that eventually?  I don't know.  Anyway now it is Han's turn.  Han is eating at the bar (Eating score: Han 2, Roman 2) and Gisele intuits that Han recently quit smoking which is why he is always doing something with his hands.  She says it was the same for her when she got out of the Army.  BACKSTORY!  Han is hard core falling in love as Gisele goes up to Roman and flirts with him enough for him to grab her ass.  Then they somehow pull the hand print off of her swimsuit so they can get into the safe.  This whole thing is so very very Mission Impossible.

Eventually they decide that trying to out drive the cameras is sort of stupid so they just steal themselves some cop cars which makes much more sense.  FINALLY we get a proper street race with Han, Dom, Brian and Roman racing in police cars, which makes them very happy.  Roman is too busy playing with the lights and stuff and Han is probably distracted thinking of Gisele or something so the race comes down to Dom and Brian, and Dom lets Brian win, though Brian isn't aware that he did.  Han and Roman notice, though, and think it is hilarious. The next day, Mia is shopping in the market and Vince runs into her and pulls her away just before the bad guys spot her.  Apparently there was a tracker on her.  She brings Vince back to the crew and he asks Dom if he can join the heist and Dom says they are family etc and I am 100% predicting Vince is going to turn out to be some Bro-dus Iscariot.
Look at Rambo over here
 Mia reveals her pregnancy to the rest of the gang, which explains why she wasn't drinking etc and they laugh and it is all very heartwarming and is of course immediately interrupted by the police.  Dom and Hobbs fight and Dom eventually gets the upper hand but decides not to actually just kill Hobbs with a wrench and they are all arrested.  Unfortunately, Reyes' crew ambushes the armored car and a gun battle follows.  Grenades are exploding all over the place, guns firing, legit action movie territory.  Dom rescues Hobbs and pulls him to the safety of the armored car.  They kill SO many people, Jesus Christ.  This is bar none the most violent scene in all 5 movies so far.  They retreat to relative safety, but Vince isn't going to make it.  He tells Dom to look after his son, also named Dominic (aww feels), right before he dies.  I was totally wrong on him being a traitor.  Sorry I ever doubted you, Vince.

Dom wants to continue on and everybody is a little wary until Hobbs says he is in because he wants to kill the son of a bitch who killed his men.  Ah yes, the old ancient proverb: The bronemy of my bronemy is my bro.  Apparently the idea that Hobbs, a US Federal Agent, could just rob a Brazilian police station, as corrupt as it is, without creating an international incident is just fine by everybody.  They break through the wall and basically just attach the safe via two wires attached to two of the police cars, driven by Dom and Brian, who drive away.  So they are driving down the street with this safe dragging behind them, taking out trees, taking out other cars, just wanton destruction of property. This entire scene is insanity.
I just... what? 
 I have no fucking clue how they think they can evade police with a several ton safe just dragging behind them.  The rest of the crew is kind of running interference on the police/ drug dealers or something, ramming cars left and right.  Dom and Brian realize their plan of driving a gigantic safe around is probably not the best idea and they aren't going to get out of this.  Dom reminds Brian that he is going to be a father now and cuts him loose, using nitrous in his car to pull the weight of the safe behind his own car alone so Brian can get to safety.  They do this under a little overpass deal.  Dudes in roof mounted machine guns are firing at Dom and then his car flips dramatically and crashes into Reyes' car.  Hobbs rolls in and shoots Reyes and then tells Dom that he can't just let him go, but he will give him 24 hours to get out of down.  Of course Hobbs is going to take the safe so I think that all of this was for nothing until the lady cop opens the door and it is empty.  Dun DUN DUUUUNNN.

