The Fate of the Furious (2017)

There is an undeniable love for The Fast and the Furious franchise over here. My husband and I are huge fans. We own all the movies and have seen most of them in theatres. No doubt, we got our tickets and went to go check this one out.

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

fate of the furious

Director: F. Gary Gray

Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Charlize Theron

When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before. – IMDB

Bigger, badder and a whole new meaning of family comes together in the eighth instalment of The Fate of the Furious. And we can’t and shouldn’t expect anything less. There is no doubt at this point that as any franchise running this long, the die-hard fans will eat this up and love every minute of it. For newcomers, this might not be the one to start with. Perhaps one of the biggest flaws of long franchises is that it is hard to be self-contained. The Fate of the Furious is also prone to bring back characters and build on past events and storylines. The best way to describe sitting down to watch a Fast and the Furious movie, particularly the later instalments starts from the fourth till this most recent one, is a gathering with old friends or even a family reunion. If you walk in on this one, well, you might just get caught up in a lot of inside jokes and feel like you walked into someone’s life and really trying to grasp onto what happened before. However, this storyline isn’t overly complex as they usually aren’t and focuses a lot on high octane action with car chases and explosions, lots of witty and funny one liners and a team that can really bring it on with the best cars and fantastically well-plotted heists. If over the top action is what you like, this movie definitely delivers. Everything you expect of a Fast franchise movie is all here and I loved every minute of it starting from the beginning. About maybe half an hour in or probably more since this movie flew by so fast, it was obvious that I had a grin and just enjoying it so very much.

Image: Universal Pictures

The Fate of the Furious is about family. This franchise is about cars and action and crazy stuff that just gets bigger and badder but in the core, it is about the family and the team. This time, we really zero in on Dom who has some hold that has brought him to go rogue and now his team needs to go up against him. While everyone’s views are starting to falter about whether he’s really just lost it, Letty won’t let up. She knows that look in his eyes and that through everything he makes each choice for a reason no matter how dangerous or how crazy or how ridiculous. There’s something more and she’s out to find it. And everyone knows that when Dom’s not around, they listen to Letty. Michelle Rodriguez is not a great actress, I’m going to be completely honest on that and yet this tough chick thing works for her. Same goes for a lot of the team. Ludacris is getting a bigger role and I truly love his character Tej. He delivers some really fun lines especially when he always mocks Roman, played by Tyrese Gibson. There’s a great emphasis of mocking Roman’s whiny and scaredy-cat personality and just his loud screaming in general and I love how they address it by no one greater than Luke Hobbs played by Dwayne Johnson, the addition that possibility made this series even better and his presence is so appreciated all the times. This time his feud with Jason Statham’s character, Deckard that joins the team because of the common enemy, creates some great hand to hand combat moments and some great chemistry there with one-liners, particularly one that was laugh out loud and completely memorable. Finally, the rookie of the team enters where as “Little Nobody” which is somewhat of Mr. Nobody’s (played by Kurt Russell) minion who is learning the ropes and there are some funny moments with that.

The Fate of the Furious

In terms of enemy, we have the mysterious “organization” or just smart lady, Cipher played by Charlize Theron. Cipher is pretty cool character. She has some nice outfits and seems to be really philosophical about what she does and choice theories and all that talky stuff. Its good seeing as this franchise isn’t about talking so it adds a nice layer to it even though evil Charlize Theron always seems to be very similar, but then I only have Snow White and the Huntsman as my comparison and other than the different setting, it didn’t feel all that different. We know that she can drive since she was in Mad Max and she can do the badass bit well enough (which she does alright). Don’t get me wrong. Charlize Theron was fine. She is a great actress with a lot of range and you don’t really need all that much acting chops to be in Fast because of the action and yet, I kind of hoped to see some more from her. There were some parts that she seemed to channel in the right balance of cyber security hacking genius and yet, I don’t quite know how to word what is missing. Teaming up with her is the rogue man, Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto. Dom obviously has an agenda and we soon find out why he’s joined forces with Cipher. I’m not going to spoil it for you. Dom is Dom. I love him because of who he is: a man of few words and solemn expressions and yet there’s this gentle side to him when he’s with family and yet still so very manly. Anyways, its Dom and I love his character.

