Why You Should Rethink The Fast & Furious Franchise

By Katey Rich and Sean O'Connell 2013-02-04 08:44:09discussion comments
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SEAN: I'm willing to believe that the people who are bitching about this new one didn't bother to see Fast Five. And after the third and fourth films, I can't say that I blame them. Case in point: Critics could write until they are blue in the face that Breaking Dawn: Part Two reinvented cinema. (It didn't, but bare with me here.) Non-fans still aren't likely to check it out, because if they watched the first few movies, they'd been burned, and they weren't willing to try it again.

If anything, I'd try to convince people to give Fast Five a spin if they haven't yet. Yes, it LOOKS like more of the same. But for various reasons -- from the plotting to the casting to the insane stunts -- it simply works better than any other film in the series ... and if they're able to build on that success, then the sixth could be a breakout hit of the summer blockbuster season.

KATEY: Absolutely. Especially right after the release of Bullet to the Head, which promised all this brawny action and was just totally boring, I can see why people are skeptical. But I think it goes back to what I said about Fast Five being a live-action Looney Tunes cartoon. It's willing to go there with the action, the absurdity and the surprisingly sharp humor in this way that pretty much nothing else is. Most franchises try to play it safe as they get older, but these movies seem to be doing the opposite.

At a time when so many blockbusters require piecing together all the comic book backstories and figuring out which character is showing up in the post-credits scene, I love that Fast & Furious 6 promises a standalone story and a ton of action that's not about superpowers, just the rules of physics and how to break them.

SEAN: Exactly. Plus, I think it's fair to point out that the longer director Justin Lin lives in this universe, the more he's figuring out how to maneuver around fast-moving car-based action clips and stunts. He has improved drastically as a director ... specifically, a Fast and the Furious director. There's a LOT to be said for continuity, and I think the improvement of the stunts from film to film prove that.

KATEY: Honestly, everything has improved. And if people can't trust the word of people like us, who had no interest in the first four films, who else should they trust?

SEAN: They should trust the eyeball test, which Fast Six passed last night. In terms of action star power, that Super Bowl clip had it last night. In terms of original stunts few have ever seen before, that Super Bowl clip had it last night. And the reveal of Michelle Rodriguez at the very end feeds into what I believe the Fast movies have become over the years. You say Looney Tunes cartoons, and that's accurate. But they also have been a long-running daytime soap opera, with recurring characters coming back from the dead, and melodramatic subplots that barely hold our interest in between the next car race and explosion. Fast Six passed the eyeball test with its trailer last night. Couple that clip with the overwhelmingly positive buzz Fast Five generated, and you are only cheating yourself if you don't hop on this speeding bandwagon and enjoy the ride!
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