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 This time instead of hilariously outdated TV/ VCR combos it looks like they are trying to steal fuel?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 Dodge Charger 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.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Curiouser and Furiouser: A Fast and Furious Watch - Part 3: Tokyo Drift

Wow.  This movie was so unexpected.  When I added it to my Netflix queue, the title was given 1 star.  Maybe that’s based on my viewing history or something but it totally skewed my perspective going into the film.  I was expecting something pretty bad and instead I got something that was definitely watchable and features my favorite character of the entire series so far.  Which is not to say that the film doesn’t have its problems.  It definitely does.  The biggest problem of the movie by far is that it should have been called Fast and Furious: The Han Show, Also Featuring Some White Guy I Don’t Give the Slightest Fuck About.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  On to the recap.

Yeah yeah I know his name is
Zachary Ty Bryan
The film begins in a strange high school entirely populated by 30 year olds going through metal detectors.  I guess it is a rough neighborhood?  But then everybody drives nice cars.  I don’t get it.  Apparently the football team is the Ducks and they are playing the Indians in an upcoming game and so they beat up a pinata effigy of a super racist Indian caricature.  Oh that kid from Home Improvement who wasn’t Jonathan Taylor Thomas plays the asshole captain of the football team.  I mean at least I assume he was captain of the football team.  At any rate we follow along Blandy Mc-White White our protagonist (whose name is Sean but Jesus Christ is he the most boring fucking guy on the planet) as he goes to auto shop, to class, etc.  It is about 5 minutes into the movie when I realize that there is no Paul Walker in this film and I start to get a little nervous.  If we are supposed to care/ follow this boring guy around an entire movie, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it. Sean is flirting with cheerleader cutie and not-JTT gets all pissed off, starts insulting him and his car.  He and his cronies are about to start a fight when Sean pulls out a fucking wrench making him the most hardcore 30 year old 17 year old on the planet.  Instead cheerleader chick suggests they have a race.  “The winner,” she purrs, “gets me.”  Honey, why are you selling yourself short like this, I wonder.  She is literally offering herself up as a prize.  This is a common trope throughout these films, but this instance was particularly egregious.  

They decide to race in this housing development that is under construction which is a very good idea
as far as not being around a lot of people, though I was very worried about the property damage to some of these nice houses as they raced.  To begin the race, a girl straight up takes off her bra and throws it as a flag?  Ugh.  I wish we could cut to some actual Tokyo Drifting already.  Blah Blah Blah they have a race and their cars get all fucked up and they end up in the police station.  The cop tells Sean that not-JTT will get off because he comes from money, but that he is in deep shit.  Sean’s kind of hot mom comes in and tells him he has fucked up for the last time.  Now he only has one option… which is to go to Japan… as one does?  You fucked up so now you have to leave your beloved shitsburg for beautiful Tokyo.  How… horrible?  

He flies to Japan to stay with a dude I thought was his uncle for like the longest time but I guess it is his dad.  Dad is basically a non existent character.  Shit, Sean is basically a non existent character.  In fact I had to hear his name about 6 times before I realized it was Sean not “John.”  One of the problems with the series in general is that they want to cut to the action so quickly that the characters themselves are just afterthoughts.  Anyway, Dad leaves Sean a note saying that the train for school leaves at 7.  Boy I hope he figures out how to navigate the transit system when he doesn’t speak the language and get to school on time and not fuck up.  I feel like his dad is basically setting him up for failure.  He arrives in class where everyone is speaking Japanese already and he doesn’t get what is going on and there is some fish out of water comedy where he doesn’t know to take off his shoes but like did ANYBODY expect any differently when you just randomly send American kid to Japanese high school with absolutely no prep? There is a cute girl in his class who appears to be mixed race who kind of giggles at his mistakes and I’m thinking this chick is probably the romantic lead.  At lunch, he falls in with Lil Bow Wow, or Bow Wow or whatever his actual name is or name of his character who happens to be the only American there.  They bond over being foreigners and Sean notices Bow Wow has a steering wheel attached to his backpack as one does and then Bow Wow
What in the actual hell is this car?
takes him to a magical rotating garage to show him his car.  His car looks like the Hulk.  There are 3-D Hulk hands somehow welded onto the side of his car.  His car looks like one of those novelty Hot Wheels cars or something that a Hulk-themed energy drink company might have.  It is insane.  I am not even understanding this car in the slightest.  