The fate of the furious

How do we not talk about action, right? The last part is all about that. While others have issues with the unrealistic and over the top ridiculous action and the bigger and badder, it comes at no surprise at this point that its my cup of tea. I love it for the high octane adrenaline rush fun. This time, we get auto-drive cars down New York City and the ice fields in northern Russia or something and submarines and missiles. Its full of explosion and destruction. I love how the movie starts with the face-off for pink slip or respect. It is a great time through and through.

This review was supposed to be so objective and yet, it ended after the first paragraph, maybe. There’s a lot to love here and a lot of it has to do with the love of the team and just the franchise and its over the top action that works all the time. It helps to cheer the characters over and over again. It might not live up again to the awesomeness of Fast Five but its definitely somewhere in line with Furious 7. The Fate of the Furious, I believe, was sprouted because of Paul Walker’s desire to make this so although we all know he isn’t there anymore, the spirit of his character still lives in this one as he gets one mention and its something that I like a lot. This movie has its flaws, no doubt about it. Its not very deep and Charlize Theron leaves a lot to be desired in a villain and yet, the emphasis on family is never as important, plus there’s a few new characters that work well.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (2017)

If you have seen my Top 10 Anticipated Movies  of 2017 here, you will realize that I don’t have a lot of popular choices but at least the beginning of the year is mostly fun sequels. Does that mean they are bad? I actually embrace movies that are in the cheesy and so bad its awesome category, embrace fun and action filled movies and from what I remember of xXx. That is exactlt what I would expect from this third one especially since Vin Diesel reprises his role as Xander Cage and his on screen presence is just simply awesome. Full transparency, I have seen xXx two times. The review is HERE. However, I have not seen the sequel with Ice Cube. Whether you call it a reboot or a sequel, I’m just excited to see Vin Diesel jump back into this role. I’m going to lie if after fifteen years, Xander Cage can still be revived without any disappointments but with the cast they have, its hard to not be impressed and excited.

Let’s check it out!

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (2017)

xxx the return of xander cage

Director: DJ Caruso

Cast: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Toni Collette, Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, Kris Wu, Rory McCann, Tony Jaa, Michael Bisping, Samuel L Jackson

The third explosive chapter of the blockbuster franchise that redefined the spy thriller finds extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) coming out of self-imposed exile and on a collision course with deadly alpha warrior Xiang and his team in a race to recover a sinister and seemingly unstoppable weapon known as Pandora’s Box. – Rotten Tomatoes

For those who haven’t seen the first xXx, you honestly don’t really  need to know much about it. The Return of Xander Cage, other than Xander Cage and the one appearance of his fluffy coat that shows up and super little tidbits on Samuel L. Jackson recruiting another agent in a restaurant (when he recruited Xander Cage from a diner), there really isn’t much crossover. That in itself, is good. One thing to remember going into xXx is that you don’t go into this for a strong storyline. I will talk about the storyline and what criticisms a serious movie goer may have with it (because I am fully aware of its flaws). With all that said, I had a great time watching xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. As much as it sounds like this movie is right up my alley, I like xXx but I’m not a die hard fan. However, this one was fun and thrilling (and probably my fave of the franchise thus far). The stunts were great because Xander Cage is a daredevil who loves risky and daring stunts. It has an amazing cast which gave it so much personality and charm and of course, action. Not to mention, despite having an unpopular sequel without Vin Diesel but replaced by Ice Cube as Darius Stone, they never forget that he was also part of the franchise.

