January 21, 2022

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Furious Fridays: Furious 7

We've reached the one that proves the Fast and Furious can make you cry.

tomk:  And here we go…Fast and Furious 7: Goodbye, Brian

Wow. Statham doesn’t mess around…

Hit him so hard he’ll wish his mama kept her legs closed…they do have a way with words in this series…

Oh no, it’s Hayseed McGillicutty…

Kurt Russell! Cool!

Parachuting muscle cars may be a new highlight in absurdity.

Aw crap! The Transporter is trying to kill Dom and Missandei!

Holy crap! That bus escape!

How many Guardians of the Galaxy actors are in this anyway?!

Well, I’m not dead inside.

jimmy:  You finished?

tomk:  Credits are rolling.

jimmy:  The end gets me every time. 😥

tomk:  I have to wonder how much of that was planned before Walker died. The white car, the others looking like they weren’t going to see him again, etc.

jimmy:  I will do some research but pretty sure that entire scene was filmed after. The “Brian” on the beach I’m pretty sure was his brother. And the “Brian” in the white car was a cgi mapping of Walker’s face from elsewhere in the series.

Outside of that, I think the final fight with Tony Jaa was the brother (note the lack of close ups, his face never often being in frame, and the use of shadows). And the first shot of him running up the bus looks off…but I think that was just a bad CGI job. There are other shots in the movie too where you wouldn’t even notice. His face put on stand ins. CGI changes to his lips for dialogue, etc.

Back to your point, that’s also what is so powerful about the ending. It works on many levels. It fits the movie and the characters, but is also obviously all these people saying goodbye to a fallen brother in real life.

tomk:  I’m approaching this a bit differently. I only got into this series after Walker died, so it isn’t a shock to me that he did. Tragic, yes, but not a shock. And I’m not sure this movie series is the type to get overly introspective, so the way they handled it was very appropriate for Fast and Furious.

jimmy:  Here is some speculation about what scenes used his brothers/body doubles/CGI: https://www.quora.com/What-scenes-in-Furious-7-were-filmed-with-Caleb-and-Cody-standing-in-for-their-late-brother-Paul-Walker

Here’s another: https://moviepilot.com/posts/3602709

Needless to say, they did an awesome job.

tomk:  They did. I didn’t notice any difference.

jimmy:  I agree. And that is the biggest compliment. The Crow comes to mind and how they had to work around Brandon Lee’s death.

Of course, the CGI that they have today was not available in 1994, so you’ll notice that he seems to disappear or is only in shadows for like 30 minutes towards the end of the movie.

tomk:  But there was something else I wanted to point out, and that was casting Jason Statham as the villain. There was a point in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career where he’d be cast opposite much better actors as his adversaries, like James Caan in Eraser and Gabriel Byrne in End of Days. Considering the biggest name villain prior to this was Luke “Gaston” Evans, Statham is a step up from there, and with Charlize Theron up for the next one, it looks like that pattern may continue. And to my original point, I think Statham is a better actor than a good chunk of the regular F&F cast.

Plus Kurt Russell looks like he’s having a lot of fun.

jimmy:  Both excellent castings. Love Statham and Russell. And they play their roles perfectly. And both are back for 8 I think. Statham is for sure. And you mention Theron, the franchise has gotten to the point now where people are asking to be in it. Helen Mirren is another.

tomk:  I’ve seen Russell in some of the trailers. So, yes.

jimmy:  I thought so. Perfect.

tomk:  I think Helen Mirren just discovered she likes making action movies.

tomk:  That Honest Trailer did point out that skydiving cars and cars jumping between skyscrapers is incredibly awesome.

jimmy:  See. That’s ridiculous and awesome without being stupid.

tomk:  Stupid might be expecting Dom’s giant muscle car to successfully drift up to the roof of that Tokyo parking garage.

jimmy: Hayseed McGillicutty was impressed.

tomk:  Yes, but he could barely drive anything without hitting something, so Dom is bound to be impressive to a guy like that.

jimmy:  The mention in the Honest Trailer for Tokyo Drift of him not being able to turn left like Derek Zoolander was hilarious.

tomk:  Yes, so everyone reading this should go look at that right now and then come back. I’ll wait.

ryan:  That ending. God dammit.

jimmy:  Gets me. Every. Time.

ryan:  So I’m watching the movie and I had forgotten a lot of it. I only saw it once in the theater and I think the memory of the ending kept me from watching again. But as I’m watching I’m thinking how so many elements are true to the series–totally insane, forget about physics, etc–but that overall some of it isn’t clicking as much as 5 and 6.

