There is a trailer for Furious 7. Have you heard of this movie? Little independent thing, lotta heart, talking-and-driving joint. Lightning round, go:
Jason Concepcion: One day, someone needs to go back and pinpoint the exact moment that this franchise became a hydro-weed and Red Bull fever dream in which belief was not merely suspended but RKO’d from the top turnbuckle. Was it when Dom tail-slid his 1970 Dodge Charger under — repeat, under — an out-of-control, fully flame-engulfed gasoline tanker in Fast & Furious? The race through the decrepit mine tunnels from later in the same movie? Was it the two-ton safe race through the streets of Brazil in Fast 5? I don’t know the answer, but, for me, our heroes duking it out with a tank on a Spanish highway in Fast & Furious 6 was like a moment of clarity. It was then that I realized things had become too insane to ever turn back and, more importantly, I didn’t care. I mean, by that point, Letty coming back from the dead just seemed normal.
My script for the Fast 8 trailer, costarring Sandra Bullock, which will link the series to the Gravity continuity:
INT – A CARGO HOLD CONTAINING NUMEROUS MUSCLE CARS
ROMAN SITS AT THE WHEEL OF ONE OF THE CARS. HE IS WEARING A SPACE HELMET.
ROMAN: “Dom, are you sure about this?”
LETTY (V.O): “Nervous, Roman?”
DR. RYAN STONE: “Don’t worry, Roman. I’ve done this in my underwear.”
CARGO DOORS OPEN, REVEALING THE SURFACE OF EARTH FRAMED BY STARS.
CLOSE-UPS OF VEHICLE IGNITIONS AND STICK SHIFTS. THE MUSCLE CARS BACK DOWN THE RAMP AND BEGIN PLUMMETING THROUGH SPACE. ORANGE AND YELLOW RE-ENTRY FLAMES LICK AT THE CHASSIS.
Holly Anderson: I came to this series late, about the time Justin Lin took the franchise hard left into Japan and never let go, and I have had one heart’s wish since the moment when the timelines of Tokyo Drift and the other installments began to converge: to have Sung Kang’s Han somehow resurrected, not in a flashback, but still breathing and deadpanning somewhere in the chronology after his deadly crash in Tokyo. The dryness he brought to the role was such a welcome foil to the wall-to-wall mugging of most of the cast, and even if he’s more machine now than man (MAYBE INHABITING THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF A SMART VEHICLE???), it’s not as ridiculous as, y’know, parachuting muscle cars out of a goddamn cargo plane mid–car chase.
I don’t wish that anymore. With one of the crew actually dead in the walking world and his presence represented onscreen at least in part by technology, that desire feels tacky now. It’s enough, at least to me, that they’re seeing this thing through. I think Paul Walker would think it’s pretty rad that they found a way to carry on.
Back to the parachutes for just one second: I can’t ever see a group event like this without scanning the skies for one to go disastrously off course. A couple of years ago, while I was covering a football game at one of our nation’s more famously decrepit stadiums, a group of flag-bearing troops were scheduled to land at midfield, and as we craned our necks out the windows trying to see them drop in, screaming began to filter down from the upper deck. It turned out the guys had been blown off course, had missed the stadium entirely and just barely, and had landed without incident in the parking lots outside, but we didn’t hear about that part until later, and for a full minute we were just keeping horrified eyes on the skies, waiting for some poor dude to land on the cranked-out windows and slide off like a butterfly on a windshield.
Anyway: How badly right now do you want to see, say, Roman’s chute get caught in a tree, stranding him in his vehicle over the twisty road, maybe with the silks eventually setting over the vehicles and shuttering him in like a chatty bird in a nitro-packed cage? That bus has an awful lot of guns, and having him issue increasingly frustrated curses from some high-up branch would be a great way to add a little levity to what looks like a stressful sequence for our heroes. Just thinking out loud here.
Dan Silver: As a director, Justin Lin has done a tremendous job since 2009’s Fast & Furious infusing new life and purpose into these films. But I can’t wait to see what James Wan does with this latest installment. I’d put his filmography up against most other genre directors from the past decade. The guy has simply not been given the credit he deserves as a visualist, mostly because he’s primarily made horror films, a genre too often disregarded. His camera moves with purpose, and as a director for fare like Saw,1 Insidious 1 and 2, and The Conjuring, he favors clever framing, atmosphere, and practical effects over CGI and shock.
He didn’t direct Saw 2 to 1,000,000.
Simply based on this trailer, it’s hard to tell if Wan was able to flex his talent much, but there is a lot, and I mean a lot, to like here. There’s everything a FF fan could ask for: cars flying, cars falling, cars crashing, gears shifting, speedometers pulsing, tow cables firing, people diving onto the hood of moving cars, one-handed driving while screaming into walkie-talkies, Luda/Tyrese banter, the “crew” lined up shoulder to shoulder overlooking a cityscape and impractically speaking to one other without breaking their gaze, a well-oiled Rock brandishing an insanely large firearm, harsh backlight bouncing off Diesel’s glistening head in some dimly lit garage, and enough low angles and crash-cam footage set to club music to make the casual moviegoer waiting to see an awards season contender cringe.
So how does a trailer containing a moment when the Rock precedes breaking his own arm out of a plaster cast by inexplicably saying “Daddy’s gotta go to work” get any better?
Yep, from the moment Herr Statham revealed himself at the end of Fast & Furious 6 (and I screamed with glee like a little girl at a Taylor Swift concert), my Statham has been immensely Stathamed with enough Statham to fill Statham’s ten-gallon hat from Parker and all the gas tanks from the Transporter movies. Prognosis for Furious 7: Raging Statham.
Rafe Bartholomew: Where were all these Rock fans during Snitch and Walking Tall and The Rundown?
Mark Lisanti: When Vin Diesel drove his car out of the nose of that plane near the end of Fast 6, I asked myself, How can they possibly top that in the next movie?
The answer was, of course, obvious: by driving a shit-ton of cars out of another plane, having them parachute onto a road right into a high-speed pursuit, and then shooting a bunch of cannons at them from the side of an armor-plated tour bus. Maybe it could have been a half-dozen helicopters airlifting the cars into the middle of a job just for variety’s sake, but let’s not get too picky. Revisiting the plane thing is a perfectly legitimate way to go. If you’re going to play the greatest hits and give the fans what they want, sometimes you’ve got to change up the arrangements a little to keep it fresh.
This also applies to all the chases, and to situations when the Rock is called up to punch somebody through a solid barrier. Diesel through drywall before, some other bald dude through a pane of glass this time.2 Whatever. We’re seven albums in. Nothing wrong with a remix compilation this deep into the catalogue, as long as there are a couple of new tracks thrown in there somewhere.
I can’t positively ID that guy as Statham, the cut is too fast. But that’s definitely Statham leaping through the air at Diesel at 2:16. It’s bullet time, but with steel pipes or pieces of a tire jack or whatever. We should invent a term. Pipe time’s not going to get it done.
Chris Ryan: Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be aging marquee movie stars. But definitely don’t let ’em get old and show up in Vin Diesel movies. In the grand tradition of Dennis Quaid in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Kevin Costner in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and the Tupac hologram at Coachella, it’s Kurt Russell, biding his time in between Quentin Tarantino projects and summoning the kind of artistic commitment he usually reserves for Poseidon to play [checks IMDb] … holy crap, his character doesn’t even have a name.
Russell is one of my all-time favorite movie stars, and it’s sort of tough watching him ripped from his life of working on his golf handicap and adding commentaries to Tombstone DVDs just so he can say, “These are people who don’t play by your rules” and be the embodiment of everything Edward Norton loses his mind over in Birdman. On the other hand: JACK BURTON IS IN A FAST AND FURIOUS MOVIE. In fact, to celebrate, lets just watch some Jack Burton:
Rembert Browne: You always know that the death-defying leap necessary to make a Fast movie furious will be successful, but the fact it keeps happening and seems to top the previous leap and never gets old is a testament to how phenomenal these films are.
A few Fast films ago, I used to see some of the more insane scenes and think, Of course that couldn’t happen in real life. By Fast 7, I see The Family driving cars out of planes and am like, Makes sense.
Shea Serrano: I saw the first Fast and the Furious movie at a theater when I was in college. I went there with a girl. When it was over, I skid-skid-SKIDDED out of the parking lot. A lot of people did. I thought it was very cool. It was definitely the fastest and most furious a 1992 Ford Escort had ever been driven. I’d hoped that the burnout move would impress her. It didn’t. Instead, it made her say something close to, “What are you doing? Stop it. Stop what you’re doing.” I was sad about that.
The new trailer looks fantastic. In general, I am a fan of movies where ridiculous things happen and nobody acts like they are ridiculous. I’m going to pretend to run up the back of a bus that’s falling off a cliff and then jump and grab onto the spoiler of a car that’s Tokyo Drifting over the edge of that same cliff. I’ve never done that in real life. The closest I’ve come is one time in elementary school, when I ran up behind the ice cream man’s van while he was driving and jumped on the back ledge and rode on it for a block or so. My dad saw me do it because that’s the kind of luck I have. He whooped me for it. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on right now. I miss Paul Walker. When I see this, I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up pretending that it’s way better than it actually is because Paul Walker is gone. Dang.