xXx The Return of Xander Cage

Right from the opening scenes, I already knew this is my sort of movie because its fun. The style of introducing its characters and fun facts was humorous to give us an idea who this person is and fills in on people who didn’t watch the two movie before that was over ten years ago. There was a lot of upbeat music that meshed with the scene especially giving it more reason when the dj of the group, Nicks (Kris Wu) joins in the xXx team. They also go through a lot of locations and its really beautiful. All this is aside from the fun dialogue we get which reflects who these characters are. Before we jump into the characters, I said I would talk about storyline and its flaws. Much like you could point out all the flaws in the last few Fast and Furious franchise, they probably also apply here. Be it a storyline that is pretty linear or plot twists that are rather predictable or even over the top things like submerging a motorcycle underwater and it still works after it resurfaces. The storyline is only a means of everything they can pull off, be it stunts or guns or encounters.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

xXx characters aren’t exactly deep, but calling them shallow makes me feel kind of bad also. However, they aren’t meant to be wildly constructed, just like its storyline. It really isn’t the point. These are agents and it wasn’t meant to have unnecessary drama (which might be one of the criticisms I remember having for one of The Expendable films, maybe the second one). We know the basics of their competency and the witty, quirky or completely eccentric personalities. Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) is the man here who has a lot of personality and he has built a great team. Donnie Yen plays Xiang, who has a fantastic entrance showing off his great martial arts skills and what starts off as a rickety role turns out to be a really fun time as we learn more about who he is. Toni Collette pulls off a stern vibe in the high leader or government somebody perhaps. Her role is a little odd at times but it is to offset or at least is there for Xander to be recruited and challenge the authority. Xander Cage’s team is the more highlighted factor here and aside from him and Donnie Yen, breathe an incredible amount of life, character and charm.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Ruby Rose plays Adele Wolff, a sharp shooter who has masters her sniper skills with a lot of calm and fun attitude. Nina Dobrev plays Becky, the tech support and pretty much the brains of the operations who is scared of pretty much everything outside and she has a massive fan girl moments with Xander that is hilarious and says really awkward and random things. Its also nice to see that there’s more to her career than The Vampire Diaries (especially because I do like TVD). We’ve already talked about the casual fun-time Nicks who is the showstopper or perhaps the person who causes the distraction but he is well-matched with Tennyson, played by Rory McCann, who is a stunt driver always looking for his next crash. They make a hilarious duo. On the other hand, Xiang’s team consists of some competent players as well although they don’t get as much of attention. The pretty lady with lots of combat skills is Serena, played by Deepika Padukone. Along with her and Xiang are Talon, played by Tony Jaa, an odd character that does weird things to say the least (which I like his fighting skills but not so much the character or maybe the limited acting) and Hawk, played by Michael Bisping, who I assumed was some sort of MMA/UFC fighter in real life and turns out he is (because I don’t follow these things so I had to look it up). The deal with having lots of characters in not a long runtime is that not everyone gets the screen time they need but it also gives the audience a good idea, if there was a sequel who might be the returning team.

Overall, you don’t go to xXx for an award-winning life-changing movie experience, you go into this movie to just have fun and be entertained and maybe shut off your brain for a little while. Have a few laughs, watch some great stunts and awesome fight sequences, listen to some cheesy one-liners and bask in the badassery that these characters and Xander Cage’s team is all about. Sure, it might seem a little Fast and the Furious franchise with the bad ass team and over the top sequences or maybe its a little The Expendables, with the whole “retired” agent coming back to action or whatever you’d like to call it just with a younger cast, but The Return of Xander Cage has its own personality. Whether the revival of this franchise works or not, this is an awesome addition to the franchise and captures the right tone and adds lots of style to it. It delivered everything I expected and more. Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Nina Dobrev, Ruby Rose was enough for me to love it so much. Everyone else meshing well with the movie just made it even better.

Have you seen xXx: The Return of Xander Cage?