Bow Wow takes Sean to this street racing hangout place, which is very familiar given all the other previous films, with one notable exception: It is in a parking garage.  Yes, because of the limited street space and crowded nature of Tokyo, these street racers race inside multi level parking garages.  This is where the whole drifting thing comes into play.  Because these racers are going around tight corners so rapidly, they basically need to slide or drift around them in order to maintain speed and not crash.  It is actually pretty cool to watch and the novelty of drifting definitely distinguishes the races in this film from the previous two.  Head bad guy who is referred to alternately as DK and Takashi who sees Sean flirting with chick from class who apparently is his girlfriend.  They are on for a race after a lot of posturing.  Except Sean doesn’t have a car.  Well who should pipe in but DK’s friend
Nom nom nom 
Han, sweet, beautiful, wonderful Han who, like Tyrese before him, is constantly eating throughout the film.  Anyway Han for some wonderful inexplicable reason decides to loan Sean his car so that he can race DK.  I mean like DK and Sean are just sizing each other up and getting in each other’s faces and Han is just fucking chill as shit and gives Sean the keys to his car.  He is the coolest motherfucker on the planet.  The coolest.  

Anyway DK and Sean race and of course Sean has no idea how to drift so that goes very poorly and he totally screws up Han’s car.  Sean apologizes to Han for screwing up his car and Han is like, “Don’t leave town.”  Ugh what a badass.  The next day Han picks Sean up from his house and tells
hahah awkward nudity
him he has to do him a favor.  I start to get worried is Han going to make him beat somebody up?  Is he sending him in to get killed?  No, Han just sent Sean into a bath house place to get money from a giant sumo guy because he thought it was funny and the sumo guy chucks him out but doesn’t even mess him up a little and Han smiles while tossing more food in his mouth as the sumo guy throws him the money and now everybody is friends.  Han is the best.  Have I mentioned that Han is the best?  Han shows Sean his sweet pad and friends including kind of chubby guy and skinny girl (I don’t even know if they have actual lines in the film I wasn’t paying attention).  

"Dreamweaver" begins playing
Now Han, let’s talk about Han.  The previous two films had some homoerotic subtext, but I really cannot see anything that Han does as anything but straight up flirting.  I am not sure if the character is intended to be gay/ bi but man oh man was it hard to view his actions as anything but.  There is just a look in his eye every time he watches Sean.  Also interesting about Han is that he is American.  Sean asks him how he ended up in Japan and Han talks about how in old Westerns the cowboys always run away from their problems in Mexico and this is his Mexico.  Then Sean asks why he gave him his car in the first place when he knew he could fuck it up and Han says, “One car is worth knowing what a man is made of.”  Is Han even real?  He is seriously the coolest. Anyway Han decides to teach Sean to drift and basically the entire second act of the film is an extended training montage of drifting.  It is a long montage but I don’t care because there is a lot of Han in it.  Sean and Han (god they sound like a cute couple don’t they?) race together and Han is seriously flirting hard with him, or if he is not flirting is doing a really bad job of hiding his attraction to him.  

Sean finally gets good enough to race one of DK’s minions and it is at this point that I sort of lose track of the plot and stop caring about anything that doesn’t involve Han.  Sean keeps flirting with the cute chick even though she is DK’s girl and DK is kind of yakuza or his uncle is yakuza or he is a yakuza poseur or whatever.  As is common in courtship rituals, Sean asks the girl to drift for him so they all drift together in a magnificent drifting herd down the side of a mountain.  Sean keeps practicing his drifting and Bow Wow is kind of getting pissed because tires ain’t cheap.  I am really glad they acknowledge the fact that these guys are tearing through tires pretty hard with all this drift nonsense.  DK shows up and beats up Sean and Neela (oh yeah that’s the chick’s name) confronts
him about it.  DK gets pissed off and tells Neela her mom was a whore etc.  Guy is basically typical dickbag.  Then DK’s ACTUAL yakuza uncle shows up and it’s fucking Sonny Chiba dressed in a white suit with a hat like a caricature of a Yakuza and it is perfect.  He’s pretty pissed off at DK’s wannabe gangsta shit and also informs him that Han has been stealing from him.  Han, you stupid, beautiful boy.  

