While fans have mostly been enthusiastic about the expanded role of Jason Statham in The Fate of the Furious, there is one thing that has stuck in their collective craw. While Statham’s character has the movie’s best moments, he never stops to address the elephant in the room: Shaw did kill Sung Kang’s Han, perhaps the most beloved character in the franchise and (we assumed) an unforgivable offense for a movie built on family. Will the filmmakers address this in a future installment of the Fast and the Furious films? Or, perhaps more intriguing, could Sung Kang find his way back into the franchise?
Fast and Furious
It may not have made a lick of sense within the emotional continuity of the series, but it’s hard to argue that the comedic highlight of The Fate of the Furious was Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s snappy banter. Johnson’s Hobbs winds up in jail right across the hall from his old arch-nemesis Deckard Shaw, played by Statham, and their chemistry is immediate and hilarious. Their playful back-and-forth throughout F8 kept things light and fun even as Dominic Toretto sold out his beloved family to work for Charlize Theron’s evil hacker Cipher.
In a few days it will finally arrive: Furious 7, the latest and biggest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. And while the death of series star Paul Walker does put a damper on some of the excitement, this is still a great time to celebrate one of Hollywood’s most reliable and inventive franchises. In 15 years, Fast & Furious has evolved from a simple B-movie about a couple of street racers to an international crime epic spanning multiple continents and dozens of characters.
You surely know that Paul Walker tragically passed away in 2013. But did you know that in order to finish Furious 7 while giving his character, Brian O’Conner, a fitting sendoff, the creators of Furious 7 had to use a combination of digital effects and body doubles, which included Walker’s brothers, Caleb and Cody? That’s just one of the fast facts featured in the latest episode of You Think You Know Movies!
In The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment in the car-jacking, street racing franchise, Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto does the worst thing a man of his values can do: He turns his back on family. That six letter, three syllable mantra is the sentimental thread that holds the Fast and Furious crew together, and what adds heart to an action series suffused with cars and criminals. One would assume there must be good reason to plot an entire film around something so antithetical to the spirit of the series. But that reveal winds up being the silliest and most left-field twist since the time the movies explained Letty’s (Michelle Rodriguez) return with amnesia.
Fambly. Chances are you just read that word in the gravel-voiced growl of babyfaced colossus Vin Diesel, the star of the Fast and Furious franchise that turned those two syllables into a catchphrase, and then into a way of life. In no small way, Diesel is the series, and not just because his name makes him sound like he’s already a character in one of these movies. As noble-hearted car jacker Dom Toretto, he helped shape the tone, themes, and overall outlook of all films fast and furious. But he was this close to missing it all, and going through life primarily identified as “the guy in the xXx movies I always tell my wife I was trying to Google.”
For years, one of the internet’s dirty little secrets has been that people really enjoy The Fate of the Furious: Tokyo Drift. A healthy flop at the time of its release — the film’s $60 million gross is half that of 2 Fast 2 Furious, the second-lowest grossing movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise — Tokyo Drift has climbed steadily back into fans’ favor due to the lasting appeal of Sung Kang’s Han Lue and a bit of chronological trickery in a later film that boosted this one’s reputation. It’s amazing how much better a film gets when you stop being mad at it for failing to bring back any of the main characters.
In the beginning, there were illegal street races and high speed heists, and Vin Diesel looked upon that which had created and saw that it was good. But as the franchise continued, the stakes became a little more… let’s say a little more insane. Cars parachuted out of the sky. Characters leapt their vehicles between skyscrapers. Tanks exchanged missiles with a submarine. As each movie has progressively upped the wow-factor of the franchise, there seems to be only one natural outcome for the Fast and the Furious family: they’re definitely going to head into space.
If you, like most of us, live in a capitalist society and are sometimes distracted from an action movie by the thought of how much it must have cost to clean up after that car chase or that oil drum explosion, you’re not alone. A couple folks took it upon themselves to estimate exactly how much damage the Fast & Furious Family has accrued over the last seven movies, and the final tally might make you a little squeamish.
With the eighth on the way and two more planned sequels after that, it seems like the Fast & Furious franchise will never end. And you know what, if Vin Diesel, The Rock, and Jason Statham want to keep making movies where the good guys win by driving quickly and angrily, more power to them! Diesel himself revealed during CinemaCon on Wednesday, after an emotional tribute to the late Paul Walker, that The Fate of the Furious is the first in a new trilogy of films.