Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Furious return to the theater

I saw the first Fast and the Furious movie in the theater in 2001.

I saw the eighth Fast and the Furious movie in the theater in 2017.

And none in the theater in between – despite seeing all the movies.

It’s weird to have been committed enough to a series to see all eight movies that comprise it, yet only two of them in the theater. And to have been living during the entire duration of the series, I should say. You can’t see movies in the theater that came out before you were born, unless they’re classics and make a return to the big screen.

But I guess the answer is that I’m not really that committed to these movies – yet have seen all of them anyway.

For this I can credit the choice two years ago to marathon the ones I hadn’t seen, allowing me to see and rank Furious 7 – which I think I assumed would be the last in the series – in time for my 2015 ranking deadline. I'd learned that the movies were interestingly intertwined enough that I shouldn't just skip ahead to the seventh. That meant watching The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious, Fast Five, The Fast and the Furious 6, and Furious 7 all in the space of about six months. Leaving them even more of a blur in terms of what happens in which movie than they already would be.

It was reasonable to assume that the death of Paul Walker would result in them closing the series down, as he was in all but one of the movies (the outlier Tokyo Drift) and he was one of the central pillars of the “family” this series is always going on about. But these movies keep making gobs of cash, and none of the other cast members seemed to think they were betraying Walker’s memory by making more movies, so more movies they’ve made – and will continue to make, it would seem.

And darn it if it this isn’t one of my favorite in the whole series.

You can read my full review here, but short of that I will just tell you that this is a super fun movie that is actually better made than most of its predecessors as well. Add in a little credibility from two Oscar-winning actresses – Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron – and you’ve got a series that is only gaining validity as it gets into a truly absurd number of sequels.

But I’m basically repeating my review at this point. What I couldn’t ponder in the review is whether seeing this movie in the theater – at the gala Melbourne permiere, no less – made me like it a significant amount more than I otherwise would have.

“Gala” in this case means that there was a fancy racing car parked outside the cinema and a number of “babes” (no other word to describe them) walking around for photo opportunities in tight-fitting white outfits that tapered off into miniskirts. Oh, and the fact that we got free popcorn and soda. There were also door prizes if you had a special envelope taped underneath your seat, but I did not. I even felt up the seat next to me with no luck.

And though I am sometimes susceptible to a movie wining and dining me, so to speak, I don’t think that played a significant role in my enjoyment of The Fast and the Furious 8. (And by the way, only once I was sitting in my seat did I get the play on words between “Fate” and “F8” – needless to say, I had not previously seen the above poster.) It’s just a fun, silly movie. It has moments when it takes itself pretty seriously, but it has more moments when it’s ludicrous. And not only because it has Ludacris in it.

Big screen? May have helped.

Fun movie? Helped more.

I'll probably see the next one in the cinema too. 

No comments: