Monday, November 21, 2016

Curiouser and Furiouser: A Fast and Furious Watch - Part 6: Fast and Furious 6

Did all roads REALLY lead to this though?  Did they?
Hello all, I am back again (sort of) with the 6th part of my Fast and Furious watch.  I actually watched this movie well over a month and a half ago, but did not do my recap for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I have been kind of busy and writing other things and the election was really getting me down.  In fact, it has been so long since I've seen the movie that it isn't even fresh in my mind anymore.  I could probably rewatch it, but my heart just isn't in it anymore.  There is something about the election that has just left me incapable of just doing recaps of stupid car movies.  Sorry guys. Here are just some stray thoughts.

My biggest problem with this movie was the ending.  Spoiler alert: Han Dies.  Now Han died before.  Han "died" in Tokyo Drift. But then Han appeared in the next three films and I thought that perhaps he had faked his death, that Tokyo Drift hadn't really happened in the continuity of the films, or any other excuses to explain this away.

Throughout Fast and Furious, Fast 5, and Fast and Furious 6, Han makes oblique references to wanting to go to Tokyo.  However in my mind this had to be a reference to going BACK to Tokyo rather than going for the first time.  If not, then we are supposed to believe that Tokyo Drift takes place AFTER all these films which makes absolutely no sense.  I mean the cars of Tokyo Drift are clearly older cars, Han himself is obviously younger, the film was made in 2005, released in 2006, and LOOKS very much of that era.  That couldn't possibly when Han actually dies because then we are supposed to believe that the 4th-6th films are prequels to Tokyo Drift which is insanity.  But this insanity is the reality of the the Furious-verse, which has made me very angry.  Another thing that made me angry is that Han's death was relegated to a post credits sting, which is profoundly unfair to his character.  The OTHER reason that his death made me angry was that at the end of the film Gisele sacrifices her own life to save his.  It is an emotional moment that is rendered completely useless because Han himself dies so glibly shortly after we find out who the gaffer of the film is or whatever. It is unfair to Han, it is unfair to the audience, to just kill him off in this way after the credits.  It really bothered me.

The rest of the plot was sort of cut and pasted from a bunch of other movies like James Bond, Jason Bourne, Mission Impossible, etc.  Now instead of drug dealers the team is hunting this crew of terroristy bad guys who have somehow brainwashed Letty into working for them.  The fact that Letty is alive just negates all the character growth of the previous 2 movies.  The fact that she is alive just makes no freaking sense whatsoever.  The fact that she is alive and doesn't remember her previous life but does remember how to drive well and steal shit is just stupid.   Also stupid is how everything is really high tech and Hobbs can do whatever he wants without repercussions.  Hobbs starts out the movie basically destroying the interrogation room of INTERPOL like he is the god damned Hulk and nobody calls him out on it.  The Rock can pretty much do whatever he wants, which is sort of dumb.  Even in James Bond or Mission Impossible movies when they cause too many problems they get yelled at by superiors etc.  Hobbs has no superiors.  He is just like a one man wrecking machine who has the authority to do whatever the hell it is he wants to.  I get that the FBI and the LAPD in the earlier films were sort of ineffectual, but at least the bureaucracy portrayed in those movies was marginally realistic.  Brian used to have bosses who yelled at him.  Remember that?  Not anymore.  There are no bosses, there is not even a tenuous attempt at normalcy and realism.  These films are now just straight up spy action movies from here on out with our heroes just blowing shit up with impunity.  They "look" better, there is more action, more dynamism, better camera work, but I really feel like something has been lost, though the film itself is objectively "better."  I have complicated feelings.

There are some funny moments.  Dom has to go all Muppet Movie/ Blues Brothers and get the gang
Don't ever change
back together and Roman is flying around in a plane with "It's Roman, bitches" literally written on the side full of a bunch of sexy ladies.  Tej is hacking an ATM to give money away to a bunch of kids and speaking pretty lousy Spanish for somebody who is supposed to be fluent.  Ludacris, please work on your Spanish.  Han and Gisele are like fucking super spies pulling guns on the cops.  Those two dudes from before whose names I forget are out of the picture.  Oh good.  I never remembered their names anyway.  Brian and Mia are all cutesy cutesy with their son, Jack.  They also have a chicken.  Dom comes to visit them and Brian expresses his ennui: "It doesn't feel like home even though we have everything down to the beer and the BBQ." Maybe because you are living on the run in a foreign country, dude.  Money can't buy happiness.  Anyway, Dom shows Brian the picture Hobbs got of Letty alive and well and doing some bad shit.  Though he wants to stay with his girlfriend and son, he knows that he has to help Dom find Letty and figure out what is going on.