And the ending hits and I’m just…yeah. That’s perfect. Utter perfection.

I remember seeing the movie, knowing Walker was dead and they had delayed and reshot a number of scenes to accommodate. So the entire time I was wondering how they’d do it.

And they’re totally teasing it the whole time. “No more funerals.” And you’re all “GOD DAMMIT FAST AND FURIOUS MOVIES!”

And then Brian is fighting a martial arts expert and losing and I’m getting ready for it. Nope, he wins.

jimmy:  You figured they would kill him off?

ryan:  And then he has to climb a cell tower when a helicopter already blew one up and I thought this is it. Nope, he just uses a cord (and it was a lucky guess since Tej said the cord at the base and he literally pulls the second cord from the bottom but that’s the right one). He lives. I didn’t know if they would kill him but they kept putting him in a perfect opportunity to sacrifice himself.

And then…he lives. Dom gets closer to dying than Brian does but we never really thought he would die.

And then…the beach. And Tej tells Roman to shut up and look. And they all look, they all get to say goodbye and WHO THE FUCK JUST PUT ALL THIS DUST IN THE DAMN ROOM!

jimmy:  Seriously. A Fast and Furious movie and you are fighting back tears because you are at a Fast and Furious movie and should be jacked up on testosterone.

I’m glad they never killed him off though. Was perfect having him ride off into the sunset to be with his family. (Even if it does put the franchise in a bit of a weird “Where’s Brian?” space moving forward.)

ryan:  Agreed. I wondered if they would have Brian die in the movie universe and maybe that is what sets Dom off? That would let Mia stay in, but also kind of ruin the end of 7.

jimmy:  The beach and subsequent “goodbye” car scene were additions after his death. I wonder what the original ending was planned to be.

ryan:  My guess is it was some general feel good scene like every other movie, followed by a tease of F8. Instead they did the beach.

As for the rest of the movie, I think it’s another step in their incremental journey of the franchise but a few items felt a bit too forced for me. Without that ending, I would have ranked it a bit lower.

jimmy:  I agree. I contemplated putting it after 5, but you just can’t. And the action set pieces were great.

ryan:  First: Jakande. As the secondary villain he was completely under utilized. He had about as much screen time as Guardians of the Galaxy but had a better role in GotG. And I’m not sure why he was a good terrorist. First, you have to empower your henchmen. If you have a combat helicopter in downtown LA, why should he have to wait for you yell “Fire!” after he has missile lock? That seems incredibly inefficient.

Second, I find it hard to believe you climb the ladder of international bad-assness by holding grudges. Yet even after God’s Eye has been hacked and Big Shaw is out of the picture, he still decides to hang around and go after Dom? That’s bad business, Jakande.

Finally, shouldn’t a terrorist have an escape plan? Maybe he did and we didn’t see it–or maybe he knew just how inept EVERY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY in Los Angeles has become because despite all the missiles and explosions and car crashes we saw, and I counted, ONE POLICE CAR. And he just lucked over Dom driving by. That seems…odd.

But enough about plot holes…well, for now. That final sequence was great, but not as great as the plane in 6. They did just as good a job of keeping you following so many threads. In 6 we had three separate fights going on–one on each side of the plane and then inside the plane. Here we also had three different lines–Dom vs. Shaw, Ramsey hot potato, and Brian getting to the tower. And they’ve really mastered the pacing of it. That last sequence is about 30 minutes but it never got dull.

