Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Curiouser and Furiouser - A Fast and Furious Watch: Part 8 - Fate of the Furious


Wow!  I can't believe just 7 months ago I had never seen a single Fast and Furious movie and now I got the chance to see one on the big screen for the very first time!  This is a really important milestone.  If you haven't read my other recaps, you can find them here.  This whole thing is full of spoilers.  You have been warned.  On to the recap of Fate of the Furious, a film so bonkers it almost boggles the mind.

Our story begins in Cuba where Letty and Dom have presumably been living for some time.  There is an old fashioned butt jiggling car party, hearkening back to the early years of the series in a charmingly nostalgic way.  As it is Cuba, most of the cars were classics from the 50s, which was novel and  very cool to see.  A young kid, whose name I did not catch but who is identified as Dom's cousin, has run into some trouble with the local butt jiggling car party organizer/ street racer/ maybe gang dude?  Dom has a cousin apparently.  Neat.  Dom's cousin has a shit car and can't race for crap so Dom agrees to race so that he can keep his shit car.  Unfortunately the street racing kingpin dude says Dom has to drive the shit car in the race instead of his nice car.  Uh oh!  Time for Dom to
Newest addition to the crew
magically MacGyver the engine with a Coke can in such a way that it makes it go fast.  Unfortunately this jerry rigging also causes the car to catch on fire in the middle of the race, which Dom manages to win anyway by driving his car in reverse.  He drives a literal flaming car and gets out totally fine without a scratch.  Apparently Dom is Ghost Rider now.  New pitch:  Ghost Rider teams up with the Fast and Furious crew to track down bad guys.  That would be really awesome.  Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider obviously.  You know what I'm just going to say that Robbie Reyes is part of the Fast and Furious team now.  Anywho, Dom wins, but because he has all the money he could possibly want he doesn't take the guy's car from him, settling instead for his respect.  Then he gives his cousin the keys to his nice car since he drove his flaming one off the side of a boardwalk.  Dom is rolling in like Daddy Warbucks handing out cars to everybody.  New pitch: Vin Diesel as Daddy Warbucks.

What is your deal, lady?
Moving on.  Dom and Letty celebrate back and their place, showing more romantic chemistry than they have in some of the other films.  Letty finally knows who she is which is a bonus.  The next day Dom runs into Charlize Theron sporting some really terrible white girl dreads like Rachel Dolezal or some shit.  He stops to help her fix her car but yikes she's really a bad guy who shows him something on a phone and tells him that he needs to betray his whole crew.  WHAT'S IN THE BOX!? I mean the phone.  Charlize's character, whom we later learn is called Cipher, is out here looking like those dudes from the Matrix Reloaded acting all shifty.  I really don't get her whole deal.

We then catch up with Hobbs who is a coach for his daughter's soccer team doing the full dad
I guess this is prob cultural appropriation but it was cute af
thing.  Then he leads the girls in a Haka/ Siva Tau dance to psych out the opposing team.  It is freaking adorable.  Oh and Hobbs has like a fan club of all the moms on the benches because all these suburban white ladies are thirsty as fuck for The Rock.  I mean, who wouldn't be?  Some agent dude shows up and Hobbs is pissed because he's doing the dad thing right now, focusing on listening to Tay Tay in the car with little girls not shooting bad guys.  The Rock is really using a lot of his comedy chops here, which he hasn't really been able to flex in this series.  In fact, I would say pretty definitively that Fate of the Furious has the most intentionally comedic moments of any of the previous films.  A lot of that humor comes from Hobbs, whose first name is Luke I guess, not sure if we ever knew that before.  Given that he doesn't even crack a smile in his first appearance in Fast 5 this is a nice change.  Anyway the agent guy convinces him that he needs to get back to work so he calls in his crew.  Like basically the FF crew are like the Avengers hanging out doing their thing until they get called to fly to Germany or wherever.

Everybody meets up and chases down some dude who stole an EMP and Tej rigs up some cute looking wrecking balls and everything goes great.  Then all of a sudden as they are heading home, Dom turns on the team, steals the EMP, and runs.  Letty is heartbroken, everybody is like WTF.  It pretty much sucks.  Also I guess what they were doing was illegal?  Oh right like because they aren't official agents?  I dunno I really don't understand the organizational structure of how they get their jobs.  At any rate Hobbs is arrested and Mr. Nobody shows up with his douche canoe assistant Little
Now kiss
Nobody who offer Hobbs a deal to work for them and get out of jail but he decides to go to jail anyway.  There he sees Deckard Shaw whose cell is conveniently directly across from his.  Much of the humor from this film comes from the fantastic chemistry between Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson, whom online people have shipped and I am pretty on board.  They antagonize each other in hilarious ways.  Hobbs straight up starts curling his bench like a weight, having ripped it directly from the wall.  It is some silly dude queer bait posturing, but I enjoy it.  All of a sudden, the doors to the cells open and there is craziness.  Hobbs and Shaw are both throwing a lot of people down, but really they just want to get to each other.  Great running and action in this sequence.  Everybody has their skills in these movies and Statham's is parkour/ running. He is lithe and swift and he climbs fences, leaps over other prisoners and knocks them down.  Anyway they think they have escaped but they are surrounded by Nobody and his men, who orchestrated the whole thing.