DK goes to confront Han and Sean and pulls a gun on him.  Good thing their cars are nearby so they
So hot.  Literally on fire
drive away fast, drifting along the way.  The setting of the film, in busy Tokyo, makes the racing sequences very tight and claustrophobic.  There are a lot of people and cars on these busy streets, making me actually nervous for bystanders and property.  There is a sequence where a group of about 200 people are walking across a busy street, see the cars coming, and part together like a flock of fucking geese so that the cars can drift through them.  Nobody gets hurt.  How?  Beautifully shot, though, I have to say.  The race intensifies and Hans car flips over and lights on fire.  NOT HAN, I cry in the middle of my living room, NOOOOOOOO!!!!!  You bastards you killed the only interesting part of the movie!! WHY!!!!!  

Sean and Neela make it back to his house and then DK shows up and his dad pulls a gun on him and DK and Neela leave.  Then Sean’s dad, who previously had been kind of pissed at him for all this racing, says he has to leave which I think is a good idea, but Sean says he needs to finish what he started which I guess means avenging Han?  I don’t even know.  Once Han was out of the picture, I have to say I really lost track of/ interest in the plot.  Sean goes to see Bow Wow who gives him a pile of money saying that Han would have wanted you to have this.  K.  Han would have wanted you to have all of this money.  Han left you in his will, Sean.  Sean, Han loved you.  Can’t you see how
Here's your bag of money, dude
much Han loved you?  Han loved you so much.  Sean decides to go and give the money to DK’s uncle, Sonny Chiba, to make up for what Han had done.  There are old timey mob guys twirling chains and wearing matching jackets in the alley to his place.  It is pretty silly.  Sean apologizes to Sonny Chiba and says he will race DK/ Takashi for honor and the loser will leave town or something.  Whatever.  Why isn’t Han there? Why do I have to watch Sean now?  

Anyway it’s a good thing that Sean’s dad has this classic old Mustang he was fixing up that Sean can drive because the cops took all of Han’s other cars.  Yay! DK picks this mountain to race on and
Whatever. I miss Han
Neela tells Sean that he needs to be worried because this is DK’s mountain, he is the only one who has made it to the bottom. Seems like a poorly designed road, then. Bow Wow does something with his super 2005 flip phone and the beacons are lit or something?  Now everyone can see the race on their phones?  Did he put cameras in the cars I don’t even know what is happening with this sequence.  The car duel finale was very dramatic and well shot.  DK’s car falls off a cliff, Sean goes around the corner, almost getting hit by the falling car, and speeds through the finish line.  Whatever.  I don’t care. I miss Han.

Epilogue finds Sean and his friends hanging out, and who should show up but Vin Diesel driving a car that he somehow transported to Japan for racing with.  What follows is a conversation with THE most homoerotic subtext of any exchange in the entire series thus far:

“Nice ride,” Sean comments, eying Dom’s Plymouth up and down as the engine of his own car rumbles beneath him.

“Thanks, I got it from my old friend Han,” Dom replies with a wink.

“I didn’t know he was into American muscle,” Sean replies, gazing at Dom’s ripped biceps and tight shirt.  

“He was when he was with me, “ Dom smiles, fondly recalling an unspoken memory of life with his former lover.  


Just so you know I am not making this up, here is the entire final scene. You tell me.

Stray Thoughts:

  • I did something I have not done so far with this series and read some spoilers online.  SPOILER ALERT - -  Han shows up in the next films.  I am so excited.  Han was the only reason this movie was any good at all
  • Ok but really though, is Han gay?  
  • The actor who played Han was in Better Luck Tomorrow which was also directed by Justin Lin. Great film, everybody should check it out.  In that movie, he also played a character named Han.  Is he playing the same guy?!  Cursory online searching indicates that yes, yes he is.  This is awesome.  I am having a harder time not giving myself spoilers for the rest of the series because I really want to know everything about Han and how awesome he is.  I don’t remember Han in Better Luck Tomorrow being that much of a badass but it has been about 10 years since I have seen it.  I think I need to rewatch for continuity’s sake.  
  • Ok but really though, Sean was such an actively boring lead that I really hope he isn’t in any of the other F/F movies.  What a bland sack of white bread.  

