We are close to the end of what is, quite possibly, the greatest franchise ever: The Fast and the Furious films. While I initially disliked these movies, (referring to the fifth installment, prior to actually seeing it, as “more-or-less the same shitty movie they made the last four times”), I had a change in opinion after seeing Fast Five. Sure, I’m still uncomfortable being lumped into the same category as the kinds of people who choose to see films that are fast/furious, because I drive a station wagon and because I get the impression that many of the films’ fans (although, notably, not their creators) place a higher value on people driving fast cars quickly than they do on character development, realistic dialogue, or really any aspect of films other than cool shiny fancy cars.
But all of my arguments against the Fast/Furious Films are ultimately irrelevant because of one thing: they are very, very entertaining.
Furthermore, there is nothing pretentious or forced about these films. In fact, they’ve been (rightfully) praised for their progressive approach to race and gender (you can find good articles on the genius and progressive attitude of these films here, here, and here, among many other places) . The Fast/Furious films feature a variety of talented actors, brilliant cinematography, and clever, straight-forward, emotionally-driven plots on par with the original Die Hard. Additionally, while most franchises lose steam after the second or third sequel, the Fast/Furious films have both maintained all the positives of their first installment (family drama, moral conflicts, cool cars) while continually diversifying and innovating (shifting emphasis from racing to heisting, adding talented actors such as Dwayne Johnson, Tony Jaa, and Jason Statham). And yes, I have previously written about this shift in my perspective, in the post Why Bale should be in the “Fast Five” Sequel.
Unfortunately, it seems like that Fastest Seven is the end of the franchise. Paul Walker’s death, along with the inevitable ending of all franchises, means that the Fast and the Furious cannot exist forever.
Similarly, Daniel Craig cannot be James Bond forever.
While, yes, Craig will portray Bond in 2015’s Spectre, it’s unlikely that he has too many good Bond films left in him. Audiences grow bored, actors grow stale, and the dark-and-gritty-reboot seems to be on its way out.
The next step is simple: Vin Diesel as the first American James Bond.
While the idea may initially make no sense, there are many factors to consider. The first is that, when a series is to be rebooted, it is better to go in an entirely new direction than to try to relive the past. Consider 2005’s Batman Begins, 2009’s Star Trek, and the last time Bond was rebooted, with Casino Royale. In each of these, we saw a drastic shift away from all the previous material. Characters looked and behaved in new ways, universes followed different sets of rules, there were new histories and new beginnings. A new tone is struck, whether lighter or darker.
For evidence of when this approach to a reboot or sequel was not taken, and the results were disappointing, consider Superman Returns or The Amazing Spiderman or Terminator: Salvation. Not only was each disappointing in both content and box office results, but each of those franchises has needed course correction since failing to properly reboot.
The 007 franchise also can’t really get any darker while remaining palatable. So far, during the three Craig films, we’ve seen a) a Bond girl drown, and after her drowning, Bond says “the bitch is dead,” b) a different Bond girl drowned in oil and left in Bond’s bed, c) a different Bond girl murdered and left dead in a Hammock, d) Bond tortured by being repeatedly hit in the testicles with a knotted rope, which is a far cry from the good ol’ days of easily-escapable, overly-elaborate plots, e) M get murdered, f) etc.
Consider that Fast&Furious has never attempted a rebranding or rebooting, but instead has achieved success through maintaining tones, themes, and content consistently over the years.
Also, consider that the new Terminator and Jurassic Park films are not dark-and-gritty reboots, but are rather returns to more light-hearted and fun action films.
The plot for Vin Diesel is: James Bond can be simple enough. Jim Bond is the first American hired to work at MI6 as a secret agent. The plot can use the loose structure of a fish-out-of-water action comedy, striking a tone somewhere between Rush Hour, Die Hard, and the Fast/Furious films. Perhaps he even fakes a British accent to try to fit in. As a reward to Diesel fans, the supporting characters can also be played by some fast and furious actors, including Ludacris as Q, Jason Statham as M, The Rock as Felix Leiter, and Michelle Rodriguez as Moneypenny. (Although, to return to the original theme of this blog, perhaps Christian Bale as Diesel’s M would make a lot of sense.)
Vin Diesel has the acting abilities, the physique, the fan base, the charisma, and the resume to portray Bond. He already has two franchises under his belt, having portrayed Riddick in the Riddick trilogy. Oh, and don’t forget xXx, Saving Private Ryan, and Boiler Room. The guy can act.
To those who would suggest that James Bond can’t be American, let’s consider that there have been no real consistencies regarding James Bond throughout the generations. Connery was Scottish, Brosnan was Irish, Roger Moore was much older than the other actors, Craig is blond, and Dalton was mostly charmless. There is no consistency, so why not completely mix it up?
I should mention that, if this idea does not work out, I am one of the many believers that Idris Elba would be the best James Bond ever.
Furthermore, this would be a guaranteed box office hit. Both the Bond franchise and the Fast and Furious Franchise have grossed billions of dollars internationally, and are ranked in the top film franchises of all time.
Finally, this idea fits neatly into the James Bond Codename Theory, for which I have a particular bias.
Of course, there is also the possibility that they will never stop making these fast and furious films. And in that case, I welcome One Hundred Fast, One Hundred Furious.
Because why not?
Trying to read more of my thoughts on James Bond? Try Why Bale should kill James Bond or What is happening in the Spectre teaser trailer? For more on all that is fast or furious, try Why Bale should be in the Fast Five sequel.