I appreciate it when a movie requires you to check your brain at the door, so imagine how much I might like a movie that requires you to check two brains at the door.
Full disclosure: this was the first of the Fast and Furious movies I’ve seen. I thought they wouldn’t be my cup of tea. Meh. I was right.
Having never seen the other movies, I wasn’t sure whether this group of heroes were supposed to be super-heroes or normal people. After all, they surely do things that aren’t possible, like survive falling several stories from buildings or taking brutal physical damage in street fights. I was really impressed that no rocket could harm them, and bullet hits seem reserved only for extras.
It’s hard to tell whether any of them can act, especially when given single lines that have none of that tongue-in-cheek guile that Arnold Schwarzenegger used to deliver so well. Specifically, Vin Diesel’s stilted monotone confused me, because if he just slightly winked after each line, it would’ve been a comedic command performance for the ages. Sadly, the deceased Paul Walker is the only one who seems to have had any acting chops, and Kurt Russell gets to ham it up with glee.
I never learned how to drive a manual transmission, so watching a lot of clutch releasing and hard shifting was not as erotic for me as it was for the rest of the audience. The whole affair is certainly heteronormative, what with all the hot women scantily clad and the dudes competing for their attention. The movie fulfills all the requisite stereotypes, cliches, tropes, patterns, and formulas. The studio’s algorithm knows how to make a movie.
Most problematic is not that the heroes could never survive or pull off any of their actions, but that their plans make no sense, and no one would act the way they do. This seems like a film wanting to make a new superhero franchise, yet the superheroes simply drive awesome cars really, really well. At 137 minutes, it runs about 37 minutes too long, and I almost left at the two-hour mark out of sheer boredom.
But I did stay to watch the “tribute” to Paul Walker, and although I believe a woman next to me cried a little, I had to stifle laughter at the horrible delivery of Vin Diesel, whose sadness of losing a brother belied the entire film’s heterosexual vibe.
It’s apparently okay to admit you love your brother, but only after he’s dead.