Mr. Nobody brings Hobbs and Shaw to the super secret base of whatever organization Nobody happens to work for, and the rest of the crew is already there.  Everybody is pissed that Shaw is there,
I will never forget you, my sweet angel
but then it is revealed that Shaw was recruited by Cipher and I guess isn't such a horrible dude.  Which I would totally buy if HE DIDN'T FUCKING KILL HAN.  This is the part of the movie that is most infuriating to me.  I have read online that the director may have implied that Han is not actually dead or may come back or something like that.  That would be awesome.  But Han's name is not mentioned at all in this entire scene, in the entire movie, as the FF crew interact with the man who killed him/ whom they presume killed him.  If they want to say that Shaw didn't actually kill Han, fine, then this is the scene to do it in.  But the entire rest of the movie is based on the notion that Shaw is just some criminal they reluctantly partner with and not somebody who straight up murdered one of their crew.  I mean the entire last film was a revenge movie against this guy.  His banter with Hobbs is funny (Shaw says Hobbs t-shirt must be cutting off circulation in his brain, Hobbs calls him a tea and crumpets eating criminal son of a bitch) and he plays a vital role, but it really struck me that by not talking about Han at all, the film has a massive plot hole that I couldn't get past.

Anyway, for the sake of the film they need Shaw's help because he has some experience with this Cipher lady who has recruited Dom for reasons unknown.  Roman suggests they use Gods Eye, that nifty Person of Interest machine that can locate anybody anywhere that they were tracking down last film.   Unfortunately, it starts to ping all over the place because Cipher is this crazy hacker lady.  Oh and Ramsey  has heard of her but she thought it was like a whole organization of people because they do such awesome awesome hacking. So yeah basically they are saying that it was this Cipher chick who set everything in motion the last couple of movies and she has really been the big bad all along.  
 Whatever.  It's always one big bad controlling everything.  Charlize Theron is Thanos I guess.  Actually, ok so if Charlize Thanos is trying to get the In-Furious Gauntlet who would be each gem?  Tej/ Ramsey def Mind gem, Hobbs the Power gem, Han the Time Gem (because I'm still convinced he is a time traveller), Dom the Soul gem, Letty the Reality Gem, and Roman the Space Gem I guess because there is no gem of eating crisps and wise assing.

Where was I?  Oh right.  So they are looking for Dom but the thing doesn't work so then Ramsey tries another magical hacking doodle and they figure out that the CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE! Cipher and Dom roll in and and shoot up the place and steal Gods Eye.  Everybody is super sad and disappointed in Dom but nobody dies in the attack.  In the aftermath, Letty suggests maybe they call Brian and Mia for help, but apparently his time in this life is done.  I like that they kept Brian the character alive for the sake of the film, living his life in peace away from all this craziness.  Paul will be with us in spirit forever. So Dom and Cipher return to their hidden airplane of doom and we finally figure out why Dom is working for her:  she has kidnapped Elena!  Not only that, Elena apparently had a baby with Dom in that time before Letty came back that he didn't know about and she's got the baby too!  OMG Dom is a dad!!! BABY!!! What?! Alright so now this makes a lot more sense. His child is on the line that's why he is doing what Cipher wants.  When it comes to family, family takes precedence over "family."

The team tries to figure out their next plan of action, which apparently involves Mr. Nobody taking them to a secret garage that is hidden behind a fish processing plant.  The garage has a ton of dope rides, including tanks, because its all the stuff seized from drug dealers over the years.  Cool.  Roman basically cums just walking into the place.  Tej really wants a tank. Back in the legion of doom, Cipher sends Dom on a run to do something but he fakes his car being broken down and sneaks away to talk to Helen Mirren!!  Helen Mirren plays a total badass like street thug gang leader. I love her. She was amazing.  We cut back to the FF crew who are sniping at each other, particularly Hobbs and Shaw who really just need to get a room already.  Actually, can we talk about this because the first few films had SO much queerbaiting that I came to really expect them in the films.  Then as the series took a more action focused turn a lot of those bromance moments went away.  I'm actually kind of glad they found their rhythm again with Hobbs and Shaw.

