In case you’re just joining, I set a goal to watch all of the Fast and the Furious movies in the span of eight days. Catch up on my first batch of reviews here.
Now, join me for the finale as I watch the last four installments in the series.
Fast Five (2011)
April 8, 2020 at 5:00
What Did I Expect: The cars would be fast. The people MIGHT be furious.
My Favorite Part: The final heist at the end of the movie was pretty epic. Even after watching four movies on the four days leading up to this, it managed to surprise me! Nothing like dragging a safe for miles and miles in major streets of Rio!
My Least Favorite Part: This time, the misogyny took more of a back seat, but there was wayyyy more violence. It felt like there were more guns in this movie than in the entire series thus far, and more car crashes that obviously resulted in a high body count.
A Brief Summary of my Experience: Honestly, I really dug this movie. The series is coalescing as it progresses with a cast of recurring characters, in-jokes, catchphrases and conflicts.
Fast Five had moments that were like Oceans Eleven or The Avengers, where we see a team made up of side characters from the entire franchise joining forces to pull off a job with a gigantic payday. If the first movie was like a whodunit, Fast Five operates more as a team heist film.
Finally, this is the movie in which Dwayne Johnson/The Rock makes his first appearance as Hobbs. It is reiterated time and time again that he believes his job is to follow the letter of the law, tracking down whoever the government asks him to bring in. My final note for this movie was something like, “OMG so is Hobbs just the Javert to Dom’s Valjean?!”
My Final Rating: 8.5/10 Bald-Headed Adversaries
Fast and Furious 6 (2013)
April 9, 2020 4:00 p.m.
My Favorite Part: Honestly, I am just very, very happy Luke Evans is here. Is his character a very bad man who runs people’s cars over willy-nilly in a tank? Yes. But is he a certified attractive man? Also yes.
My Least Favorite Part: Gisele (played by Gal Gadot) ends up sacrificing herself for the also-very-attractive driver, Han. Those two were a darling couple, but I knew it couldn’t last.
A Brief Summary of My Experience: Look, these movies don’t exactly have a stunning cultural reputation for amazing plot, but I found this one harder to follow. I think it’s because the writers tried to subvert formula with various twists and turns and so the movie was a little less cohesive.
Furthermore, even though there are some moments of levity, the tone of this installment felt more serious. The franchise appears to keep up its trajectory of trading intense misogyny for over-the-top violence, and I don’t know how to feel about that.
On a positive note, I am super happy that Ludacris’s character, Tej, is getting more of his day in the sun. He’s shown to be creative, smart, and innovative, with a few little one-liners for comic relief.
Finally, a note I took while watching Hobbs walk around with his oily arms at awkward, beefy angles, “It looks uncomfortable to be The Rock.”
My Final Rating: 6.5/10 ‘splodey airplanes
Furious 7 (2015)
April 10, 2020 10:00 a.m.
What Did I Expect: The cars might be fast. The people would be furious!
My Favorite Part: Cars! Dropping! Out! Of! Airplanes! I remembered this from the trailer, which I was strangely obsessed with every time I saw it in the movie theater. Friends, it did not disappoint!
My Least Favorite Part: Having to admit that I shed ACTUAL TEARS at the end of this movie, when they paid tribute to Paul Walker.
A Brief Summary of My Experience: There’s honestly so much that I enjoyed in this movie that I’m going to just present a couple snippets inspired by my notes.
-The opening sequence involves Jason Statham vowing to avenge his hospitalized brother. As he walks out, we discover he’s absolutely decimated the hospital and it’s the most perfect Jason-Statham-y way to kick off the movie.
-Paul Walker telling his toddler, “cars don’t fly,” after the kid throws his toy car is **chef’s kiss**.
-At one point, Kurt Russel says, “Completely wrong thinking, and I like it,” about the cars-dropped-from-a-plane plan. That quote also encompasses pretty much all of my feelings about what it’s like to watch this franchise.
-This movie gets some Sex and the City 2 vibes by going to Abu Dhabi! At one point they drive a car out of a skyscraper and then through windows into a completely different skyscraper!
-For a bit, I was ready to make the worst part of this movie that The Rock wasn’t in it enough, since his character was incapacitated. However, at the climax of the movie, he springs into action to help our team by bulging his muscles to dismantle the cast on his arm! I scream-laughed with glee.
My Final Rating: 10/10 Cars! Dropping! Out! Of! Airplanes!
The Fate of the Furious
April 11, 2020
What Did I Expect: The events would be fateful. The people would be furious.
My Favorite Part: Jason Statham’s character, Deckard Shaw, rescues an adorable little baby, and then fights his way through a series of trained killers with the baby carrier slung over one arm. Periodically he checks on the baby, who is wearing gigantic headphones and sporting a smile. My heart exploded just like all the cars in this movie.
My Least Favorite Part: This movie had the absolute gall to cast Charlize Theron (aka The Imperator Furiosa from one of my all-time favorite movies, Mad Max: Fury Road) as its main villain and not even let her drive in a single chase scene!
A Brief Summary of My Experience: This was a weird one, gang. It felt like two movies smashed into one. The first movie was dull and slow-moving, with lots of drily spoken threats made to Dom by Cipher (Charlize Theron). These parts that should have been stacked with tension were slow and weird.
And let’s talk about our gal, Cipher. I expected her to be dynamic, but she instead comes off as robotic (seriously, someone should show her a series of pictures and see if she can tell you which ones have street signs in them). At one point in my notes, I described Cipher as “an evil, be-dreadlocked, unhinged Jan Levinson.”
The other part of this movie, with its car chases, team banter, jokes, and ridiculous lines spoken by The Rock was an absolute treat. The more this franchise sticks to impossible plans and friendly teamwork, the happier I am!
One final note: if Ramsey isn’t canonically gay by the next movie, I may need to start a riot.
My Final Rating: 7/10 self-driven cars raining out of buildings
My Final Takeaways:
I had so much more fun watching this series than I ever thought was possible. Truly, I cannot wait to see F9 on the big screen next year, and my husband and I have plans to watch Hobbs and Shaw just for fun on HBO this week.
There are certainly problems with the franchise, many of which are well-documented in other critical spaces online. From the ogling display of women’s bodies, to the writers’ lack of understanding of how to write feminine characters, to the strange racial politics of the early installments, the franchise is far from perfect.
Even though there are problems, these movies provide a great action escape that’s outside of my normal genre bubble. Watching nearly two decades’ worth of movies in eight days made me reflect on how the series has evolved and shifted.
Viewers like me traveled from the unsubtle “race wars” to a media landscape with smart, tech-savvy black characters. We were impressed when a zillion cars flooded the streets in 2 Fast 2 Furious and then laughed out loud when The Fate of the Furious appeared to parody this moment with self-driving cars! We’ve experienced the soap-operatic returns from death for more than one fan-favorite character!
I can’t say I recommend binge-watching this series to everyone out there…but my experience with the Fast Franchise was a blast that taught me a couple of things:
First: Genres and movies that you assume aren’t for you may provide some much-needed escapism and entertainment.
Second: Nothing is more important than Family.
Thanks for coming along on the ride with me, Frolic readers!