A rough synopsis of The Fast and The Furious series, in order

STREET. RACING.

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

Paul Walker is an undercover cop; this is remarkable because he has no undercover skills and visibly sweats whenever the question of his loyalty is raised, as though he has just walked into a sauna. He acts like a child in their third nativity play as he proudly reads his lines aloud with no tone, no inflection, save a sort of pride in steamrollering through the script. He is investigating the theft of some TV-VCRs from a lorry I think?

Vin Diesel is a bucket full of muscles who drives cars and gets in unlawful trouble. He is a lorry of a man. He is built like two cows pushed into a fridge.

Luckily for our undercover police officer, all progression in his case can be solved through timely application of STREET RACING. Paul Walker street races a lot and gains the trust of Vin Diesel, a man who is surely too muscular to fit into his own car without the use of a special applicator device or Vin-Horn.

(Surely it would be called a car horn? We don’t call shoe horns foot horns. But car horns are already a thing, so avoid confusion, they named it differently.)

The street racing in this film is helped by the application of NOS, a magical gas that makes cars go faster through wizardry I assume? It glows blue-green when it burns, presumably because that is the bits of wizard robe catching fire.

Paul Walker falls in love with Vin Diesel and at the end, after it turns out that Vin was behind the theft of those TV-VCRs he’s been investigating all this time, Paul lets him get away and gets in lots of trouble as a result.

This film contains the line: “What is he, sandwich crazy?” This line alone accounts for half of the following mark:

6 Fast and Furiouses out of 10.

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, or THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS TWO: NITROUS BOOGALOO

Did you like any of the people from the previous film? That is bad news, friend, as only Paul Walker returns. He is no longer a cop, and is pressured into infiltrating a drug lord’s inner circle through a timely application of STREET RACING.

He says that he needs a friend to help him, so he goes and finds Roman. Roman is a cheeky sort, who is always eating and likes to tell women exactly how attractive he finds them. These are his two character traits. His catchphrase is “I’m hungry!”

Some street racing happens. Eva Mendes is there.

At one point Paul Walker drives his car onto a boat. That is not where cars go.

I cannot remember anything else that happened in this film.

5/10

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS THREE – TOKYO DRIFT, or THREE FAST THREE FURIOUS

This film stars a man who is clearly in his late twenties but is posing as a teenager who is involved in the world of STREET RACING. He has a face like an argument. His haircut looks like something he found on the street. His expressions range from confusion to the sort of shit-eating grin that would make you immediately call the police if you ever saw him do it in real life, even if he were in a different house and you were living across the road.

This godawful creature is sent to Japan because he is too heinous for America to bear a second longer. He lives with his estranged father in a cross between a shoebox and a majong tile case. He attends school, where everyone speaks nothing but Japanese (a language which he does not understand even a little) and he somehow is allowed to continue studying there?

The school is secondary to the STREET RACING culture that he finds himself thrust into via his new friend Bow-Wow. Many of the street racers are still in highschool, apparently, and they must be incredibly stupid because some of them have apparently been held back as many as fourteen or fifteen years.

These children drive impossibly expensive cars, even the girl that he fancies. The girl is half-Australian, so it is okay for our American hero to fancy her.

The American facemonster loses a race because he is not privy to the Japanese carmagic that is drifting, the ancient art of driving your car sideways. He is taught in the ways of drifting by a man who is always eating because apparently they have to have one of those in every film now?

There is a yakuza boy called DK, which stands for, and I am not making this up, Drift King. Drifting is to this film as pokemon are to the Pokemon universe; it is all anyone ever talks about. DK is the rival to the mugfaced grackler, both in racing and in competing for the attentions of that half-Australian girl.

The man who is always eating dies after DK attacks him. Our hero challenges DK to a street race to see who will leave Toyko forever? I had pretty much fallen asleep by this point. I was so warm. We made a blanket fort. Anyway, our hero beats DK, DK crashes off a mountain and dies, and The Boy Born With A Mistake Instead Of A Face becomes the new DK.

Vin Diesel shows up. Vin Diesel was only in his film so he could get the rights to Chronicles of Riddick and produce it himself. The Chronicles of Riddick was an awful, awful film, so to find that this is responsible for it existing made it all seem even worse, which is actually pretty impressive.

At one point the half-Australian girl is screeching her car sideways like a kind of frictionless neon crab through the mountains of Tokyo and she says: “I came up here the day I got my license and drove and drove. Back then, kids just drifted in whatever they had. Not like today. Things have gotten bad.” And she’s, what, twelve? Fuck off.

I did not like this film.