The crew meets up in London at a super high tech and fancy warehouse/ base of operations.  Straight up James Bond type stuff.  Roman remarks, "Do I smell baby oil?" and Hobbs walks in.  Lol.  Our first shot of Han is him eating from a bag of chips, God bless him.  Roman tries to grab some of his chips but Han turns the bag over and shows him it is empty.  Roman, absolutely requiring chips to eat while everybody is talking, as is dictated by his character, proceeds to ask around if anybody has change for the vending machine because he has no quarters on him even though he is a multi millionaire.  He is doing this while Hobbs is trying to tell the crew about what their mission is, so Hobbs ends up just shooting the vending machine so Roman can get chips out.  Now Roman and Han have chips and we can proceed with the rest of the story.  This whole sequence is super silly. Anyway Hobbs is explaining to the crew that Owen Shaw stole or is trying to steal this Nightshade thing that can take down communications maybe?  I don't even know what this McGuffin is or was supposed to do.  Whatever.  Bad guy wants the thing we need to stop them from getting them the thing. If you do this, Hobbs says, you will all get full pardons.  This is very appealing to Brian especially who really wants to live a normal life again with this family.

Yeah the bad guys have Batmobiles now or whatever
They all converge on Shaw after getting info from his partner who turned, but it is all a ruse to distract from robbing INTERPOL or whatever.  Oh and Shaw drives a Batmobile.  I mean like a legit Batmobile. He blows up the pylons and takes down the building and Dom is after him.  Finally, after so long, we get a really good car chase.  Hobbs is plowing through shit in his Humvee, Dom and the rest are chasing after.  There are snipers on the roof and Han takes them down just in time to save Gisele.  Really really great action sequence here.  Shaw has these things sort of like the EMPs the Miami police had in 2 Fast that can control/ shut down the computers in cars remotely.  He hits Roman's car with one and he goes through a building.  Brian manages to tear the chip thing off of his own car and is in hot pursuit.  This is a busy traffic area in London and there are lot of bystanders jumping out of the way/ becoming collateral damage.  One of Shaw's partners who is this ice queen bitch type has her own Batmobile who takes Brian's car out of the picture.  It is down to Hobbs/ his new partner Gina Carano and Dom.  Dom spots Letty's car and chases her.  He confronts her after cornering her car and she shoots him right in the shoulder.  Ouch.

Roman is not really having all this James Bond type shit.  Dom tells him that you don't turn your back on family even when they do and they have to save Letty at all costs.  Letty meanwhile doesn't seem to recognize her old compatriots at all.  She meets up with the Bizarro crew which consists of Klaus, aka white Hobbs, random Japanese guy, aka bizarro Han, a dude who looks like 50 cent, and that bitchy blonde lady.  Seriously this crew is like the stunt doubles in Spaceballs: just off enough to be really random.  They show her a picture of her and Dom, but she doesn't remember.  AMNESIA!  This is a soap opera.  The FF crew realize that with these magical car controlling dealies that Shaw has they are going to need some older cars that don't have any computers in them.  Tej is on it, because we need an excuse to use more classic cars in this franchise.  Brian meanwhile tries to track down the very special bullet that Letty shot Dom with because of course she used a very special bullet that only a few people sell in London and these people are easily locatable. Han, Roman, and Gisele are all hanging out and Roman asks Han whether he is going to put a ring on it.  Oh and they are both eating chips together because of course they are.

Whatever.  I really lost interest in the plot at this point.  There are a bunch more action sequences.  Letty and Gina Carano's character have a brutal fight in the tube station.  The bizarro Han is like some kind of crazy ninja master taking down all these cops.  Brian goes all the way home to talk to Braga in prison where he like freaking learns nothing worth knowing that couldn't have been figured out another way.  Like seriously what was with that whole plot?  Did they want to pad the movie by 20 minutes?  Man I miss when FF movies were just an hour and a half.  These 2 hour plus actioners just don't work.  There is finally an old fashioned street racing butt jiggle party which is nice to see.  Some things stay the same.

So yeah.  Car chases!  Bombs!  Wanton destruction of property!  Dom just kind of saying fuck you to that Brazilian lady he hooked up with now that Letty is back!  Insanely crazy action sequences!  Just insane.  Shaw kidnaps Mia!  Oh no!  Gina Carano is a traitor! Whatever.  I just felt no emotional attachment to anything that was happening in the movie.  There was just too much action.  In the earlier films, while they were kind of dinky and kind of silly, the focus was just on the cars, on the friendship.  This movie had major, major action sequences literally every 5 minutes.  There was barely any quiet at all.  It was just... I dunno it was just busy.  It was ok.  Sorry but my viewing of the film, as I said, was really dampened by the killing off of both Gisele and Han.  It seemed like a super shitty thing for the franchise to do.

Also, and I really feel like this needs to be said, I really liked the characters more when they were just street racers doing the best they could and didn't just shoot people and stuff.  I mean they had those grappling hooks to steal from the cars in the very first movie, but I guess I just didn't see them as being all that violent.  The "bad guys" had guns and they saved the day with their street racing skills non violently.  Now instead of out witting or out racing bad guys they just like, I dunno, blow them up.  Also the increase in the number of characters makes it very hard to keep track of everyone in these huge action sequences.  The cuts are so fast and there are so many different narratives to keep track of that it loses something.  I like the idea of the team more than I am liking the execution.   There are these little set pieces instead of one cohesive one, and it makes it just too busy.

So yeah.  Whatever.  Jason Statham apparently kills Han not that Yakuza guy who was racing him from before.  They just had to retcon that too.  Ugh.  Suffice it to say this was not my favorite film.  I'm kind of pissed at this series to be honest.

Han, you deserved better.  Rest in Peace my beautiful boy.

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