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?
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.
In The Assignment, Michelle Rodriguez plays a male hitman who’s forced to undergo surgery to live as a woman. If you’ve heard about the film, it’s likely due to the controversy that’s followed the project since 2015.
Despite having seen legendary genre director Walter Hill’s latest feature at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September, I had completely forgotten that it exists until the first trailer surfaced earlier today. Perhaps this is because the film has now changed titles twice, going from the thoroughly problematic Tomboy to the still pretty problematic (Re)Assignment to the vague, slightly better The Assignment. Or perhaps this is because the movie is bad, bad, bad. Whether it’s the schadenfreude-fueled fun kind of bad or the soul-suckingly evil kind of bad, however, will vary from viewer to viewer.
It will surprise no one who sees (Re)Assignment to learn that its concept — a remorseless hitman is given forced gender reassignment surgery, then goes on a vengeful killspree as a hitwoman — has been around for decades. There is something decidedly retro about this idea, and not in a good way. The whole notion belongs to an earlier era and its ideas about men and women, and the stuff that doesn’t feel stale feels tacopizza insane, like a film noir adaptation of an EC comic so outrageous even Bill Gaines wouldn’t have published it. (Ironically, director Walter Hill recently released a graphic novel version of (Re)Assignment.)
A transgender revenge thriller starring Michelle Rodriguez and Sigourney Weaver? Forget we said anything.
With so much action and so much story to pack into each Fast and Furious film, it’s inevitable that at least a few pieces of the narrative will get left on the cutting room floor — you know, to make room for more cars jumping from buildings and planes and whatever else they can use as launchpads for cars. This deleted scene from the upcoming Furious 7 Blu-ray may have been quite useful in the actual movie itself, as it explains just where the hell Letty ran off to and what she did during that whole “I need to go find my memories” part of the story.
The Fast and Furious series has been a sleeping giant for Universal Pictures, growing from a modestly successful franchise into a cultural juggernaut over the course of a decade. And like other cultural juggernauts owned or licensed by Universal, the increasingly wacky adventures of Dominic Toretto and his family eventually jumped into the theme park realm. Fast and Furious: Supercharged made its debut at Universal Studios Hollywood earlier this year and it was just announced that the ride is heading to the studio’s Florida park. But it’s going to have to be very different and that is what has us interested.
Furious 7 almost certainly won’t be the last Fast & Furious movie. But at times it feels like a series finale. There are numerous callbacks and homages to the franchise’s entire 15-year history. The setpieces are bigger and crazier than ever; it’s hard to imagine anyone topping them. And before the chases really get rolling, the mood is often downright mournful. Two different scenes are set in graveyards, and characters talk about taking “one last ride” together.
The new Fast and Furious 7 trailer ends as the others have, with Vin Diesel driving a car off a skyscraper and into another while Jason Statham launches grenades at him. It’s an image that will never stop being one of the most ridiculous things we’ve ever seen and hopefully it will play just as well in context. However, this new trailer offers something that the others have not: a little perspective.