Netflix A-Z: xXx (2002)

I cannot believe that Vin Diesel is back for the next xXx movie in 2017. I just can’t. To be fully transparent, I have seen this movie before and its not a new discovery but the other choice was the sequel and I figured, if I was going to do this then I might as well look at the first one again and I don’t really remember much other than Vin Diesel’s furry coat.  The second one is going to be reviewed in the next week or so. We’re nearing the end of the Netflix A-Z and I’m working hard to finish up this second round, take a little break to reassess the schedule and set the next one which might have a little twist to it.  Regardless, I love xXx and Vin Diesel and its an interesting discovery that I watched a lot of his movies around the time this one was released and that this was after The Fast and the Furious and you all know how much I love that franchise to death! 🙂

Let’s check it out!

xXx (2002)

xXx

Director: Rob Cohen

Cast: Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Marton Csokas, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Roof, Richy Muller, Werner Daehn

An extreme sports athlete, Xander Cage, is recruited by the government on a special mission.-IMDB

xXx is a action spy thriller.  Its weird to say that Vin Diesel is in a “thriller”.  Its not that I don’t love Vin Diesel because I do however he does have a style to him and a sort of movie that he sticks a lot to and those films don’t normally align with how I describe a thriller. However, xXx is a thriller because Vin Diesel plays as Xander Cage and he is sent in to spy on a mob in Czech Republic and gather some intel.  However, he does get caught up in more than he should. xXx is definitely not a movie you should nitpick mostly because if you look too closely, there are a thousand plotholes all over it but it doesn’t stop the fact that its a downright fun movie to watch.  Except you also know what to expect with something like this or maybe its just because watching it ten plus years later, we know what to expect more and it is also this reason I feel like I enjoyed this movie more now than when I first saw it when it first came out.

xXx 2002

 xXx is a super fun movie because of Xander Cage. I mean, Vin Diesel captures these sort of roles in a fantastic way. It adds a bit of humor with his expressions and one liners.  There’s a bit of bantering with Samuel L. Jackson, who is also a plus in this movie even if his role isn’t that big.  Then, there’s his absolute manliness that I love to talk about with all his extreme stunts and all the crazy stuff he plays regardless of how absurd it is.  After the whole Fast and Furious franchise, these stunts are kind of not a big deal.  However, he does still get to drive some hot cars and show off.  Still, Xander Cage reflects a lot of some outstanding qualities and just his braveness to enter and deal with any situation makes it entertaining. Most of the cast here isn’t quite known to me even after so many years and they all don’t do such a great job in their roles, maybe a slight bit of overacting, but when they are working in that same scene as Vin Diesel, it brings a different vibe, a much more enjoyable one.

xxx 2002

If you asked me what I didn’t like about xXx, I really wouldn’t be able to pinpoint it  I think even in its overacting bits and a rather apparent and predictable storyline offering nothing new to the table, its still not enough for me to say that I didn’t have fun with it.  Vin Diesel is the best part but Samuel L. Jackson also boosts up the movie a little.  Asia Argento plays as the female lead and she’s alright even if I’m not a huge fan of her acting.  Its a very generic lady role she has in this. The villain and his crew was hilarious mostly because they had such horrible acting and tried so hard to be the bad guy and their expressions just made want to laugh at them. Maybe that is a bad thing but there are some cases, it is just pure fun because maybe that is what they were aiming to do.

xxx

Overall, I’m starting to grasp at nothing now. xXx isn’t a movie to dive too deep in thinking about.  I like it because of Vin Diesel and the character Xander Cage.  Its kind of like liking Dominic Toretto in Fast and Furious franchise. Xander Cage, while being against the government, still has a lot of valuable traits.  Plus, Vin Diesel being in a spy thriller is aiming to do something different here. Maybe inject it with more action and stunts and not be so serious all the time like thrillers usually are.  I don’t think they quite hit that target.  The story was rather generic but it was still a fun time.

On an ending note, it is what makes me hesitate to see the second one because there’s not Vin Diesel.  At least there’s Scott Speedman, right? 😉

Have you seen xXx? 

Furious 7 (2015)

Finally, we are at the latest addition to the Fast and the Furious franchise! Man, this franchise has gone through its ups and downs.  Mostly ups as we entered the last few movies.  The franchise as gone into a bigger and better direction with mostly great response due to whatever reasons: characters, heists, etc.  Its in its own category now and while none of them are masterpieces, its achieved its own special place in the fans’ hearts. That definitely includes me.