And while I give them kudos for officially working Tokyo Drift into the timeline, it does fail at a few crucial points. Like if this all took place in 2015, why did everyone in Tokyo have flip phones to broadcast the final race?

Okay, they can’t fix that part. Nor can they fix how Hayseed has aged about 20 years in that race with Dom.

But they also didn’t even try to address how in Tokyo Drift Dom had been racing all around Asia. That’s how he was introduced initially and Hayseed passes on the race, only agreeing when he found out about the connection. That seems strange in current context. But they were probably counting on people NOT rewatching Tokyo Drift ever…let alone just a few weeks before seeing 7.

jimmy:  I think your last point is the key.

ryan:  Other item of note to me: Gal Godot is in the opening credits. I remember seeing her name pop up and thinking “Was there a new flashback scene?” So I was surprised when there was nothing except the crumpled picture of her. Maybe it’s a SAG thing that they have to be credited, just odd. And the fact that Dom puts her picture in with Han at Han’s funeral and not twenty seconds goes by before Roman talks about hating funerals and says “First Han…”

Wait, FIRST Han? Didn’t Giselle get a funeral?

jimmy:  I thought the same about the credits. And obviously Roman watched the films in release order, not chronologically.

ryan:  Good explanation, actually.

But it does beg the question–at the end of 6, why didn’t anybody go back and look for Giselle? Granted, we now know that runway was almost 20 miles long, but you know who else we thought died on that runway and totally didn’t? SHAW!!!

Giselle might have been alive and hurting somewhere on the runway while Han is just staring at the burning airplane.

jimmy:  Well, I’m sure they did something off screen.

ryan:  But the timing is all off. They got to the end, airplane is burning, bad guys defeated, and he’s just standing there. DRIVE BACK THERE YOU FOOL!!!

jimmy:  Fair enough.

ryan:  Sheesh, even Immortun Joe flipped his car to try and save Precious and SHE WENT UNDER THE WHEELS!

Which makes me wonder if there’s already a series of fanfic for a Mad Max/Fast and Furious crossover.

jimmy:  Mad Max: Furious Road

I never thought about it while watching, but the Honest Trailer makes light of the fact that they seemed to run out of budget for the ending after the Dubai and parachuting sequences since the end is basically just them driving around avoiding a helicopter and Dom/Shaw slugging it out. Reminded me of the end of Matrix Revolutions where after all the mind and physics bending action sequences the end was just Neo and a single Agent Smith punching each other in the face.

ryan:  Why do you think she’s called Furiousa?

jimmy:  And she is in 8…so maybe these are all prequels????

tomk:  Who broke the world?  Dom or Hobbs?

jimmy:  Their epic clash.

tomk:  Well, Hobbs apparently heals broken bones very quickly.

jimmy:  Heh. That part was so silly, but forgivable.

tomk:  Shazam!

jimmy:  Does Black Adam say Shazam as well? If you make him say Mazahs, is he forced to remake old movies and tv shows?

tomk:  Um yes to the first, not sure for the second.

ryan:  Black Adam has a magic word as well. It has been Shazam and there was an epic storyline once when Billy used magic to change Black Adam’s magic word. Black Adam is forced to wander powerless until he accidentally discovers it. But that’s another topic.

Samoan Thor was awesome in 7. I wish they hadn’t sidelined him for so much. I also think giving him a kid is a clear set up to off him in 8 but I’ll be happy to be wrong.

jimmy:  One thing that always bugged me about this movie was the backbone of the plot. Dom wants Shaw. He agrees to work with Snake Plissken to get the God’s Eye so that he can use it to find Shaw. Shaw is hunting Dom and shows up everywhere they go. Why did they need the God’s Eye exactly?

ryan:  I thought the same!! They kept running into Shaw and Dom would just stay on mission. Um, no, Shaw was the final goal–just get him!

tomk:  How did The Transporter keep finding them?

ryan:  He read the script.

jimmy:  It would have made more sense if Shaw was always one step ahead of them, kinda like the warehouse scene. But he always showed up after. Always knowing where they were or where they were going to be.

ryan:  Yeah, it’s a bit of a mess. Shaw wants Dom for revenge. Dom wants to find Shaw first so he can stop revenge, so Dom tries to get a tool to find Shaw. But Shaw has clued into Dom’s plan and so he tracks Dom trying to track Shaw and OH HOLY HELL JUST FIGHT ALREADY.

jimmy:  Or switch it around somehow that Shaw was hunting for the God’s Eye as well. We know Jakande wants it, but Shaw doesn’t really care. Maybe the two characters could have been merged somehow.

