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.