FAST 9 TRAILER IS HERE. SO IS BREXIT. WHAT’S THE CONNECTION?
Two major events happened on Friday.
1: FAST AND FURIOUS 9 TRAILER!!
I know. Prima facie, zero thematic overlap. And yet..both were delayed; both long awaited; both inevitable and full of potential. Also, whilst these are new dawns they are also departures and risky by their nature. Allow me to explain..
We all need to Move On and Accept a Clean Break / Opportunity? Or DO we?!
Boris Johnson has been very eager to put a positive spin on a new chapter/dawn/era etc. Fine. That’s his job, his thing with regard to Brexit. But there is no escaping the fact that Britain changed on Friday and we cannot tell, at least yet, whether the choice will pay off. Can we stand alone? Sure we can. But it’s a leap in the dark. We existed before the EU so we can no doubt endure without it as much as within. But even so..scary shit, right?! Meanwhile, in Dominic Toretto land: something is missing. Or rather, someone. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson plus Jason Statham.
Now, I HATED Hobbs and Shaw last year: smug, lazy, up itself, pointless. But I hated it in part because those actors and characters thrived in their contrast to Vin Diesel. That triumvirate MADE this franchise into the behemoth billion dollar blockbuster it became. That’s not to diminish Diesel; if anything, it pays him a massive tribute to say how inadequate Hobbs/Shaw were without him. But the same is true of his own franchise, without THEM. Their absence has left a gaping gap and overcompensation is palpable.
We can do NEW Deals! We can copy everything else?!
Britain THINKS that WTO rules /Canada style trade deals / chlorinated chicken can come to the rescue post Brexit. And yes, once again, it MIGHT. Just might, mind. A world of possibility! But just because it works for them..need not immediately make it applicable, here? Same with Toretto! He has now, it seems, moved on with his life and lives in a log cabin with a little kid and his wife? Fine. Except that’s just not HIM!
It worked for Magneto (needed anonymity); Tony Stark (hiding his own secret hubris /redemption?); Wolverine (he’s a lumberjack); John Matrix (lifts logs for fun!); Rambo, Clint Eastwood et al. James Bond is imminently seen chilling out in a Jamaican retreat, sure in No Time to Die. Nothing wrong with changing scene or retiring. But if it’s not aesthetically or socially in character? It feels rushed, lazy, pointless.
Granted, Fast/Furious not noted for verisimilitude or original character crafting. But this really does not fit. Dominic maybe goes to Cuba (the amazing part 8) or splashes his remaining cash on a city pad with the trimmings one might have associated WITH a Tony Stark /007 like character? He’s aspirational and that’s why, initially, he was a career criminal. But THIS? No. The man NEEDS speed, cars, an element of danger. Does it mean he cannot move on / develop? Course not. But this is a guy defined by what he does, rather than who he is. Either reboot /retire/recast or just keep going. But STOP doing these overplayed semi retirement codas, for the sake of an easy filler.
Heavy Emotional Blackmail. FAMILLLEEEE. AFTER the Event?
Mr Macron wrote the British a lovely letter the other day. We are all still friends, it seems. Not faux amis! We love each other. Big time. Fine. Except let’s face it: Europe, as a Union, rarely if ever shows that kind of cultural fraternity with Britain while we were bonded IN the EU? Just a feeling. And having to state the obvious, after the event? Feels redundant. WHY assure us all is well, if indeed, all is..well? Just sayin’, like.
And same here with Fast/Furious. Like most franchises that lose their way with plot, they become soap operatic and fixated on FAMILY, explicitly, as motif instead of implicit asset. Star Wars had Carrie Fisher (RIP) tell us Last Jedi was about ‘FAMILY’ (no, Carrie..it was about..oh I dunno?). Lethal Weapon 3 and 4: ‘We’re FAMILY!’ (Sure you are; but 1 and 2 SHOWED that, far better, without SAYING it). Batman and Robin: ‘when one is ancient one yearns for FAMILY’ (no, we want a story /plot and a reboot..just not the reboots we deserved?). And so on.
Point is? The more you shout ‘FAMMMILLLLEEE’: the more parodic you become. This feels less like an action movie blockbuster and more an episode of Eastenders on a bigger budget. Phil Mitchell could turn up as a Toretto brother. Except they have that covered already. With JOHN CENA: A figure they spoil and call out as Dom’s brother; same way they have Han as a resurrected hero..and Charlize back again. It’s both too much and not enough and one can see the ‘twists’ coming (Han faked his death to dodge Charlize? John turns to the good side by end of film, readied for part 10?).
SCOTLAND = TROUBLE!
Dom and crew go to Edinburgh in this one. Is that to stop the inevitable second Scots referendum on independence? Don’t be surprised if Mel Gibson turns up crying ‘FREEEDDOMMM’: it’d be no more or less surprising than anything else that might happen.
FAST AND FURIOUS 9 will be reviewed on release. Looks like a solid if uninspired action film and I do look forward to seeing it. Good luck meantime, to the UK, with Brexit, whether you are leaver or remainer..we are..FAMILLLEEEEE 😉