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Fast and feelin’ The Fast and Furious

So it has come to this. After a decade and a half of fast cars, sexy women and the furious Vin Diesel, the cash cow street-racing franchise (that at this point has very little to do with actual racing) has essentially come to an end. That wasn’t the original plan (the first draft of the script had a setup for “Furious 8,” director James Wan told, but the untimely death of co-star Paul Walker resulted in a hiatus, at the very least.
In case you missed the previous film, the crew fought a British guy (Luke Evans), and now his big brother, “The Transporter” (Jason Statham) is out for revenge. After “The Transporter” hospitalizes The Rock, Vin Diesel and  Walker track him around the world and crash their cars into mountains (Diesel’s solution to every problem in this movie is to ram his car at 100 mph). Eventually, they all end up back in Los Angeles and get attacked by a different bad guy who has a military drone, a problem only The Rock can fix. Then there’s a showdown between Vin Diesel and The Transporter. Basically, things in this movie only happen as an excuse for stunts, not that I’m complaining.
My one regret with this movie, and really the franchise overall, is that it won’t fully break its own reality and go fully over the top. It skirts so close to the edge but won’t go straight into that absolute insanity. Most likely because it would alienate the audience, and I would be the only one who would actually enjoy that. Case in point: Statham’s character is just completely unstoppable. His first 30 seconds on screen show that he completely obliterated a hospital with his bare hands, like a Terminator. Why not just make him a killer cyborg? I want this series to go full-on Roger-Moore-James-Bond.
However, the stuff we get is actually pretty great if you enjoy these movies equally for the coolness of the stunts and the sheer stupidity of just about everything else. Iggy Azalea has a cameo, for God’s sake.
Lots of people are probably wondering about how the Walker stuff is handled, and it’s pretty tasteful. There are a couple scenes where the dialogue is a letdown, but you can tell that they tried and put effort into it. The scenes with his brothers as stand-ins are actually pretty hard to tell. In some instances, the character looks slightly different, but it could just be the lighting. They really do look THAT MUCH alike.
If you’re a fan of the franchise, this is probably the best entry of the bunch (although “Fast Five” is also a strong contender), but if you don’t really like these movies, I can’t say you’ll enjoy much more than a midnight showing to make fun of (although you might feel bad afterward for making fun of Paul Walker’s scenes).

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