Well that’s it.  Off to Fast and Furious which I have heard is kind of a reboot of the franchise.  If Tokyo Drift was somehow the weakest of the series but featured the amazingness of Han and also a Sonny Chiba cameo then I have high hopes for the remaining movies.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Imaginary Conversations - Murder

When was the first time you saw someone being murdered?  

Huh?  Like in a movie?  Probably Bambi’s mom does that count?  

No I mean an actual person being murdered

Not an animal, huh.  Um… Gosh I dunno, Star Wars?  The charred bodies of Uncle Ben and Aunt Beru were kind of upsetting, but I guess they were already dead. I didn’t see them get killed.  Though, the people on Alderaan I guess I saw murdered if I think about it hard enough.  Or any of the people shot down in TIE fighters.  Yeah I guess that would be it.  I think I was probably 6.

No, I’m not talking about a movie.  I mean like an actual person, a real person.  When was the first time you saw a real person being murdered not just their body after they were dead but like actually saw somebody getting killed.  

Oh…  Fuck, I’m not sure.  Are you talking about the guy that was killed by police yesterday?

Well yes, tangentially that is what I am talking about.  When I started thinking about that guy that was murdered by police yesterday I realized that I have seen so many people murdered I can’t remember.


Yeah, so anyway I’m asking you:  when was the first time you saw somebody killed?

I dunno... I mean... Maybe the Gulf War?  Like on the news?  I would have been maybe 9?  

Did they actually show people being killed on TV during the Gulf War?

I mean I don’t… I can’t really remember.  Wolf Blitzer wore a lot of pocketed vests, that’s about the extent of my memory from 1991.  

Yes, you are correct, Wolf Blitzer did wear a lot of pocketed vests, but I am pretty sure that they never actually showed any bodies on TV like they did during the Vietnam War.  I don’t think they showed anybody being killed.  

Oh ok.  Ok I think I sort of remember. Your mention of Vietnam got me thinking that when I was in Hebrew School and we were studying the Holocaust, they showed us Nazis shooting people and then their bodies falling in ditches.  It was like a documentary.  Actually, I watched a lot of World War 2 documentaries when I was in middle school and high school and they definitely showed Nazis murdering people.   

I think it was probably same for me too.  The first person I saw being murdered was in black and white.  Happened long before I was born.  Happened in a documentary.  

If I am discerning your meaning correctly, though, you are asking me when was the first time I saw somebody being murdered recently, I mean a contemporary person that was murdered that day or the day before or what have you.  


That I can’t really answer.  I remember one time I was in college some guy was kidnapped by terrorists and he was beheaded and somebody posted the beheading online and I watched it for some reason.  It was super, super upsetting but even that I don’t think was the first time.  I feel like I HAD to have seen somebody murdered before then.  

It is weird to think of.  It is kind of upsetting to think of that here is somebody’s life leaving their body and you can’t remember it.

So what was your first time

No that’s the point, I can’t remember either.  I mean it must have happened.  There must have been a first time I saw somebody die, somebody whose family was still alive, somebody who was killed on video, but I don’t remember it.  I don’t know.  I remember seeing the Rodney King beating but Rodney King wasn’t killed.  I know there has to have been a first time between the 90s and a year or 2 ago but I don’t remember.  

Does it bother you?  

How can’t it bother me, it is somebody dying!  It is somebody being murdered, of course it bothers me.

I mean does it bother you that you can’t remember?

Yeah, it does.  It bothers me.  It bothers me because I can’t even remember all the recent ones.  It bothers me that there is a hashtag every other day and I can’t remember them.  It bothers me that we are supposed to say their names and I can’t remember all of them.  

Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland..

Yeah those are like 2.  Just 2.  Trying to remember all of them reminds me of when I was trying to memorize the names of all the presidents in order.  I still can sort of do that, remember the names of the presidents, though I sometimes get stuck around Polk and Franklin Pierce.  But I can’t remember the names of the people I have seen murdered in the past year even.  Those two I didn’t actually see die.  There was no video of Sandra Bland, there was no video of Trayvon Martin.  There was a video of the guy yesterday, of Terence Crutcher.  But I know there have been more that I have seen and I can’t remember them!  Why can’t I remember them?  When did it become so common to see people being murdered that they all blend into each other?

