Friday, April 21, 2017

The Fate of the Furious Review

You'd think the death of lead cast member Paul Walker and the touching sendoff his character was given in Furious 7 would've stopped the Fast and Furious franchise cold, but that one made all the money and Vin Diesel always imagined a trilogy of 7,8,9, so here we are with The Fate of the Furious.

It's pretty impressive for any franchise to get to their 8th movie like this, but considering how hard it is to make one great movie much less eight, it hasn't always been a smooth ride (no pun intended.) The first one is essentially a great remake of Point Break, only with drag racing instead of surfing. The second and third ones are universally panned for their lack of Vin Diesel (and also for being terrible in general.) Diesel and Walker got back together for the fourth one that, despite some pretty awful CGI, more or less put the series back on track. Fast Five is the stand out of course, since it's an incredibly fun heist movie that brought in the additional star power of The Rock as a cherry on top.

During that time they were always ratcheting up the crazy car stunts, and by six they were really starting to push the boundaries of suspension of disbelief, having turned these street racers into essentially the team from Mission: Impossible. Still they closed that one on one of the most epic teasers ever by introducing the transporter himself, Jason Statham, into the mix and thereby making another one inevitable. With the loss of Paul Walker during filming, it didn't look like we'd actually get the 7th one, but they managed to cobble together a reasonably fun experience whose sins are largely forgiven thanks to that aforementioned touching sendoff.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about Fast 8. I think the 7th one had a perfectly fitting finale for this fast family, and when you have to dip into the "main character turns against the team/family" cliché, usually it means you don't have any more stories worth telling. Plus, 7 had already teetered on the edge of what my suspension of disbelief was willing to take with all its computer magic and Avengers-like super heroics. Then again, the trailers for this one had them fighting a nuclear submarine with cars though...and you gotta admit that sounds pretty awesome in theory.

Unfortunately, I can't say it worked out as well in reality. Let's talk about how Fast 8 is not going to be one of my favorites from this franchise:




Monday, April 3, 2017

Power Rangers (2017) Review

I suppose it was only a matter of time that the Power Rangers got their gritty live-action reboot given all the properties from my childhood that have now been gobbled up by Hollywood and turned into generic explosion fests so the studios can cash in on the licenses while they still mean something to someone.  Usually it's Generic Action Plot #5: rebellious teenager with daddy issues learns he has a great destiny and must save the world with his awesome inherent expertise in everything. 

And of course they can't give these things subtitles since that might keep people from confusing this new thing with the thing they actually like.  Far be it for them to make it easy for us to distinguish between the franchise Power Rangers, and the new movie Power Rangers open-parenthesis, 2017, close-parenthesis.

It's also not the first time somebody tried to do a Power Rangers movie, and that first one doesn't exactly hold up.  So the odds against this thing being even remotely enjoyable were pretty slim, especially since the trailers appeared to be taking things way more seriously than this concept generally allows.

But, lo and behold, this wasn't all bad and dare I say it, kinda fun at times. How did that happen? Well, I'll tell you: