1 July 2013

Check Out The Skid Marks

Technically I passed my driving test on the second go but they just kept on failing me for the money. I know everybody says things like that but for me at least, it's genuinely true. I failed on my third attempt because the examiner predicted I was about to do something that I didn't actually do. From that, I can conclude that either they're screwing me over for some extra cash or they're deluded, amateur psychics. I never found out which though because afterwards he rudely refused to argue with me about it. Considering I was single-handedly funding the company’s Christmas party, you would have thought the least the fucker could do would be to entertain my desire for a bit of a fight. Eventually I passed on the fifth attempt which was lucky because that time I was planning to accuse them of sexual assault and blackmail the license out of them. It'd have been my word against theirs and there's no denying that I do have some pretty lips. I've been driving now for a good while and I still have fuck-all interest in cars. In regards to any specific models or companies, the most in-depth I can get is in identifying that something probably isn't a bus. Beyond that, I really couldn't give a shit.

Because of this, a crap film series that focuses on street racing was something that had never really appealed to me. As a result, I therefore managed to avoid the first few instalments of the turdy-looking The Fast And The Furious franchise. I was aware that Vin Diesel was the star but as a rule I tend to avoid films in which the main character looks as though he could be directly descended from a potato. Interestingly though, after over a decade of polluting our screens a dirty little rumour began to circulate which claimed that the fifth instalment was miraculously pretty good. With minor curiosity, I therefore decided to watch Fast Five and was shocked and overjoyed to discover a movie that was so fucking awful that it actually became a work of unquestionable genius. The story was bollocks, the action was ridiculous, the dialogue was retarded and the realism was non-existent. Everything contained in its two hour running time was fucking hilarious and to be fair, even though the action is completely over the top, it's still good fun to watch. By the time the credits began to roll I was sixty percent less intelligent and I couldn't wait to see what they had coming up in the sequel.

Having now seen both 5 and 6, I think the franchise's main character is called ‘Dom’ but as most people in it have an American accent, it kind of sounds like they're all addressing him as ‘Dumb’. Considering Dumb is played by Vin Diesel who seems to be dead from the eyebrows up, there's a good chance that this is just a cruel but accurate nickname. Also- what is up with his voice? Not only does he look like somebody’s cross-bread Patrick Stewart with a slower-than-average gorilla but he sounds like a ninety year old woman who’s in the final stages of throat cancer. It's not that he's a particularly bad actor- it's just that he's clearly taking this film way too seriously. Also appearing as some sort of super world-policeman is The Rock who, in contrast to Diesel, clearly knows how moronic the whole thing is and so seems therefore to just enjoy the ridiculousness of every scene he's in. Whereas most characters drive around in stupidly expensive looking cars, he travels about in what looks like a small metal room on wheels. Presumably this is the only vehicle strong enough to support his entire weight. In many ways, Fast 5 and Furious 6 contain this generation’s Arnie and Stallone. The Rock is obviously the new Austrian Oak sharing both his Hulkish frame and undeniable charisma. Vin Diesel by elimination is therefore like Stallone in that they're both just a bit fucking dull.

"Rainbow Road can fuck off!"
Anyway to try and explain the plot for Furious 6 is to slightly miss the point. If you come in expecting some sort of ‘storyline’ then you should probably significantly lower your expectations. All you need to know is that a moustachioed English fucktard is causing some car related chaos and so The Rock has recruited Dumb and his gang to catch him. Also the bad guy drives around in an odd little car that kind of looks like what Saws’ villainous Jigsaw might own if he became a playable character in Mario Kart. This time too, the setting has left the exotic locations of Fast 5 and instead predominantly takes place in rainy old England. Although, it should be noted that this is an American’s version of England in which the country is populated with either toffs or skinheads and nobody ever says anything harsher than, “cor blimey” or “bloody hell”. In fact, there's one fun scene in which a snobby Brit insults The Rock and so to get revenge, one of Dumb’s friends pays the toff millions of pounds for the cars he's selling and the clothes he's wearing. I guess that what we can learn from this is that when Americans get a little insecure then some of them turn a little bit rapey. Either way, I was proud to see the British stoicism on display as the semi-naked chap proudly walked away without his dignity but still significantly richer.

To describe this sixth movie as both brain-dead and utter shite is completely accurate. Thankfully though, I'd have only been disappointed if it had delivered me a quality story and well-rounded characters. I was hoping for more of Fast 5's, 'so bad it's good charm', but no amount of punches to the head could prepare me for the stupidity of Furious 6. For over two hours I sat transfixed at the screen in complete shock with what I was watching. Occasionally something will fail because the hype is too great however here, the movie succeeds because my expectations just weren't low enough. I have never seen something as moronic as this in my life, with Fast 5 now looking like a gritty kitchen-sink drama in comparison. Vin Diesel's Dumb is thicker than ever and The Rock continues his record breaking attempt of saying lines that are so ridiculously macho that his script must have been spelt out in steroids. It's the action though that gets the audience into the cinema and this certainly didn't disappoint with each set piece getting progressively bigger and more unbelievable as the film goes on.