Before I go further into Furious 7, let’s get a little synopsis in 🙂

Furious 7 (2015)

furious 7

Director: James Wan

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou

Taking a little break from their last team-up, Dom (Vin Diesel) is home with Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) as they make a transition from the dangerous world of heists, bullets and fast cars. All this changes when the big bad brother of Own Shaw (Luke Evans), Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) calls up Dom, telling him that Han’s (Sung Kang) dead and that he’s hunting down whoever destroyed his little brother.  Already putting Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in the hospital, Dom and his team have to deal with this threat themselves.  Much to their surprise, a mysterious Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) shows up offering them a perfect chance to revenge Dekkard Shaw with the condition that they retrieve an advanced military technology called God’s Eye and protect the developer, Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), before a terrorist acquires it.

furious 7Just a matter of postponing putting up this review a few days, there’s been a ton of other reviews up.  Exactly like Guardians of the Galaxy, there isnt much I can say that hasn’t been said before.  I contemplated doing a point form post on this but then there would be too many spoilers and I don’t want that.  Fact of the matter was that, the movie was halfway through or not even, I leaned over to my boyfriend and said that this movie was already turning into one of my faves of the franchise.  Whether that feeling stuck by the end of the movie, I’ll reveal that at the end 😉

Furious 7 was my most anticipated movie of 2015.  There are various reasons.  One is Paul Walker and how they’ll get him out of the franchise after his tragic death in late 2013.  He is a key character and with that, it makes him hard to dismiss.  We’ve grown to love Brian O’Conner.  He’s a part of the family and honestly, if you are a fan, Dom’s family has pretty much turned into our family.  Each of the character’s have a spot in our hearts. Next reason is Furious 7 marks change. Partially linked with Paul Walker but the fact that even before his death, we’ve already know that Justin Lin will be stepping down as director and handing over the job to James Wan, primarily noted for his horror movie efforts.  Now, following those two points, Furious 7 is every bit intriguing to watch because there are script changes and casting to work around the circumstances they are in and that begs the question: can they live up to the last few films fun and intensity?

furious 7

Simple answer: YES!

There is so many yes for this one. Furious 7 is as awesome as its name.  This time, its not so much about being fast as it is about being furious, as they race with a window of time to obtain the God’s Eye and Ramsey, fighting top notch fighters in the various roles form Jason Statham and Tony Jaa being in that category.  Even Rhonda Rousey appears and fights with Michelle Rodriguez.  The action sequences are as over the top as they get and yet I appreciate every single moment of them.  I guess its when I watch these movies, I feel like I’m rather different.  I like movies dripping with machoism, big guys, fighting, over the top action, sexy and sleek revving cars, high adrenaline.  I love all that stuff.  Furious 7 lives up to the franchise they’ve been building on all those levels, brings in some new characters and makes it bigger, badder, meaner and crazier than ever. More fight sequences than racing cars.  At this point, when I walk into a movie in this franchise, I suspend every disbelief I have and just enjoy everything they throw at me. Everything and anything can happen and it doesn’t have to make any sense but you know what? It doesn’t matter, because that’s exactly what I’m looking for.  And probably what you should be too 😉

furious 7

This movie also experienced something for once in its franchise. Its is actually quite surprising.  Can you guess what it is? The plot was never something to call home about. Its usually extremely simple with one very huge end goal.  I never complain about it.  For the first time, Furious 7’s plot actually feels a little convoluted. There’s a whole lot of little things going on. A lot of which gets lost in the bigger plots that kind of try to overpower each other.  This time, it brings in family and revenge as a huge theme.  Its minorly a heist for the God’s Eye but more a rescue mission.  As much as Justin Lin loved to bring in lots of asses and skimpy girls, James Wan puts it right in your face even more.  I don’t care much for that (since I’m very much into guys) but I’m sure its more for the male audience that should dominate the viewing audience here.  I sidetracked there. The plot includes Letty’s amnesia and Brian’s embrace of quiet family life as side plots.  The bigger ones was supposed to be Deckard Shaw because that is how the previous movie ended and should be the focus. By the end, I almost forgot about it as they trashed Los Angeles with the terrorist dude wrecking havoc. I literally forgot about the fight between Shaw and Dom, and kind of laughed at myself at that moment. But, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.