Yes, apparently the safes were swapped during that 30 seconds under the overpass and later, when they are all together again, Ludacris opens the safe and like Scrooge McDuck fucking piles of money pour out.  Dom leaves some for Vince's wife and kid and the group go their separate ways.  The two idiot driver guys (WHOSE NAMES I STILL DO NOT KNOW) lose all their money in Monaco like a couple of dinguses.  Ludacris uses the money to get a nice little shop for himself to live a quieter life and then Tyrese rolls up to visit him in this hot car with a hot babe inside.  Apparently he got it from a sheikh in Abu Dabi and it is the only one in the Western Hemisphere.. or IS it, because Ludacris apparently has the exact same ridiculous car.  Lol.  Meanwhile Han makes out with Gisele while driving, which doesn't seem very safe.  "I thought you wanted to go to Tokyo," Gisele asks.  "We'll get there eventually," Han replies.  Wait... is this movie still supposed to take place BEFORE Tokyo Drift? I mean I was under the impression that he like faked his death and somehow made it to Rio or
Lookin' good Billy Ray!
something, but now they are saying this is all a prequel?!  How can this movie take place before Tokyo Drift when Han is obviously older?  Or are they saying he is going to go BACK to Tokyo? Is Han a time traveler? I DON'T UNDERSTAND! Brian and Mia are on a beach together and Dom shows up with lady cop who is his girlfriend I guess and this whole thing reminds me of the end of Trading Places. Everybody is so happy.  Awww.  Brian asks for one final race to settle it once and for all (sure, they will NEVER race again) and... credits.  But wait!  There is a mid credits scene!  Is it Nick Fury asking them to join the Avengers?!  No.. it is Hobbs with Eva Mendes! who tells him that there was a robbery in Berlin.  "Was it Toretto?" Hobbs asks (man he REALLY doesn't like Dom).  No, it turns out the person in the robbery is... Letty!?! WHAAAAAAAAT!

Stray Thoughts:

- Letty?????? I am really struggling to figure out her motivations for faking her own death other than... cuz.

- Ok but really is Han a time traveler???

- So I still haven't seen Batman v Superman and I didn't know who Gal Gadot was when I saw Fast & Furious.  Now that I know Gisele is Wonder Woman I am like... meh?  I dunno. Her character was super boring in the 4th movie and in this movie she was nothing but eye candy and also like this plot device to prove that Han was straight or something.

- I am glad that a lot of the characters got some more depth but this movie makes it SO obvious that this series wasn't planned up until this point. Now that the movies ARE more clearly connected to each other, maybe narratively they will make a little more sense.  HAHAHA who am I kidding?  I don't like these movies for rational reasons.

- Ok so Ludacris' song during the end credits "Furiously Dangerous" was SO painfully bad.  You can do better than this, Ludacris.

- It seems so strange that just 2 months ago I had never seen a Fast and Furious movie and now I have seen 5.  Moving on to Fast and Furious 6 next week.  I hope it will be just as batshit insane as this one.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Curiouser and Furiouser: A Fast and Furious Watch - Part 4: Fast & Furious

Here we are at the 4th part of my Fast and the Furious watch. If you are just joining us, I have never seen any of the movies in this series before and am going into them as blind as I can. On to the review of Fast & Furious, a movie that requires an ampersand so as to distinguish it from the first film in the franchise because for some reason Fast and 4rious was not an option.

Ugh.  Ugh is pretty much all I have to say about this movie.  After watching the previous two, I am convinced that what I need from Fast and Furious movies to keep me engaged is humor.  This movie is almost entirely devoid of it.  That, more than anything else, is its biggest problem. Another problem with this movie is that it essentially combines the plot of the first two Fast and Furious movies, making it feel bland and tired.  

The story begins with Dom and his gang trying to pull off another heist of a truck, just as they did in the first movie. This time instead of hilariously outdated TV/ VCR combos it looks like they are trying to steal fuel? I don’t even understand why they are doing this or how they will sell the fuel or transport it or what.
Iguana driver: the real hero
This seems even more convoluted than TV/VCRs.  Whatever, it is an excuse for a high speed chase with street racing cars going after a truck and explosions and things.  Only two things make this whole scene worth watching.  The first is that the driver of the truck has a pet iguana who sits in the passenger seat and whom the driver feeds bars of chocolate (aka the only funny part in this movie), and the second is that one of the drivers in Dom’s crew is MOTHERFUCKING HAN!!  Anyway there is some problem stealing the fuel tanks and Letty has to dramatically jump from the back onto Dom’s car and then the truck explodes and they basically have to time the roll and drive underneath the fiery rolling truck which sounds cool but was
Come back!!! 
just… whatever.  The problem with scenes like these is that there is no dramatic tension when you know that this is the opening of the film and all the good guys are going to make it out.  Plus there was not NEARLY enough Han. Everybody goes back to Dom’s place and has a big butt jiggling dance party.  Woot.  I was so excited to see Han alive that I almost gave this movie the benefit of the doubt, until it was revealed that this heist took place before the events of Tokyo Drift and Han left after the first ten minutes.  Whomp whomp.