what is even happening?
Ok back the to movie. Dom returns to Cipher.  I guess there is a plan to get some nuclear launch codes from a Russian diplomat guy so she sends Dom in to retrieve them.  He's expecting to have another crew of drivers to help, but it turns out that Cipher can hack literally every car in the entire city and she sends all these zombie cars to block traffic and do her bidding.  It really is like a zombie movie.  As these movies get more and more sci fi bonkers you can do shit like this.  Remember when it was just about street racing and maybe busting some cocaine dealers?  Simpler times.  Now we have hacked cars raining down from the sky out of a parking garage and driving over curbs and shit.  Dom backs the Russian car into a corner and then gets out looking like fucking Bane with a metal cutter and shit.  What the hell, Dom?  He intimidates the Russian guy into handing over the nuclear codes and then gets in his car.  But the FF crew is here to save the day, including the douche Little Nobody, aka Sir Nobody-Wants-You-In-This-Movie-Please-Go-Away. They get to Dom and all shoot grappling hooks into his car.  But of course, because it is Dom, aka the greatest driver known to man, he manages to evade capture, tear the grappling hooks off, and then takes off on foot.

Shaw chases after Dom, and Dom shoots him.  DAMN!  Letty chases after him too, but he can't bring himself to shoot her also.  Tormund from Game of Thrones, who is like one of Cipher's flunkies DOES pull a gun on Letty, but Dom convinces him to let her go and the two take off with the nuclear codes.  Letty is absolutely heartbroken, though happy that Dom didn't have it in him to actually shoot her.  She believes in him, but she doesn't know what to do.  Dom could have attempted to communicate SOMEWHAT with her, but alas.  Meanwhile, everybody's pretty angry that Dom just murdered Shaw, except for me who remembers Han more than his friends.  My dear Han, by Grapthar's Hammer you shall be avenged.

Fun thoughts
Anyway, Cipher is pissed that Dom couldn't kill Letty so she straight up murders Elena in front of him/ in front of the baby.  I freaking hate fridging, especially when the character serves literally no other purpose than to be a plot device.  Elena deserved better.  Anyway, Cipher then reveals her master plot which is to get nukes so she can hold governments accountable and shit.  Like, I dunno, maybe she's got a point?  We live in odd times where even a mention of nukes in this movie brings to mind the actual world we live in.  Actually, this whole back half of the film with unsecured nukes in this Russian base that had been taken over by separatists was deeply disquieting for me in an era where people are talking about nuking things again.  I guess this is what it was like during the Cold War with all those movies, but I saw those Cold War movies after the Cold War was over so like it wasn't really imminent for me and just a plot device.  Throughout the rest of this movie I couldn't help thinking, "Wait.. ARE the nukes secure?  Could separatists get a hold of them this easily?  Oh shit what the fuck."  This was actually pretty distracting for me, to be honest.  I had a hard time getting out of that weird head space.  Stupid anxiety.  Stupid fucking nukes.

What Roman SHOULD look like after that dip
Moving on.  The crew figures out where the bad guys are heading and try to get there first in all those shiny cars they were looking at before.  Tej gets his tank and he is so happy.  Roman took a Lambo which makes PERFECT sense since they are driving on snow.  Oh Roman, you goof.  So Dom rolls in using that EMP that he stole, which disables all the Russian cars, but somehow doesn't disable his own?  Um.. I'm pretty sure that's now how EMPs work.  Like you can't also be driving a car and use one, bro.  Whatever.  Cipher car jacks a nuclear submarine.  Ramsey and Tej do their techy thing, but then Roman and the douche Little Nobody get trapped in the only room that can disable the nuclear codes and Roman, hilariously, doesn't know how to read Russian.  Tej tries to walk him through it, but Roman is struggling until he saves the day and disables the nukes and saves the world.  Fucking Roman saves the world.  It is as this point I realize that I trust our nuclear codes to Tyrese more than the actual president of the United States.  Odd thoughts to be having during an FF movie.  Now everybody needs to escape, so they all get in their cars and drive away, but wait... Roman drove a freaking Lambo in the middle of the snow and it has no traction and he can't drive away from the Russians who are chasing them.  God Dammit, Roman, you just saved Earth get it together. His car goes into the water but  Tej reaches him with a hook and gets him out, but how Roman is not just dead of exposure is one of the enduring mysteries of this film.