***Next paragraph enters a little spoiler territory**

Really, what else is there to say about this one? I’m thinking Fast Five, Furious 6 and this one is sounding very similar.  Which is why this is not so much a review as just a write-up. This may not be quite as strong as Fast 5 (or 6) but its a lot of fun and there’s drama and the meaning behind this one is so much more just because we know that Paul Walker is no longer in the picture.  Paul Walker’s death and that last scene for the tribute was done really well.  I sat through the entire film wondering and worrying that they’d kill him off  but they didn’t.  The way they did it was perfect. It was classy and heartwarming.  Brian was ready to leave the bullets behind and be dedicated to quiet family life.  Once that song started and the beach scene, it meant just so much by saying so little and my tears just started falling.  It was as much the team’s farewell as it was ours to Paul Walker and Brian O’Conner. It makes us remember also that as much as Paul Walker’s career succeeded a lot to do with this franchise, it made me think of the others movies he has been in and a few of them are underrated.

I guess the best way to end this write-up of Furious 7 is with this tribute video:

Wow..this review just got really personal and kind of heavy. Furious 7 is a fun, entertaining ride. While how the franchise would take Brian O’Conner’s character out kept running around in the back of my mind, it never stopped me from enjoying Furious 7 for exactly what it is.  Logic and reason, common sense: nothing matters here. Its family, vengeance, action and a whole lot of explosion.  Anything that happens in Furious 7 goes.  Does a car flying through buildings make sense? Sure! How about no Air Force fighter jets coming when they are trashing LA? That’s okay.  Cars flying in mid-air and parachuting down to the mountainous roads? That works! Plus, Paul Walker tribute was done perfectly well. Did Furious 7 make it to be my favorite movie in the franchise? Not really but it sure has a memorable spot in there.

Did you see Furious 7? What did you think about it? Which is your favorite movie in the franchise so far?

Fast Five (2011)

Moving right along with the Fast and the Furious franchise. Here is the Fast Five review written in 2013 in anticipation of Furious 6 movie! I fixed up a little bit of the mistakes here and there. Overall, this is one of the posts I’ve liked the most that I’ve written. Fast Five is also one of my favorite movies in the franchise. Its just pure fun and awesome! 🙂

fast five

What did you think of Fast Five?

Tranquil Dreams

I’m a huge fan for (most of) the Fast and the Furious movies! This comes when you date a guy who is crazy about anything related to cars.  Fast & Furious is just all about adrenaline and cars and whatnot.  Its nothing to be raving about sophistication but its usually a fun ride, although there are a few exceptions in the franchise that I’m not exactly a big fan of but whenever I hear of a new one coming out, it always gets me all excited! With Fast Six just around the corner, my boyfriend gave me a choice to rewatch Iron Man 1 &2 or this…and I guess I was more into this at the moment 😉

fast five posterDirector: Justin Lin

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Ludacris, Gal Gadot, Tego Calderon, Don Omar

After rescuing Dominic…

View original post 743 more words

Fast & Furious (2009)

Fast & Furious was the first one in this series that I went to go see at the theatres.  It probably also marked the time when I actually watched those previous 3 for the first time in a mini marathon to prepare for this.  I’ve always liked racing car games because of Gran Turismo so this appealed to me, its just my family was never into these sorts of movies before my boyfriend came into my life in 2008.

After the mega disappointment of the third one, excuse me when I was a little worried about how the 4th one would go.  I’m more of half cup full type of person, so I went to this with hopes that it would at least measure up to the first one. Did it meet my expectations? How about on this rewatch?