1/10

FAST AND FURIOUS, or FAST FOUR WAYS FROM FURIOUS

This film loses a point for the confusing name when comparing it to The Fast and The Furious.

Vin Diesel is back, robbing tanks of petroleum in daring motorway raids. The man who is always eating from the previous film is here! He is not dead yet. Until he enters Tokyo, Vin Diesel can never die. I suspect Vin Diesel has watched the films in order, up to this point, which explains his utter fearlessness because he knows he is immune to harm.

Michelle Rodruiguez, Vin’s girlfriend who everyone fancies because she’s scrappy and competent and, you know, Michelle Rodruiguez, gets killed. Vin is understandably upset. Luckily for him his quest for revenge involves precise application of STREET RACING. Also present is Paul Walker, again, who this time wears a suit because he is inexplicably an FBI agent now?

Everyone goes to Mexico and then drives very fast through some tunnels and at the end Paul and Vin’s Sister save Vin from a prison transport and they are all BESTEST FRIENDS.

6/10

FAST FIVE: RIO HEIST, or FIVE FIVES ARE TWENTY-FURIOUS

Everyone is baddies now! They are living in Rio to escape the law. But the law is hounding them in the form of The Rock, a man who makes Vin Diesel looks normal sized. The Rock is a whole gallery of giant paintings of arm muscles bundled up and compressed to the size of a single, but I should stress still very large, man. He sweats pure victory. He moves like a glacier on cocaine. He walks like an ambulance would walk.

Vin and Paul and Vin’s Sister I forget her Name are all criminals, and they are working with the local Brazlian mobster supreme when a job goes wrong, oh no! So now they must rob him of all his money for reasons that are largely unexplained and unexplored.

Everyone from the last few films who is still alive is here, including the MAN WHO IS ALWAYS EATING WHY IS HE NOT IN TOKYO YET, VIN IS GROWING TOO POWERFUL. The film is basically Ocean’s Eleven but with George Clooney played by Vin Diesel and Brad Pitt played by Paul Walker. It even has a guy that’s always eating in it.

Anyway they steal a big safe by bribing physics to look the other way, maybe convincing physics to go visit the country for a weekend, take the wife and kids, would be a shame if anything happened to physics wouldn’t it, what a lovely boy you’ve got there physics, what an horrible shame it’d be if he got hurt, do we make ourselves clear physics, are we all squared away ‘ere mate. They drag the safe through Rio and kill, like, thirty men? Forty men? A lot of men are dead by their hands. And their safe.

Vin Diesel fights The Rock and wins, somehow, presumably because he is immune to harm.

Also this film has more ladies in it than previous ones and though all of them end up paired off with male protagonists at the end I think more Competent Women is a good thing.

8/10

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS SIX, or QUICK SIX: COCKNEY PALAVER

LONDON. London TAAAAHN. Jellied eels, apples and foxtrot, ow’s yer father, knees up knees up etc, we’re in sunny London town now because of reasons.

Everyone from the previous films aside from Tokyo Drift, a film so bad that it has all but been excised from the canon, teams up once more. Even the antagonists are back! The Rock, a man so large he would give a continent pause if it thought to square up to him in a bar, returns with a mission – stop an Englishman from destroying the world! Or… America? Or… Europe? Somewhere, anyway.

Letty, who avid fans will remember died, did not die! Now she is a baddy, and an amnesiac? She and all the other baddies, and all the goodies, carry guns as though anyone has a gun in the UK, that’s not a thing that happens, we have crumpets and passive-aggressiveness instead.

Luckily, the bad man can be brought to justice through the precise application of STREET RACING. Vin Diesel challenges his once-dead girlfriend to a street race, and popular musical star Rita Ora is there, and as she prepares to start the race she utters the immortal line:

“We’re all used to getting what we want out here – after all, this is London, baby! But remember – don’t bite the bait.”

She says it with such conviction that it almost makes sense, but it definitely does not; what is the bait? The bait is not referenced before or afterwards. I do not understand what is happening.

So then they go to Spain and there is a TANK (oh no!) but our plucky heroes overcome the problem with STREET RACING, but then there is a cargo plane (oh no!) but our plucky heroes overcome the problem with RUNWAY RACING and PARDONS ALL ROUND and LETTY IS FRIENDS WITH THEM AGAIN and YAY.

It is an astonishing thing, this film, a cavalcade of noise and fury, entirely unnecessary.

