May Bank Holiday and the sun is shining. I live in the West Country in England. Outside are rolling green hills, babbling rivers, breezy beaches. On the air, seagulls ride thermals against cloudless blue. It’s a perfect day. …so, naturally, my housemates and I have assembled in the living room, drawn the curtains, and are spending the next ten hours or so watching all five movies in the Fast And The Furious franchise.
This wasn’t my idea. But I’m morbidly curious. I’ve only seen the first one before. I thought it was terrible. But I can’t dismiss a whole series based on an opinion formed on one movie over ten years ago, can I? Can I? Time to find out. Names would be changed to protect the innocent, but we’re all guilty here so my fellow participants are Simon Roger Key, Thomas Strawbridge and Vicky McGoun. I decide to document events.
10:34 am: It begins. The Fast And The Furious (2001)
10:35: I am not ready with the laptop yet, but the others are forging ahead, presumably to sabotage my own caustically impotent blog-based account of this vacuous day. I obviously hate myself. Vicky hasn’t joined us yet.
10:42: On screen: A fight happens over tuna fish sandwiches and homophobic slurs. Vin Diesel starts acting.
10:45: Limp Bizkit. Side boob. Morons. Car noise. Hispanic ruckus.
10:47: Michelle Rodiguez starts acting. Paul Walker hasn’t attempted to upgrade past speaking yet.
11:06: Vin Diesel describes his shit-hole of a house as a ‘fort’. The only conceivable similarity between Vin Diesel’s house and a fort is that they both include walls. Speaking of walls, Vin Diesel appears to like flowery/butterfly-y wallpaper. He’s just so macho! (squeal) Tom contemplates that it’s possible this set has been borrowed from another film and nobody’s even taken the trouble to redress it.
11:11: Paul Walker’s a cop. TWIST!
11:12: “You want time? Find a magazine.” Amazing dialogue.
11:16: Vin Diesel and his merry band of drivers are revealed to be religious. That-kid-from-The-X-Files-that-one-time says grace, but gives thanks for all sorts of car parts. I’m nearly sick in my own Frijj milkshake.
11:19: Despite just having dinner, one of the goons – a bearded one – displays his inability to operate a microwave.
11:20: A fashion discussion ensues in the room: Knee-length shorts with knee-length socks. Is it ever acceptable?
11:25: Simon raises an interesting point: Why do people who enjoy cars going fast also enjoy cars that look really fucking horrible?
11:30: Hilarity ensues in the room as Vin Diesel squats in the (excuse my ignorance) engine compartment of his car, looking like… a Diesel engine. We’re fucking hilarious.
11:31: Vin Diesel talks about his father’s death. Halfway through drops down from acting back to just speaking. Paul Walker looks at him.
11:33: I go to get a jacket because I’m a bit chilly. Insist on nothing being paused.
11:36: I come back to a hard rock montage. Includes mild motorboating. Tom comments on the racial profiling in this movie. He has a point.
11:39: Vicky joins the living room posse. Yeah, we’re a posse.
11:40: Driving. Vin Diesel really looks like Mr Potato Head.
11:49: A fight happens over… well, who cares? In the following scene, dramatic score and the relentless source music are layered over one another. Presumably in an attempt to drown out Paul Walker completely.
11:55: Driving. Stunts. A ridiculously ill-conceived robbery attempt.
11:59: Is Michelle Rodriguez dead? Nope…
12:05 pm: “You’re a cop! YOU’RE A COP!” Vin Diesel tells Paul Walker what he is. X-Files-kid turns up, speaks loudly, gets gunned down in an Asian motorcycle drive-by. Room observes a minute’s silence. Or tries to. Actually, I’m lying. No one tried.
12:07: Driving. Tom rants about an endlessly firing automatic weapon.
12:11: A drag-race? But a train’s coming! Camera goes all mysterious. Culminates with the most gratuitous use of slow-motion since Baywatch got cancelled. Whilst Diesel and Walker share a sexually tense moment on the screen I become distracted Googling whether Baywatch got cancelled or ended on its own terms. Quickly give up when I remember that I don’t care.
12:14: Film ends abruptly. …was that really it? (1/5) Small break. Simon attempts to poison me with paprika flavoured popcorn.
* * * * *
12:26: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
12:28: For the middle of the night, an awful lot of these girls are conspicuously under-dressed. Vicky delights in referring to a ridiculous man’s overalls as a onesie. I am staggered to learn the comb sticking out of his hair is intentional. WHY DO ALL OF THESE CARS HAVE LIGHTS UNDERNEATH THEM?
12:34: Driving. 4 cars, 4 drivers. Not very economical. Should’ve carpooled.
12:38: Paul Walker correctly identifies a bridge.
12:40: After an opening race… the cops show up just when the action winds down. This is familiar…
12:46: Something hilarious happens, but at Tom’s behest his comments are stricken from the record.
12:47: Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson play rough-and-tumble in some sand before lining up perfectly for some scissoring. Disappointingly for everyone, this moment goes unfulfilled.
12:50: Fashion debate #2: Tyrese Gibson’s double-denim including a sleeveless smart shirt. Gotta show off the guns. Loud opinions are exchanged. Eva Mendes’ top in the next scene cries “respect me”.
12:55: At a venue that looks like some sort of porn-palace, the movie turns into the pilot for a reality TV show. It’s like watching The Apprentice!
12:58: Tom and Vicky debate racial bigotry following the line “Crazy-ass white boy!”. Vicky gets called a ‘cracker’. Paul Walker is the first driver to get the spring roll.
13:02: Back at the porn-palace, Tyrese Gibson asks for something to eat. A plate of pasties and fruit is produced. The spring roll turns out to be a cigar. Tyrese Gibson might be the worst actor so far. In recorded time.
13:12: …to the point of actually providing the only entertainment value. It’s either that or his outfit. Or his ability to fold space, as he does right after opening a paper bag. The room debates whether Tyrese Gibson referred to Paul Walker as a ‘bra’.
13:13: Vicky leaves and closes the door.
13:20: At a club, a remark is made regarding the women present: “It’s a ho-asis”. Amazing dialogue. Tom also leaves the room.
13:26: Mark Boone Jr. receives some Game Of Thrones-style torture. Of course Mark Boone Jr. is in this. Of course he plays a corrupt cop. Of course everything.
13:29: Tom returns eating marzipan out of the packet. Simon is visibly jealous.
13:31: Vicky returns (with magazines). Boat-based tension on the TV.
13:38: Fashion debate #3: Tyrese Gibson is now wearing a bandanna under a knitted hat. Weather looks clement. Seems unnecessary. His shirt is now red, but it still doesn’t have arms.
13:43: Driving. As cops chase Paul Walker and co, and as Paul Walker successfully identifies them as cops, as red lights flash and everyone calls everyone else “man” I realise that this movie is utterly mind-numbing.
13:50: Well. That’s a lot of cars. More driving. Looking around the room, nobody is paying attention anymore. Simon is on his phone. Tom has joined Vicky in looking at the magazines.
13:53: “That’s some driving for yo ass, man. That’s some driving for yo ass.” Tyrese Gibson is wearing yet another sleeveless shirt.
13:55: Ejector seat! Seriously!?
14:02: Paul Walker drives a car off of a ramp onto a boat. Vicky leaves the room, closely followed by Tom. This has been a pointedly terrible movie. Tyrese Gibson complains of having a broken arm the way you might complain about not being able to find a slipper or missing a delivery of little import.
14:06: Film ends. That was shit. (0.5/5). Lunch time.
To be continued…