I’ve always been surprised by the amount of people (including critics) that like the Fast and Furious movies. Unless you’re a teenager that likes seeing cars drive off buildings and things, explosions, and tough guys reciting dumb lines…there’s really not much. This spin-off is the same way, but it was surprising just how bad it was.
Deadpool 2 director David Leitch (who also co-created the John Wick series) did a great job with Ryan Reynolds combining gallows humor in Deadpool 2. Yet he does such a bad job here that, even the few cameos with Reynolds don’t work. Now, there is a cameo from someone else that is funny (I won’t spoil who it is), and the cameo you see in the trailers with Helen Mirren, are idiotic. She’s in prison, wearing makeup and jewelry while her son visits. Yet that’s the least unrealistic of the unrealistic things in this movie. The biggest would be Dwayne Johnson (who is either Shaw or Hobbs, not sure which), in the back of a truck, lassoing a helicopter they need to bring down. He gets it around that bottom part of the helicopter (you know that part, the one Alan Arkin described in the brilliant So I Married an Axe Murderer). And when the truck is no match for the copter, other cars form a line to keep it on terra firma. At some point the chain breaks and the Rock holds the chain with his hand, helping to bring the bird down. And to think, I never thought anything would get more ridiculous than when the shark jumped out of the water and brought a helicopter down in Jaws 3.
A few of the fights and gun battles are interesting, but it wears out its welcome 15 minutes in (and the movie is 2 hours and 15 minutes long).
For a Fast and Furious film, it lacked car chases. There was one that was almost interesting, involving Idris Elba (as Brixton) on a motorcycle cooler than Batman’s. The problem is, he’s a terminator type character that can’t be killed, so…who cares if his bike goes through a double-decker bus. We know he’s going to be alright, and back on the hunt, a few scenes later, after a little bit of banter. The movie gave us action, then banter, which usually involved the two guys ribbing each other over who has the smaller penis. It’s the first movie I’ve ever seen where two guys continue to insult each other, and not one insult was remotely funny.
The fact that Brixton can’t be killed, makes you merely wonder how he’s not breaking the rib cage or skulls of Hobbs or Shaw when he’s constantly throwing them into cars or walls, or smashing them with something huge in his hands. Sometimes those types of characters work on screen. The Terminator movies, for example (they do reference that here). There was even a cheesy Chuck Norris movie called Silent Rage (Ron Silver, Stephen Furst) where the bad guy couldn’t be killed that kind of worked (although I was 13 when I watched it on HBO, but my stepdad and I liked it).
Yet it’s not just Brixton that can’t be killed. Apparent the Rock can’t be hurt, either. When Brixton kidnaps a woman that has a virus that could kill the human race, they’re scaling down a skyscraper. He jumps out the window and lands on one bad guy. After he’s taken care of, he drops another few floors to land on another one, before they both hit the ground. Ouch.
And let’s talk about that woman (Vanessa Kirby of The Crown) that has the deadly virus (it’s inside her palm). She’s the sister of Statham’s character (despite their 20 year age difference), and of course, the Rock is making moves on her (with lines to the brother like, “She’s going to want to climb this mountain.”). They have 12 hours to get this virus out of her. So they take a plane from London to Russia, and then to Samoa. And during that time, they don’t seem too pressed for time. They’re still joking around with each other, comparing penis size, etc.
Oh, the number of times the dialogue in this made me roll my eyes. One time during an interrogation, Rock compares it to a “tango.” During a torture scene in which the guys are being shocked to death, they still have time to make snappy retorts. And since the movie starts with split screens showing how each of these characters start their day, we see a Nietzsche book on Rock’s bookstand. Of course, he’ll later quote Friedrich Nietzsche. And when we think he’s quoting Nietzsche again, we’ll find out it’s really Bruce Lee (as punches and kicks follow). Comedy gold, folks!
There were also lots of repetitive scenes. For example, three different times, characters (to show how bad-ass they were), walked into a room/party/restaurant, grabbed drinks in both hands, downed them while walking, before chucking the glasses over their shoulders.
All of the critics are saying how utterly ridiculous this is, but they still enjoyed it, or laughed along with it. Makes no sense to me. Of all the jokes they threw out, I only laughed one time. It’s when Rock was telling Statham that he has no friends because he’s not a nice person, like him. As he sits down on the plane next to an old Russian lady, Rock looks over, smiles, and says, “Nice babushka.”
Oh, and the cameo I didn’t spoil for you, is a bit of fun.
As a music lover, I also enjoyed hearing the movie open and close with Yungblud doing a cover of Jim Croce’s Time in a Bottle. And flashbacks to Statham as a kid with his sister, doing pranks that they name after musicians — the Mick Jagger, the Keith Moon (which of course, involved explosions).
It’s yet another movie that wastes the talents of Idris Elba (although my wife was happy there was a scene where he didn’t have a shirt on).
1 star out of 5.