The Fast and the Furious films are the ultimate guilty pleasure for any moviegoer that doesn't have to bring a tissue to their theater. They aren't realistic and they aren't ever that good, but they're a dependably fun watch with tons of action, great cars, and terrible cars that are great within the context of the ever-expanding universe of the film.
The trailer for the sixth installment of the films, Fast And Furious 6, aired last night during the Super Bowl. Based on the anticipation for and reaction to the ad, you'd think every film in the franchise has won at least three Oscars.
I don't remember anyone ever being this excited for a Fast and Furious film. So why are they excited about this one? Because the franchise has now morphed into The Expendables… with cars.
I can guarantee you right now that Fast and Furious 6 will not be what is known as a "great movie" or even a "good movie." The acting will be pretty bad. The stunts will be totally unbelievable. The characters will survive crashes that should break them in half. Cars will have 37-speed manual transmissions and carry enough nitrous to blow a 50 foot crater in the ground.
It's going to be normal Fast and Furious fare. So why is everyone excited? One good reason is guaranteed action and destruction. The trailer for this movie has more action in a minute than I've experienced in my sheltered 25 years on this planet.
Here is what I gleaned from the trailer: There are tanks. There are Transformer's-esque truck things that destroy everything in their path. There's a Dodge Charger Daytona. There's a Ford Escort Mk. I. There's a man trying to jump onto a flying Escort Mk. I. There's a crushed Mustang. Michelle Rodriguez's character isn't dead anymore. There's a Ferrari FXX. There's possible nudity. There's a Subaru on two wheels. There's a Jensen Interceptor.
The second reason is the assembling of an all-star cast.
Fast and Furious 6 brings together pretty much every single actor that was in one of the past fast and/or furious films. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne "I still feel a need for people to also call me 'The Rock'" Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Chris "I don't really rap anymore but 'Ludacris' is a more recognizable name than my own" Bridges, and others are all spread out across the globe.
It's actually a diverse cast that isn't at all forced. As film critic Wesley Morris in his Pulitzer Prize-winning critique of the film:
The "Fast and Furious" movies, by contrast, are free of this angst. They're basically a prolonged party for a ring of street-racing urban car thieves. The leader of the ring, Dom, is a big, racially ambiguous mechanic played by Vin Diesel. The hero of the movie's first installment, in 2001, was Brian O'Conner, a blue-eyed, blond LAPD detective played by Paul Walker. As a classic white-cop hero, with a surfer-boy vibe, he was presumably meant to be the audience's point of entry into the movie's multiracial car-racing world.
That world, however, was the star. It was a place the movies had never precisely seen before: gangs of young people of different races unified by automotive exhilaration. There were blacks, Asians of all kinds, Mexicans, Michelle Rodriguez, and whatever Vin Diesel and Jordana Brewster are. Friction exists among the factions, but it's just the organic sort you expect from a bunch of marginal kids engaged in a variety of illegal hobbies. It's funny and almost touching how well Detective O'Conner fits in with these gearheads and speed freaks. He ends up feeling so at home among them that he helps his new blood brother, Dom, evade arrest.
Since then, the series has spiraled even further into a world that's post-racial, post-American, post-almost every category you can think of, including coherent.
So basically, you're bringing together all the best car action stars and all of their cars in one post-racial film. It's a formula that made both Expendables films big hits. And since the Fast and Furious films have grossed $1.5 billion total worldwide, this formula has the potential to bring that gross to more than $2 billion.
In order to stop some sort of mercenary crime syndicate, The Rock — who works for the government — has to bring together the best drivers he can find to take them down in an all out car-based street war. Naturally, the drivers he chooses are all criminals on the lam. NATURALLY!
If they succeed, they get pardoned for their $100 million heist in Fast 5 and get to go home all happy and smiley to their families. If they fail, well, they probably die.
And that's why we watch the Fast and Furious movies. So what if the acting is sub par? Who cares if the plot is 100 percent implausible? This movie is a wet dream for so many different groups of people it's ridiculous.
Car nuts will have some gorgeous metal to go ga ga over. Action fans get The Rock and Vin Diesel kicking ass and taking names. Girls get to stare at Tyrese Gibson and Paul Walker. Guys get to stare at Jordana Brewster. There will surely be some jokes.
But most of all, it's pretty much a guarantee that Fast 6 will be fun to watch. Just don't treat it like a cinematic masterpiece to rival Gone With The Wind and it might be the most fun you'll have at a movie theater this year.
Photo Credits: Fast And Furious Facebook