Regardless, added Statham to the cast was inspired.

tomk:  Shaw was more awesome without a car anyway.

jimmy:  And to an earlier point, The Rock did seem wasted in this one.

ryan:  I wonder if some of the tension between Vin and Dwayne started building already in 5 and 6. 7 they weren’t together much so it didn’t matter, but then it totally boiled over in 8 and ended up becoming a public feud.

For a while I thought that might have been manipulated by the director to create some tension, which would make sense given the revealed storyline of Dom going bad, but now that the two are being separated during publicity events, it seems it wasn’t artificial.

tomk:  Unless Paul Walker was the on-set peacemaker.

jimmy:  Possibly. But good point. I think they share one scene in 7, and the second scene Dom is basically dead. I thought the feud was a publicity stunt for 8 as well, but now I’m not sure.

ryan:  I do find the comments about 8 fascinating. That this is the kick-off of a new trilogy. Makes me all tingly. But I want The Rock in it–nobody delivers bad lines like The Rock.

jimmy:  I hadn’t heard the “new trilogy” comment.

ryan:  And speaking of bad segues into the List of Truth…here’s our updated results.

Furious 7 has taken the pole in every category.

For overalls we ranked them F7, Fast 5, Furious 6, tie for F4 and the original, 2 Fast, and Tokyo Drift flipped over at the bottom of the mountain.

In action, F7 takes the lead with F5 and F6 tied for second (I imagine those camera twists put F7 over the top), then F4, Tokyo, original, 2 Fast.

For plot, F7’s dusty eyes takes the prize followed by a tie for 5 and 6, F4, the original, 2 Fast, and Tokyo Drift’s overly thick hillbilly accent making us wonder if there was a plot at all.

Yeah the new trilogy comment was just announced this week during publicity tour. Vin said it for the first time. Said it takes the franchise in a whole new direction. Underwater, clearly.

jimmy:  Or space.  Tom’s area of expertise.

tomk:  Or space. I know a thing or to about…Jimmy beat me to it.

ryan:  Pretty sure Tom thought Dom went into orbit when he attacked the helicopter.

tomk:  Don’t be silly. He was clearly following the Great Circle to escape orbit entirely.

ryan:  That’s a lotta Nos.

tomk:  It’s necessary to pump all of it into the theater so the audience buys whatever violations of physical science the movie is selling.

jimmy:  And for all that Dom has gone through in all the movies, even going down off the cliff earlier in 7, it seemed a bit silly that him taking a nosedive off the collapsing parking garage would be the thing to almost kill him. (Granted the cliff car was reinforced…but still…)

ryan:  Yeah, definitely some loose physics. The metal door slide down the stairwell was a gross violation. But at the same time the series actually does a lot of practical effects. There’s a great behind the scenes feature about how they really shot the jump in 6 when Brian is trying to cross over the partition to rescue Roman from going under the tank treads. They shot that jump twice to get the right look–it wasn’t CGI.

tomk:  They also hired the great Tony Jaa, Thailand’s version of Jackie Chan.

ryan:  Was that the guy who was too slow?

jimmy:  Yup

tomk:  I found a movie of his on Amazon Prime Video. He’s spectacularly agile and does his own stunts.

jimmy:  Ong-Bak?

tomk: That’s the one. Good martial arts movie for action movie fans.

jimmy:  True.

ryan:  So, we’ve rewatched the whole series. We’ve converted Tom to a fan. And we know the franchise is taking a new direction, which is actually smart given the lack of Brian moving forward. Any hopes/predictions for F8?