It really is a shame that Han left for Tokyo because his energy, or the energy of Tyrese or Ludacris or any of the other characters from the previous two films, would have definitely helped the film move along.  Instead the movie basically only has three characters: Dom, Brian, and Mia, and Dom/ Brian’s chemistry (or lack thereof) is not enough to carry a film.  Anyway, back to the movie. After the events of the opening heist, Dom leaves Letty and the rest of his crew behind.  He is a wanted man, wanted for a lot of big crimes, and he is worried about their safety.  He goes to Panama where he is happily fixing cars/ living a quieter life until he gets a call from Mia informing him that Letty was murdered.  Cut over to Brian in LA who has been reinstated and is now an FBI agent.  I guess they didn’t care about all those illegal shenanigans and let bygones be bygones.  He is chasing down some dude to get a lead on a big drug dealer named Braga.  The only thing he got was a name: David Park.  

Rollin' up to the funeral in style
Letty’s funeral is a somber affair and Brian, though he knew Letty, stands off to the side since he wasn’t exactly invited.  Dom has also returned to LA and views Letty’s funeral from a distance.  The police are all around the cemetery: they know Dom would come back from his ex-girlfriend and they are waiting to catch him.  Dom shows up at Mia’s and she is simultaneously happy to see him after such a long time (5 years presumably) but also worried since the police are watching the house.  Dom tells her not to worry, but he has to find the man who killed Letty.  Something tells me this is connected to that Brian plot from before.  Anyway it looks like Mia has salvaged part of Dom/ Dom’s dad’s old Chevelle that got wrecked up in the first film, and had been fixing it up along with Letty.  I don’t think that will have any impact on the rest of the story whatsoever.  Mia takes Dom to the site of Letty’s murder and Dom, using some magical Sherlockian power of crime scene investigation that we heretofore were unaware he possessed, discovers that based on the burn pattern and the tire marks the car that crashed into Letty's had a nitro methane injection and only one guy in town does that.  Yes because the same guy is the only guy who did things 5 years ago while you were in Panama and you can tell that from the burn marks. Whatever.  Angry Vin Diesel Sherlock is angry.  

Whatever, dude
The cops pull Mia in to ask her questions about Dom and Brian pulls her out of the interrogation room and brings her to lunch.  But she isn’t having any of his nicey-nicey bullshit.  “After 5 years now you care about me?” she exclaims.  I totally don’t blame her here.  Brian seemed to have feelings for Mia in the first movie, but after leaving LA behind in the second movie and since returning to LA as a fed why would he think she would give two shits about him.  Go Mia.  You smack talk that dude.  Still, Brian is worried for Dom because he cares about him.  Mia asks him whether he is a good guy pretending to be bad or a bad guy pretending to be good and Brian isn’t sure.  What is sure is that he wished Dom would have just stayed safe outside the country so he could catch Letty’s killer on his own.  

Dom shows up at the guy’s garage and starts intimidating him and gets the info:  David Park bought those parts for a green Ford Gran Torino.  Oh ho! Now we are getting somewhere.  Brian discovers the info about David Park’s whereabouts at around the same time and he shows up at Park’s apartment to see Dom beating the guy up and holding him out the window.  Uh oh. The guy doesn’t have much info to give Dom anyway, only that he can get Dom in the race, whatever plot devicey race he is referring to.  Brian hauls Park into the station and discovers that Braga the drug kingpin who is worse than Pablo Escobar according to the head honchos (the metric of all drug dealing badasses) is holding a street race to find new drivers.
Dom channeling his inner Batman
 So basically we are back to the plot of
2 Fast 2 Furious where Brian has to get a fancy street race car from the cops so he can race in a drug lord’s street race so he can get on his crew.  Like I get this movie is kind of a reboot, but redoing the exact same plot point?  Sigh…  

Dom shows up at the illegal race too because of course he does they both want to get on the guy’s crew to find Letty’s killer/ take down the drug lord.  One of the other racers asks who is closing the street to which Campos, Braga’s supposed number 2, tells him that nobody is.  The fact that the streets are busy definitely heightens the tension a little bit.  Also the racers don’t know where they are going, they just have to follow this magical GPS device that Campos gives them.  The device not only gives directions, but tracks the other cars in the race so basically this is a straight up video game now.  Like there is even a digital girl that throws the flag and the cars move along on the screen all Tron-like and the movie isn’t even pretending it is anything more than a video game/ Universal Studios ride at this point.
Coming to an arcade near you
 Brian takes an alternate route and goes off a cliff while Dom is dealing with some of the other racers and blah blah blah we all know this is going to come down to Dom and Brian duking it out.  Dom pulls basically a pit maneuver and spins Brian’s car around and wins the race. Brian, who needs to be on the crew for plot purposes, conveniently plants drugs at the house of one of the other crew members and takes his place.  Because federal agents planting narcotics on a suspect is a-ok when it is Paul Walker who does it.  

