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The Fast and the Furious has never been what you might call, serious. Even before the movies were about outrunning submarines and draging bank safes behind muscle cars, the movies were about street racers who were also stealing DVD players off trucks. These movies have always been a little silly. Hell, since the franchise really embraced its over the top nature its found even more success, with the most recent films clearing the billion dollar mark at the global box office, but I'm afraid that with the ninth entry n the series, The Fast and the Furious may have finally gone too far. The teaser trailer released earlier this week revealed something that simply cannot stand.
No, it's not that "quarter mile a time" Dominic Toretto has settled down and become...a dad. It's the title. Something has got to be done about the titles in this franchise.
The name of the ninth installment in the storied Fast and Furious series is...F9. No, that's not short for something. It's not Fast 9. It's not Furious 9. It's not Fast & Furious 9. It's not even The Fnine of the Furious. It's really just F9. Like that button your keyboard that you never use. I'm not sure why i expected anything less, of all the heists this franchise has pulled off, nothing has been quite as brazen as the way it titles its films.
The Fast and the Furious
The first film in the series is literally the only one that's title isn't at least a little bit ridiculous. It's over the top and bombastic, to be sure, but that's part of the point. The movie is about street racers being both fast, and also furious, because they're macho dudes so they're angry all the time.. At least it tells you what the movie is about. It's really the only time that the title doesn't try to be too cute by half. The only problem with it is that because the all the movies that followed it went completely bonkers with naming, it's less clear what you're even getting. My digital copy of the film on Movies Anywhere actually labels it The Fast and the Furious: The Original because it has to. Otherwise, new viewers won't know which movie is the first one. You certainly can't tell from the titles.
2 Fast 2 Furious
2 Fast 2 Furious has to be the result of a screenwriter throwing in a funny working title at the beginning of the writing process, with every intention of replacing it once the script is complete. Unfortunately, it seems everybody just got busy and never went back to replace the title page and then the marketing department spent a lot of money and it was all too late. Or should I say 2 late. It's the sequel, which means that it needs to be more fast and more furious than the original, but it's also part two (groan). It's far from the only series to throw the number two in place of another form of the word. Has it ever worked? Somebody please tell Coming 2 America this while there's still time.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift has become the punchline of the franchise from a title perspective. It's very much an outlier, without either of the main characters from the first two movies. Tokyo Drift has become a joke, a phrase you throw on the end of any newly proposed movie sequel if somebody else beat you to using Electric Boogaloo. But you know what, it's actually the second least ridiculous title in the franchise. It's a movie that takes place in Japan and it focuses on drift racing. At least it tells you what it is, and without trying to be cute about it.
Fast & Furious
Part four is when things really start to go off the rails. The official title of this movie is really Fast & Furious. It's the same title as the first movie, just without the definite articles. This was probably done because it was the first movie since the first one to bring back all of the original cast members, so they wanted to remind people of that film, but all it really does is confuse things. Is this the first one, or is the other one with the nearly identical title the first one? The franchise maybe could have gotten away with using this title for the last installment, as a sort of book end, but here, it's just nothing.
For a lot of fans, Fast 5 is where this franchise really got traction (racing joke). Whether it was simply the adding of Dwayne Johnson to the cast, or the general feeling that the series had decided to stop pretending it wasn't basically a live-action cartoon, who knows? The title certainly helped. The franchise has been around for a while now. We all know what is is, so we can shorthand it, Fast 5. It's even got alliteration. If future films just followed the lead of this one, we'd be fine.
Narrator: They did not.
Fast & Furious 6
I don't even know what to call the sixth movie in the series because the movie itself doesn't even know what it's called. In the lead up to the release of the film all the material was calling it Fast & Furious 6. That's the title we saw in trailers and on posters. It seemed so simple, the sixth movie is actually just called Fast & Furious 6? What's the catch? The catch is that when you sat down to actually watch the movie, the title that flashed on screen called the movie Furious 6. I'm sure there were discussions about what to call it, and Furious 6 following Fast 5, isn't a terrible idea, but apparently the marketing team and the graphics company building the opening titles got different memos.
Maybe because part six hadn't officially been called Furious 6, it was decided that part seven could go ahead and use that name. Certainly, calling two movies in a row anything vaguely similar is simply not an option in this franchise. The one thing this did seem to do was maybe give the impression that odd numbered films in this series would have vaguely sane titles. So much for that idea.
The Fate of the Furious
You see, it's good because the word Fate and the marketing hashtag F8 sound the same, and this is the eighth movie in the franchise (sob!) I'm honestly shocked they didn't actually title the film The F8 of the Furious. I have to believe somebody wanted that title and this was the fallback. I mean, it wasn't ever planned to be the last movie in the series, so this wasn't going to be anybody's fate.
And that brings us here. Apparently the F8 hashtag thing worked so well, they just decided to cut out the middleman and literally name the new movie F9. I'm not even sure how to pronounce this. Are we really supposed to say F-9, or is in like Fate and we're calling it Fnine? Did somebody decide that The Fate of the Furious simply had two many characters, so we're over correcting? Maybe there's a subtitle that we'll learn when we see the trailer that will make this seem less insane.
And there's going to be at least one more of these things. What in the world do you call the tenth Fast & Furious movie when this is what you've done with the previous nine? There is literally no telling what we're in for.