tomk:  More Shaws than you can shake a metaphorical stick at.

jimmy:  Haha

I’m a bit worried about 8 to be honest. The action with the sub, etc. looks like it could be on the too stupid to let go side, though I hope it’s not. And the whole “Evil Dom” angle seems so forced and fake and you know he’s being coerced and things will return to normal at the end.

tomk:  They went skydiving with their cars. That sub is nothing compared to skydiving cars.

jimmy:  But skydiving cars was awesome!

tomk:  So are submarine attacks!

jimmy:  That’s what I’m hoping. I’ll keep expectations low. That will help in either case.

ryan:  I do like the potential storyline build up. In 6, Dom and crew were dragged in to stop a sophisticated op because they wanted to rescue Letty. Little did they know that op leader’s brother was a bad spy, so the revenge plot in 7 led to Dom taking out both a rogue black ops agent and a top dog in the “International Terrorist With A Helicopter” market. So now he’s a known name in the spy and terrorist ring, and Mr. Nobody probably wants to keep that going because Dom gets results. Also, Mr. Nobody likes to watch movies while sipping his Belgian ale and probably saw xXx a few times.

All the heist movies have had one motivation: family. Rescuing family, saving family, preventing revenge against the family, etc. It would be a bit fake to keep that going without discussing Brian, so this Dom angle may provide a new motivation. But let’s be honest, the entire crew will be out to rescue him because he’s family.

Oh, and do you think we’ll get an explanation in 8 why Tej can drive again? He made a BIG DEAL about why he didn’t drive in earlier movies, then he’s parachuting out of airplanes in a car in 7.

jimmy:  I doubt it.

So, do they mention Brian at all? Will Mia show up at all?

ryan:  No Mia without Brian–the only thing they could do is kill him and that would negate the ending of 7. So I say no to Mia, for now at least. It might be kinda cool to have Walker’s brother take over the role in F9 or F10. The years between could help explain some of the differences, but they *really* look alike. And it’s not like Walker had a lot of acting range.

jimmy:  I don’t think they look enough alike to pull it off.

Though, they could technically just replace Brian with “anyone”. Wouldn’t be the first time a new actor took over a role after a death. But I doubt they bother. And after such a perfect, touching send off, just leave it be.

ryan:  True, but at some point you have to at least mention why Brian isn’t stepping up to help the crew save the world. Unless they decided to implement a strictly enforced No Imported Car rules, I don’t see a reason why Brian wouldn’t be there.

jimmy:  Family.

ryan:  Will any previous characters from the series make a return? The DR brothers?

jimmy:  The guys who disappeared in the casinos?

ryan:  Yeah. There was a brief mention of them in 5, I think. Someone said “Last I heard they were gambling in Macau…” or something like that.

jimmy:  Yeah, we won’t see them again. I don’t know if there is anyone worthwhile to even bring back. Eva Mendes comes to mind. She had that little cameo, but that was about it. Not that I think she should come back mind you.

ryan:  Could be some small cameos. They brought back Hector to get punched by Letty. I’m a bit disappointed they didn’t bring back the LA FBI agent to have his nose broken a third time.

tomk:  They should find more Expendables!

jimmy:  Well, with Sly out on that franchise now, they could start merging them together.

ryan:  On the cameo front, Iggy Azalea was amusing. I forgot about that.

jimmy:  That one was so bad.

tomk:  Well Rhonda Rousey had to pretend to lose a fight to comparatively slight Michele Rodriguez.

ryan:  She loses a lot.

jimmy:  Rousey was awful too.

tomk:  Jimmy favors a distinct lack of female MMA fighters in his mindless action movies.

jimmy:  Hey, GSP wasn’t great in Winter Soldier either and I’m a big GSP fan.

tomk:  Leave George S Patton out of this! He worked with real tanks!

ryan:  So did Furious 6.

tomk:  Perhaps it’s time to just drive off in a white car for this discussion.

 

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