Binge watch The Fast and the Furious franchise and take a shot every time someone mentions “family.”

I haven’t been keeping up with the “Fast and the Furious” franchise.  The last movie I actually watched all the way through was the first one back in 2001. I saw a few moments of 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift but had no real interest in continuing to watch the series.  It seemed to be a generic popcorn franchise that studios continued to pop out for easy money.

Around the time the fifth one came out, I started hearing people say that the films were actually good.  Still, I didn’t pay them any attention, even when Dwayne Johnson joined the franchise and they stopped being about street racing and started saving the world in elaborate ways involving cars.  Eventually, my buddy Mason from ReelDudeReviews asked me to join him opening night and since I had no other plans, we went and watched it.

One thing I appreciated from the movie was it’s tongue in cheek nature.  Nothing ever seems to be done with any real seriousness.  Being chased by police?  Send a wrecking ball through them.  No reason how or why that happens, it just does.  It’s one of those movies where cool things happen with a the slightest of reasons given as to why they happen.  Normally this would be a criticism, but for this film, I have a hard time criticizing it for that.  It’s a film that knows exactly why people came to watch it.  They didn’t come for the logic, they came for cool action and set pieces.

The only real criticism I can even think of is that the film has about seven films worth of backstory that go right over my head.  I had to guess that Paul Walker’s character’s name in the movie was Brian (again, I had only seen him in the film back in 2001) when they mention him in passing.  I didn’t know who was who or how they related to each other.  I didn’t know when Kurt Russel joined the franchise or why.  I was really surprised with Nathalie Emmanuel showed up in the film as a hacker, having only seen her in Game of Thrones.

The film is so over the top at times that it almost takes away from the impact of the more serious scenes.  The premise is that Vin Diesel’s character is being forced to work for Charlize Theron thus betraying his family (shot).  It’s a emotional situation that lends itself to good drama but at the same time, it has a hard time reconciling itself with how ridiculous the action scenes become.

Again, I can’t really fault the movie too harshly.  It’s a movie that did exactly what it set out to do.  It’s an action movie that entertains with the bare minimum of effort given to plot, character development and scripting and the maximum of effort given to intense action sequences.  All of this is held together with a cast that is surprisingly strong together even when I don’t have the experiences that I assume most people had watching all the movies previously.

Family (shot).

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