I… I dunno.  I don’t have an answer to that question.  We were talking the other day about the people killed in mass shootings, how it has become commonplace, how we have become inured to violence.  

When did that happen though?  Can you remember?  When did it start happening that there were so many shootings, so many murders, so many acts of terrorism that you can’t even remember them all?  Like I dunno… Rodney King was SUCH a big thing.  I mean there have been so many people killed or beaten by police, but that was SUCH a big thing.  The riots… I remember that and it was 20 years ago.  I remember that, I remember Rodney King’s name more clearly than I can remember the more recent ones.  Why do I remember his name and not Freddie Gray’s?  I mean I remember Freddie Gray’s name I just mean like… I dunno it took me a minute to remember his name for a second.  

Memory is weird.  What we remember is weird.  Do you want to be able to remember the name of every person that has died?  I mean we talked about this before… There are so many people who die each day, can you really mourn them all?  Is is possible for you to mourn them all?  Plus you gotta remember that when Rodney King was beaten, to catch something on video was super rare.  Now everything is on video, we see everything, it isn’t new.  

Is that it?  Is that all it is?  People have phones so we know about more things?  

I mean I’m pretty sure that is what it is.  There are dash cam videos, there have been since Cops in the 90s.  Did Cops ever show suspects being shot on the show?  I don’t remember.  That show kind of idolized the police.  But anyway, yeah now there is a video of everything.  Now there is just… more of everything.  

I can’t remember it all, there is too much to remember.  There are too many things.

There are a lot of things.  I thought we talked about this a few weeks ago how there are a lot of things to keep track of, a lot of memes.  Did you ever take that break from Twitter?


Maybe you should.  You are tired.  There is a lot of input and you aren’t able to handle it, and that is ok.  It is ok to say you can’t handle it.  Self care is ok

I just feel so helpless and useless and sad and I feel gross about myself that I can’t remember the names of people I have seen literally murdered on videos that I have seen but I can remember the names of Star Wars characters and quotes from the Simpsons.  I am mad at myself that my brain has decided that that shit is more important than the names of people I have seen die.  

You can’t be mad at yourself for not being able to remember everything.  You can’t be mad at yourself for remembering certain things and not other things, you can’t be mad at yourself that you aren’t holding a vigil to every person killed in your home all hours of the day.  It is ok.  It is ok to be upset about people being killed by police, about people killed by terrorism, about people killed by negligence, about things that happen in the world, without having to remember the names of every single one.  It is ok.  

Terence Crutcher, Terence Crutcher, Terence Crutcher.  I’d almost forgotten his name in the 10 minutes I have been talking to you.  I don’t want to forget him.

But it’s ok if you do, you know that.  It is ok. Our culture… you were right about what you said about our culture the last time we chatted.  We are very fickle, we are very in the moment and then it’s gone.  Everything is very ephemeral.  It used to be there was one thing and we fixated on that one thing for a really long time.  When Diana died it was everything, when JonBenet Ramsey was kidnapped and murdered it was every day, when the OJ Simpson trial was on TV it was all anybody talked about, when 9/11 happened it was just 9/11 and Iraq and Afghanistan on the news all day every day.  Now there are more “things,”  our media is more democratic, Twitter and facebook have allowed more sharing, more “things” going viral.  Nobody needs you to remember everything, it is impossible to remember everything.  You can try, and I’m glad that you are trying, but it is ok to forget too.  Forgetting pain helps us move on too, you know.  If we remembered every pain we felt we would go mad.

I’m tired.

I know, you said before.  

I am, though.  I’m just so tired.  

Don’t allow yourself to be controlled by things around you.  You are doing a good job.  You are doing the best you can.  

Am I?

I don’t know.  Only you can answer that question, but I think so.  I think you are trying to be a good person, you are trying to be conscious in your actions and your words, you are trying to remember if not the specific names the ideas, the feeling.  



I guess

That seems like an odd way to end a conversation

I am just too tired to talk anymore