This chick was so boring
Whatever, they all go to Campos’ headquarters for a booty shaking party where girls make out and other fun stuff happens.  Brian sneaks around and discovers Campos talking to an older man he presumes to be Braga.  He manages to swipe his glass so they can run prints on it.  Dom is sneaking around too and finds in the garage the Gran Torino driven by Letty’s killer.  Gisele, one of Campos’ assistants, informs Dom that the car belongs to Fenix so now he’s got the name of the dude who killed his gal and he is out for blood.  Gisele is trying to flirt pretty hard, but Dom is 100% not having any of it either because he is still pining over Letty, still pining over Brian, or just isn’t into her.  Whatever this gal was boooring.

Anyway, they all meet up at a warehouse for the next job and the henchmen start sweeping cars for bugs, which of course Brian’s car has so he furiously tries to unplug it.  Why didn’t they think this might be a problem before?  Like this is wearing a wire 101.  Brian is the worst cop ever.  Thankfully they didn’t find anything on his car and everyone is loaded into a big truck inside their cars and then taken over the border to Mexico.  This whole thing was super super confusing.  So they took these drivers out to the middle of nowhere in mexico so that they could take drugs back in?
Look out for bonus coins during the
underground level!
 They wanted them to race through the desert fast to avoid the heat scanners from the border patrol but I am so confused why they would need to do this at all.  It makes no sense.  They are following Gisele’s instruction through the magical video game GPS and then follow Fenix in this zig zag pattern and then drive into these underground tunnels that exist for no purpose except that it is like the underground level of a video game now. I also think maybe somebody saw those tight races in the parking garages in Tokyo Drift and realized they needed some confined spaces for drama. But it literally made no sense whatsoever.  

Bro buddies again
They all get out and make it to the drop off point and then Fenix etc plan to kill them?  Why?  I don’t get it.  None of this whole sequence made the slightest lick of sense.  Anyway, thankfully Dom wanted to kill Fenix so badly that he rigged the nitrous in his car to explode and then all the cars blow up and Dom and Brian, who are friends again, drive the drugs away in a Hummer or whatever.  Except Fenix didn’t die.  Oh well.  I don’t know why these drug dealers needed this street racing crew when they had underground tunnels, I don’t know why they wanted to kill them in the first place when they didn’t know they were working for the police, and I don’t know why Brian thought it was a good idea to take the drugs and hide them in the impound lot while Dom kindly stole him a new car.  Brian is kind of the worst cop on the planet.  His bosses at the FBI are naturally pissed when they see him on camera with Dom because of course they did.  

Anyway it is a good thing Brian is the worst cop on the planet because that means that Dom trusts him again and they all go back home for dinner and fun banter.  That is of course until Dom, who had been going through Letty’s old things that were in evidence, finds her phone and calls the last number because it still miraculously has batteries, and Brian’s phone rings.  Yep, Letty had been working as a CI for Brian and it was under these circumstances that she was killed by Braga’s men.  Dom is pissed and beats the shit out of Brian, even though he tries to explain that Letty was the one who came to him with the idea because other people were being killed by this asshole.  Vin Diesel spends most of this movie very angry.  

Brian goes to his bosses (who are still pissed off) and tells them he will give them the heroin he stole from Campos IF after he bags Braga they let Dom off the hook for his crimes.  Brian, do you even understand how the police work?  They plan this very elaborate set up for Braga, whom they assume is that old guy Brian saw before, but while they are just about to shoot up the deal, one of the other officers discovers that Campos was Braga all along.  Whomp whomp.
Fooled you 
 Dom saves the Gisele chick while everybody is under fire and Brian and Dom escape just by the skin of their teeth.  Braga unfortunately as escaped to Mexico which is out of their jurisdiction.  The bosses are pissed at Brian so they pull him off active duty, except also sort of imply that since he isn’t active duty it would be totally ok if he went all vigilante in Mexico, which of course is exactly what he and Dom do.  Dom and Brian meet up with Gisele, who is grateful that Dom saved her and also totally still flirting with him even though he doesn’t show the slightest bit of interest in her, and she lets them know where Braga is hiding.  