Damn this baby is cute
No longer a mystery are Dom's plans since we finally get to the big reveal that Helen Mirren is Owen and Deckard Shaw's mom.  The whole think with killing Deckard was a ruse and with the help of the Cuban street racing guy, those two dudes from Fast 5 who lost all their money, and Mrs. Shaw, Deckard was spirited away, got his bro out of prison, and now the two Shaw Bros together at last can fuck Cipher's shit up.  Deckard, Han killing fucking Deckard Shaw, saves the day and rescues Dom's baby from the plane.  This does NOT make up for killing Han, but this Pacifier sequel is pretty hilarious.  Deckard punching out dudes, baby just smiling and bouncing along with ear phones in. Dammit, Jason Statham stop being so likable.  This whole scene was just supremely silly and I really enjoyed it.  There have been talks about giving Hobbs and Shaw their own spinoff movie, and I really would not mind it at all if they decided to make it one of those "uh oh Hobbs' daughter snuck in the back seat and now they have to kill people with a little kid tagging along" movies with Deckard as Hobbs' manny.  Jason Statham was really great in Spy and I like seeing him doing more silly stuff. Its a bummer about the whole killing Han and me never being able to forgive him thing.   God this baby is cute.  They got the cutest fucking baby to play Dom's baby.

Anyway, with the Shaw bros doing their thing, Dom is free to kill Tormund and help his buddies.
I can't even explain this.  I won't even try.
Hurray!!  But uh oh, the sub is surfacing and torpedoes are away!  This is the part of the movie that you probably saw in the trailer and thought, "what the fuck is going on why is there a nuclear submarine chasing after street racing cars and a tank and when did these movies become just Brosnan era Bond knock offs."  ICE!  TORPEDOES!  BOMBS!  SHOOTING!  ALL THE THINGS!!  Anyway, everybody is happy that Dom is back and with them but how are we going to get out of this pickle.  Letty and Ramsey share a car and have a conversation about Cipher which I think was the first time this movie passed the Bechdel Test, though don't hold me to that.  A heat seeking missile is heading toward Dom, but he drives around so it hits the sub instead and explodes.  But oh no!  He's out of his car and is going to get burned alive!  Thankfully the crew surrounds him with their cars, protecting him from the flames, which is totally a real thing that cars can do.

Team Cipher blasting of agaaaaaaain 
So Cipher jumps out of the plane with a parachute and manages to escape and surely they will have to track her down in the next film.  Her getting away like that was a very GI Joe/ generic 1980s cartoon way of ending the story.  I'm ok with that. Owen and Deckard save the baby and get control of the plane and all is well.  At the very end of the film everybody is hanging out on a roof having a happy BBQ when Deckard arrives to present Dom with his kid.  It feels like maybe Deckard should have given him his kid sometime before just then?  Like it seems like some time has passed.  Why was Deckard just watching Dom's baby?  Is Deckard just his manny now?  Very confusing.  Anyway, Dom toasts his crew and announces his baby's name: Brian.  Everybody in the movie theater bursts into tears.  Brian will be with us always.  Everybody is happy and having a grand old time and nobody says anything about Deckard, the man who murdered Han, being there too.  Grand old times.

Fin


Stray Thoughts:

- Man I really enjoyed Deckard Shaw in this movie and his dumb banter with Hobbs.  Why couldn't they have just said that he didn't really kill Han, or he was brainwashed, or Han was really alive?  I just don't know how they can expect the audience to keep on board with this

- Movie pitch: Furious Babies.  Like either the babies of all the crew OR the whole crew but just as babies street racing strollers and stuff.

- Not all hackers need white people dreads.  Just.. stop

- The way the film ended things with Ramsey, Tej and Roman implied that maybe Ramsey might not be into dudes at all, which I would 100% be on board for.  It would be great if they took that whole fighting over her element out of the film all together and just made her an equal partner.  She is smarter than half the damn team, she doesn't need to be viewed entirely on her relationship with a dude.

- A lot of people didn't like this movie, but I actually enjoyed it IMMENSELY because of how batshit and goofy it was.  It really didn't take itself seriously which was the biggest problem I had with some of the others in the series.  I love batshit goofy movies, dammit.

- Movie pitch: Fast-tastic Voyage.  The FF crew is shrunken down and injected into Dom's blood stream after he develops a rare form of cancer that can only be cured by street racing through his circulatory system

- Movie pitch: Fast and Furiosa.  Cipher sets off a nuclear bomb causing destruction of most of the planet.  Only the FF crew survive and, along with Cipher's twin sister Furiosa, they race through the desolate, scorched landscape searching for peace and security.

- Movie pitch: Fast and Furious but in space.  Its like a pod racing movie or something.

Well that's it for a while.  Thank you for joining me on this furious journey.

And remember: Live your life a quarter mile at a time.



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