The thing is though, that as farfetched as the action was, I couldn't help but think that it was so creatively absurd that it must have been written by a genius taking the piss. As everyone will probably know from the trailer, there's a bit where the cars speed after a plane before it takes off in a sequence that lasts for about fifteen minutes. However not only does this mean that they're on about four-hundred-fucking-miles of runway but as the plane takes off, they have harpooned their cars to the wings. As it begins to fly, the cars dangle from it with at least two characters having a fist fight on their vehicles’ roofs. Inside the plane, there's another fight taking place which only climaxes when The Rock magnificently flies about sixteen foot into the air and delivers a ‘clothesline’ to a villain’s throat. Although if we're going to mention flying then this minor miracle is nothing in comparison to Dumb’s earlier impression of a big bald Superman.  

To quickly summarise that incident, there are two bridges that are about forty foot apart and with a drop between them that must be at least a couple of hundred feet. Dumb is driving on one bridge with his amnesiac girlfriend surfing the roof of a tank on the other. For reasons too stupid to explain, the tank is about to get its nose shunted to the ground meaning the girl is probably about to die. Dumb sees this and so aims his car at the wall of his bridge, speeds up and climbs out onto the roof. The Tank gets flipped over causing the girl to be catapulted into the air and over the drop. Dumb’s car hits the wall throwing him off his roof and also over the drop and in the direction of the girl. He flies towards her, catches her, carries her back over to her bridge and the two land safely on a broken car. It's at this moment that the film started to lose some of the people in the cinema as one person angrily shouted out, “Fuck off!”, at the screen. Although, interestingly, their outrage at this presumably implies that everything else so far had seemed perfectly plausible to them. Having survived without a scratch, the girl now turns to Dumb and asks how he knew, ‘there'd be something there to soften their fall’, to which he romantically answers, “I didn't”. Err what!? Are cars considered soft these day? Last time I checked, they were made out of pointy metal and glass. When you fly towards it at like two hundred miles an hour, I'm pretty sure you may as well just hit the concrete floor because either way- you're  fucked. The guy a few seats in front of me might not have enjoyed what he'd just witnessed but if I'm going to be honest, it was probably the greatest ever moment in cinema history.
If police actually looked like this,
it would be the end of crime...

This film is completely perfect in every way and so I'm actually struggling to think of anything to properly criticise it with. You could argue that it's perhaps about twenty minutes too long, although if we're going to get serious then lets face it, it's really about two hours and ten minutes too long. I suppose the villain is a little underwhelming but that could just be because he's played by the only person in the movie with more acting talent than muscle. However as the closing credits showed, this minor quibble is about to be rectified in the future. A car pulls out of nowhere, kills one of the main characters and then Fast and Furious 7's villain steps out. I won't ruin the identity of this surprise cameo except to say that seeing him in this franchise caused my brain to just implode with excitement. I don't think I'd stopped smiling since I sat down but this was the point that I had to actually prevent myself from doing a full on maniacal laugh/scream combo. Usually I prefer my films to be at least slightly intelligent but occasionally you have to admire something that's so confusingly terrible that it becomes unpredictably brilliant. Judging by the arrival of this new mystery bad guy, I'm putting it out there now that the sequel is probably going to be a full blown masterpiece of retardedly epic proportions. 

People keep telling me to go back and see the first few films but in honesty I think I'd miss The Rock too much. In fact, any movie that I now watch that doesn't feature him seems like a waste of time to me these days. Like I keep saying though, this film is God-awful, but it’s that fine blend of shitness which makes it so funny and so much fun. It's so bad that if I didn't know better, I'd assume it was a spot on spoof of its own franchise. If you take the risk of watching this then make sure you have something to stimulate your brain with afterwards as there's a very real risk that you could just slip into a coma and die. Believe me though, it's worth the danger as it really is rare to find something that's so consistently entertaining, even if it is mostly unintentional. Based solely on its mystery villain, Part 7 has a very real chance of being even better but as things stand, Furious 6 may well be the greatest film of all time. I'm running out of words that can fully express my love for this film and I can't tell if it's irony or the brain-damaging effects of having actually watched it… Either way however, you should definitely see the film simply to witness the joy of car-crash cinema at its absolute and devastating finest. 

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