Braga/ Campos is inside a church and pays off a priest to hang out there.  Then Dom and Brian easily walk in and get him at gunpoint.  Now yes, there is a chase/ gunfight that follows, but I was really surprised that Braga didn’t have any guards around him at all.  Whatever.  So Braga is pretty sure that Dom is going to kill him but Dom has decided that the braver thing to do would be to actually bring him into the police instead, though he is totally gonna kill Fenix for killing Letty because of course he is.  They grab Braga and throw him in a car and then they are off to cross the border.  Fenix and some of the other henchpeople are right behind them, firing at the car until Fenix yells at them that they
It is going to be hard getting of out this one.
You will though.  Of course you will. 
could hit the boss instead.  Braga rightfully points out that Brian really has no idea where he is going without GPS, though Brian somehow miraculously finds his way to the secret underground tunnel for another underground tunnel race because of course he could remember where that was located in the middle of nowhere in the desert without any GPS or anything.  They take out a few of the guys chasing but Dom is having a hard time with Fenix.  Brian, with Braga in his car, tears through the other side of the wall, but it was really hard on the car and Brian is in pretty bad shape.  Fenix is right behind him and is just about to shoot Brian when who should come but Dom who plows his car right into Fenix, pinning him against Brian’s car, killing him fairly quickly.  Hurray they stopped the bad guys.  Unfortunately, the police are on their way and that can only mean bad things for Dom who actually doesn’t have carte blanche to murder people.  Brian is hurt though, a bullet wound to the shoulder, and Dom, instead of just leaving him to escape, stays with him and decides to face the consequences of his actions.

In a boring courtroom scene the judge, probably the only person with any sense at all, decides not to just forgive Dom for murdering people, stealing a bunch of property, destroying cars etc, even though he helped out this one time and sentences him to 25 years to life without the possibility of parole.  Brian is surprised because he somehow thinks the system works?  The same system he used to plant drugs on a guy so he could get into an illegal street race?
Ooh a cliffhanger ending.
Whatever will happen?!
 The same system that took his badge after he let Dom go in the first movie?  Brian is just too dumb for words.  Thankfully, he teams up with Mia and the rando other drivers from the beginning of the movie to pull of the greatest heist of all: stealing Dom from the prison transport truck, which they most likely do sometime in between the credit sequence of this movie and the next.

So there ya go.  This movie was a pretty big disappointment.  I have to say the only thing good to come out of it is that it seems that Brian is well and truly on the side of criminals now and cannot hope to get back to working for the police/ FBI.  If somehow in Fast 5 he is still working for the police I don’t even know… Otherwise, the movie was just a big rehash of everything we saw before, with a few more video game-ish looking sequences tossed in for more measure.  It was missing a lot of the joy and silliness of 2 Fast, or the interesting cultural aspects/ fish out of water elements and Han-tasticness of Tokyo Drift.  One of the other problems was that Dom and Letty’s relationship never felt that strong in the first place and so the aspect of this film as revenge story just didn’t feel genuine.  Hell, I felt more emotion between Keanu Reeves and his dog in 5 minutes of John Wick than I did between Dom and Letty.  I just didn’t care.  I don’t know if this was the fault of the writers, the acting of Vin Diesel or Michelle Rodriguez or what, but it just didn’t work.  If, for example, Fenix had killed Mia instead I think then I would have appreciated the anger and revenge story a little more. I’m not even going to go into the idea of fridging a female character to motivate a male lead, as such misogyny is sort of par for the course in these kinds of films.  But if they ARE going to fridge a female character they should at least make it worthwhile.

I’m excited by the prospect of Fast 5 only insomuch as it seems like they are bringing all the good parts of the previous movies back.  The advertising for 5, 6 and 7 definitely feel more Expendables except with street racing which is what I am really looking forward to after seeing the same movie on repeat.  

Stray Thoughts:

- Man oh man we needed some levity in this movie.  These films just do NOT work as straight dramas without some gags like giant sumo wrestlers or Tyrese eating everyone’s food

- The video game-ishness of this film is something I keep coming back to again and again.  I have actually seen the Fast and Furious arcade game and I was surprised how much the game looks like the movie or vice versa.

- I really hope that iguana from the beginning is okay. The driver was so brave to rescue him from that fiery crash.