Let’s check it out! 🙂

Fast & Furious (2009)

fast & furious

Director: Justin Lin

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang, Don Omar, Tego Caldaron

After their last heist, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) leaves everyone by himself because the heat was a little too much and he worried about causing dangers to his loved ones.  Thats until, he gets a call from Mia (Jordana Brewster) that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) was murdered.  Without another thought, he comes back to find out who killed her and to avenge her death.  This is when reinstated FBI, Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) crosses his path again both learning that a drug trafficking lord, Braga is behind all this and they both try to get into their crew with their own end goals.

fast & furious

If you ever want to reboot a series, this is exactly how you do it: Make it into an adrenaline pumping, high energy action film with the original cast doing what they do best.  There’s familiarity, fun, excitement and intensity all wrapped into one fantastic film.  I mean, fantastic in terms of the Fast and the Furious franchise, of course.  The love for this franchise is in its own category and it all starts with this one as Justin Lin, much to my surprise takes the series into a whole different style but with the original cast, it brings back exactly what was needed to make this film crazy.  It was crazy ridiculous.  Just the opening scene was enough to know exactly what tone this movie was aiming for. And I like it.  I like it a whole lot!

fast & furious

I’ve said it in the previous reviews for this franchise and I say it again.  Vin Diesel is the cornerstone of what makes this franchise good. He’s just a monumental man that honestly brings in his own style.  Sure, he doesn’t have a whole lot to say and its all emoted in his face and reactions, the one-liners here and there but somehow it works for him.  This time around, Brian O’Conner’s character gets a lot more depth because he has to deal with who he wants to be and to be honest with himself.  There is no doubt that Dom is a character that we love and respect. I have to admit, this was the movie where I really started loving the character of Brian O’Conner because he seems perfectly happy even if it meant breaking out of the good guy path because maybe he was just a pretending to be the good guy (paraphrasing a line in the movie said by Jordana Brewster’s Mia).

fast & furious

Fast & Furious also brings in a new lady here, Gisele (who we see in later movies in the franchise).  She’s not a bad character.  Although she does ride with Braga’s crew.  Still, she adds a little balance to the spectrum because she isn’t a bad character and there’s space for her to develop.  Its pretty fun because she really is attracted to Dom and it adds a little chemistry there.  I mean, Fast and Furious franchise probably has the best bromance chemistry ever but love isn’t all that abundant, not that its a fault.  It works to keep the situation simple and just enjoy the crazy action sequences.

Overall, Fast & Furious is our first step into suspending our disbelief in this franchise.  Things didn’t always make sense in the last three but this one is where you know that its going over the top and just high adrenaline fun. Turn your brain off and enjoy the story.  It adds a little drama with Letty being gone and the reuniting of Mia and Dom then Mia and Brian and of course, the bromance between Brian and Dom.  There’s flashy cars and great races.  Its a little vengeful and some new characters.  The villain, Braga is alright because he’s pretty much a mystery throughout the whole flick.  There’s a lot that I love about this one and it has to do with how it made me start falling in love with this franchise and Paul Walker’s Brian.  Not my fave but definitely somewhere on the top.

Have you seen Fast & Furious? What do you think about it? How would you rank it in the franchise?

Remember to check out the previous reviews if you haven’t and drop by again for Fast Five coming really soon (probably later today)!

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

And we’re here moving the Fast and the Furious series to Japan with no one of consequence from before.  Nothing but cars and they don’t even do drag race, they just drift.

Before we start, for me to rewatch this one is ONLY because Furious 6 decided that it was going to loop by to make this one relevant in Furious 7.  This one was my most despised from this entire series and if you think otherwise, I’ll just look at you and blink in confusion but that’s okay.  I give second chances, and here is Tokyo Drift’s second chance to impress me, now that its become relevant. Kind of.

