Reviews: The Fast And The Furious

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Fast and Furious 7 or How Mr. Cieloazul reconciled with some things
It has been a long way since I started to watch the films of this saga. Like many people not crazy for the cars, the fifth installment was my gate for Fast and Furious, more centered in conventional action and heist than cool cars and races which not everybody would appreciate. I had the opportunity to see some wonderfully charismatic actors doing the great life of international car thieves and some similarly wonderful Vin Diesel stunts, and it was a point for me. The next film, now with the protagonists chasing a British ex-SAS who was tough to catch, was another opportunity to fill up my veins with adrenaline and watch those absurd car jumps and flies. I know many people didn't like the sixth film like the fifth, but I guess it was a tough act to follow.

And then the seventh came in. I was not exaggeratedly interested on this saga anymore, so it was more like a "ah, well, another one to my list". But, at a fatidical day, death struck, and Paul Walker left us all. I was shocked and saddened. I was not a fan of his, in fact he looked rather bland to me (the reader will can read a similar opinion in the article of his remake film Brick Mansions) compared with some of his casting pals, but I knew the saga would not the same with him. I went to the theater hoping to see how the production team had handled the problem to keep the movie's awesomeness, just that. Well, I also went to see one of my old jewels, Tony Jaa, and a fake rumor who made me believe that Michael Jai White would be on the film.

Initially, the film didn't rush me as much as the former ones. It was possibly that I had grew accustomed to the adrenaline, or that I expected everything which happened on it. They did an awesome work covering for Paul, but it was just that.

Only not. It was not just that.

Because months later, in a completely different context (I was slacking around on the mountains of my home Spain, if you are curious) I heard again that ending song, See You Again, and suddenly I felt many things I had felt while watching the film without noticing at the moment. Then I understood I had seen not only an action film, but a moving effort to make a heartfelt tribute to a fallen friend. Through that silly thing, everything got a new sense. And although the film might not be the best ever, then I knew it had been awesome for me.

See you again, Paul.
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Too Fast or Too Furious?
As a single movie, The Fast and The Furious was a nice little action car chase movie with a simple cops and robbers theme. The simplicity worked in favor of the movie as it was mostly a showcase of cool cars and a lead in to a few cool car chase scenes. The dialogue was not over thought and the actors did a respectable job in their roles. It almost felt like the pilot episode to a series... and pretty much was.

The second movie was as with any good sequel, more over the top, more 'actioney', more... everything. We were introduced to new characters and given some more exposition on the world as a whole from the main character's point of view. Taken as a sequel, one can't be considered wrong in thinking the 'big star' of the first movie just wanted nothing to do with it and that this may have been the beginning of the end for a series about cars. It seemed like the case when the next one came out.

With Tokyo Drift we had no returning characters and a story that was so divergent it might as well have been about aliens and cowbows! (what a concept that could be ~.^) The story was only okay, the action was all about drifting instead of racing, and the whole thing seemed disconnected. That is until you reached the very end!

Which led to the 4th movie. It seemed like someone was beating a dead horse with this one, until you realise there is a decent story evolving here. Not taken from a single movie, but taken as a whole. Combined with the events of the 1st and 2nd movies, the story has a cohesive nature that makes it all come together in a way that seems enjoyable. If not almost feeling preplanned at points.

And then came the 5th and started tying in threads from the others and dropping in new characters while exploring old ones. The events almost make you think it will be the end. Not from a story perspective so much as how over the top and epic the events in the movie are. All together it is almost like an epic miniseries of events. Except Tokyo Drift... which aside from a connection of one single character, there is no real connection. Okay, two characters. Barely.

Then we come to the 6th movie and all the connections are falling into place.

I am not going to continue with revelations of the 6th movie at the end, but I will say this:

Looking at it as a whole, the Fast and Furious series of movies is a wonderful action drama!
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Fast and Furious 6
Fast and Furious 6 continues to prove that taking a new direction in the middle of the series CAN actually work. The heist formula takes the next logical step with the team we all know and love pitted against a team of rival drivers. The bad guys' expertise is summarized as "vehicular warfare" in the film and it definitley shows. The action and thrills are bigger than ever. The particularly entry also takes itself more seriously. The focus on story is evident and as a result, this winds up having the best story of the lot. It also packs more of an emotional punch. This movie made me care about the characters more than any of the previous. If you've followed the films all these years, you'll be able to predict a death or two but that didn't stop me from caring, and there are some things no one will see coming. Character relationships are actually explored more and past events are referenced frequently. Don't get me wrong, this is still a Fast and Furious film. None of this is Oscar quality. But it IS one of the best stories I've seen in a long running-action series, especially when you put all 6 together.

Acting is on par with 5. If you loved the characters in 5, you'll love them here. If you hated them in 5, well, you get the idea. However, I didn't have as much fun as I did with 5, probably because of the added seriousness I mentioned. Overall, though Five is the more fun film, 6 is still an amazing action film. Fans of the series and fans of action films in general won't dissapointed. Go see it.

P.S. Stick around after the ending for a Stinger that not only FINALLY catches up to the events of Tokyo Drift, but also sets up some VERY exciting threads for 7.
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