Let’s check it out! *hesitates before pressing play*

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

fast and the furious tokyo drift

Director: Justin Lin

Cast: Lucas Black, Nathalie Kelley, Sung Kang, Brian Tee, Shad Moss

Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) is a rebellious kid.  His actions and desire to mostly street race in a destructive way has caused him to be in a lot of trouble and because of all this, him and his mom has had to move from city to city so that he can actually go to school. When his lastest illegal street race against his school rival destroys a housing project along as totalling his car, his mom sends him off to Japan with his father who is in the military to avoid jail time. Although his father sets rules for him to follow and forbids him to ever touch a car, he ends up messing with the nephew of the mafia and his girl.  To his surprise, Tokyo racing is all about drifting and he knows nothing about that.  When he totals Han’s car, Han takes him in to not only recover his debt to pay off the car he destroyed but also, to teach him a thing or two about how things work in Tokyo.

What the hell did I just write? Before we do this, let me tell you, watching this movie took a whole lot of junk food and writing those previous two Fast and Furious posts to get through it. Because it just wasted my time and I ended up hating it even more.  I’m keeping this short with a few points…

THE GOOD #1 : HAN

Tokyo Drift

Han is one of my favorite characters in the Fast and Furious franchise.  I didn’t feel relevant because in the next one, he shows up again, making it seem like they wanted to forget the existence of Tokyo Drift.  I wonder if Justin Lin intended for this the whole time.

THE BAD #1: SEAN

There is no part of me that likes this character. For one, that accent is atrocious and he kind of loses it in parts (at least it seems like it). And then he’s not even good looking enough for all these hot chicks to go for.  Is it because he totals car that makes him attractive?  Bad boys are great because they have charm or something, this guy has nothing.  Nothing at all. I hate his face, his character, his voice….and I had to watch him throughout this entire thing. His main fault: not learning from his mistakes. Stop falling for the wrong girls! Just STOP!

THE GOOD #2: THE CARS

tokyo drift

Being set in Japan, the cars were all really great.  They just looked awesome.  I think my boyfriend said that some things didn’t make a lot of sense during the racing but the cars were quite good? I could be wrong but the racing sequences were alright.

THE BAD #2: D.K.

According to me, Tokyo Drift has no villains.  This DK character was a villain? Why? Because he was trying to keep a girl that his family took care of after her mom passed away? Or because his uncle was the mafia? He is a nobody.  Not intimidating.  His crew wasn’t either.  You know what he was? He was annoying…

THE GOOD #3: VIN DIESEL CAMEO

tokyo drift

This was the highlight of this movie.  It was knowing that Vin Diesel was coming back to the franchise.  Vin Diesel is the Fast and the Furious franchise and he makes everything awesome even if he shows up for like 10 seconds. At least now we know why he showed his face, right? (or you do if you saw Furious 7)

THE BAD #3: NEELA

Tokyo Drift

Neela & DK

Neela and DK are at similar levels of emptiness for me. I wonder what these two boys see in her. I mean, she’s the reason ALL OF THIS *waving the movie DVD case around* happened.  If she didn’t go and chat up Sean knowing her own boyfriend’s possessiveness, the rival wouldn’t have started. Plus, she was nothing special.  Because she can drift cars? Or she has amazing personality? Not really.  The story didn’t develop her character (or any other ones much). Look, I can be really forgiving of random people being attracted to each other and love stories.  I enjoy Nicholas Sparks movies, okay? I can believe almost anything, as cliche as they get.  This one…I just don’t think she’s all that great.

Why did I never pick this for Shitfest, right? The story was pretty much nothing.  The characters weren’t developed and I really dread watching this again.  I guess its because I didn’t want to put Sung Kang (aka Han) into the crap pile.  He deserves more than that.  Plus, Vin Diesel’s cameo makes up for a lot of unhappy feelings.

Anyways, point is: Tokyo Drift is my least favorite in the Fast and Furious franchise.  Even though, its made relevant now because of Furious 6 and 7, its still not exactly relevant.  I’d forego it if I were to watch this series. I’m done with this one. I have nothing else to say.

Have you seen Tokyo Drift? Did you like it? If you did, please tell me why.