6/10

FURIOUS SEVEN, or STATHAM’S REVENGE, or THE LAST AND THE FURIOUS

The illegal camcorder recording of this was of too poor a quality to watch; the audio was quiet, the visuals were fuzzy, and the people in front of the guy with the camera kept getting their big stupid heads in the way. I know this much, because we watched the first scene – Jason Statham is in it, and therefore it cannot be a good film. But it cannot be worse than Tokyo Drift.

2/10

EDIT: I watched the film at a cinema last night. Here is what I thought:

Furious Seven marks the point where Vin Diesel achieved demigodhood. He is old, now, and when he emotes he draws his chin into his neck and this combined with his perfectly bald head makes him look a lot like a human thumb. However: he is a human thumb that can kick you into next week.

This film, more than any other film in the series aside perhaps from Tokyo Drift, uses butts as an establishing medium. It’s like: here is a butt, and here are some cars, and here is the scene. As though they want to stress that butts definitely still exist, that even though butts were an integral feature in the previous scene, you might well be worried that this new location doesn’t contain any butts, so to allay your fears, here is a wobbly butt that presumably belongs to someone, we are not allowed to see her face, and everything is right with the world. There are butts. There are enough butts for everyone.

Here is the plot: no.

I do not mind that this film is a series of excuses for chase scenes but it seems, more so than ever, to make very little sense. Jason Statham is in this film. The director uses Jason Statham’s acting abilities to their fullest extent and therefore he has nine, maybe ten lines total. Do you remember the scary bad guy from the previous film? Jason Statham is his brother. Jason Statham says aloud that he must have revenge for Vin Diesel and friends hurting his brother.

That is the plot of the film.

Wisely realising that this is not enough plot for a film, the writers spin out a sub-plot into an entire plot, a parasitic plot if you will, which revolves around the capture and usage of a MacGuffin. In true Fast and Furious tradition, this subplot aids no-one; in Fast 6 they spent a full half hour trying to drive a car quickly around a track to avoid cameras, and then they abandon that plan, and in reality the reason for the driving a car quickly was so that we could watch them drive a car quickly. This MacGuffin is similar. I am not going to explain what it does because you do not care.

Unusually, in a dramatic break from type, the problems that the heroes face cannot be solved with the application of STREET RACING. I do not know how to feel about this. (They still drive cars quickly, of course.) There is a street race of sorts. Iggy Azalea is there, inadvisably.

Jason Statham hurts The Rock a very great deal, as though he is not aware that such a thing is impossible and you might as well try to headbutt a mountain into submission. He goes on to blow up Vin Diesel’s house and kill the Asian guy who is always eating in Tokyo, invalidating a sentence in my previous review, but more importantly OPENING UP VIN DIESEL TO THE POTENTIAL OF DEATH.

Vin Diesel goes to Toyko to see Han, the dead guy, and our meets our teenaged friend from The Fast and The Furious 3, who looks – what – fourty, fifty maybe, he is a fully-grown man now, a fully grown man with a face like knees.

Anyway some high-speed bullshit happens and Jason Statham shows off his special move, which is Turn Up Two-Thirds of The Way Through A Scene with a Gun. You know that adage famously attributed to Chandler where, if things in a scene started to get slow, he’d throw in a guy with a gun? Jason Statham is that guy, except the scenes are already exciting and he is, really, the equivalent of a sparkler in 26-flavour sundae covered in hot fudge sauce. I presume he teleports places? Anyway.

There is a scene later on in the film just before it mistakenly believes it needs a fourth act, and our heroes corner Jason Statham in an automated factory in in the middle of the desert near Abu Dhabi, and they find him eating a fancy meal and drinking a glass of wine, just at a table there in the middle of the factory, because he’s cool as shit, right?

Wrong.

Did he order in? No. No-one is going to deliver a meal to an automated factory in the middle of the desert. He must have cooked it himself. And why would an automated factory have a kitchen? It would not. Therefore – Jason Statham, international badass, must have a little hotplate somewhere, and at least one frying pan, some cooking oil, a little spatula, etc, etc. He was just finishing his meal when the heroes arrived, so he must have – at some point – been frantically throwing the thing together, hoping to get it finished before they show up to impress them. What a dork.

Anyway.

For a solid thirty minutes we are privy to three simultaneous fight/chase scenes on the streets of LA, one including a predator drone and one where Paul Walker kicks Tony Jaa down a liftshaft and one, crucially, importantly, vitally, where Vin Diesel and Jason Statham quite literally fly at each other then Do A Fight.

Vin Diesel can fly. Car crashes do not hurt Vin Diesel. Vin Diesel has never been struck by a bullet. Vin Diesel stamps his foot and a parking garage collapses. Vin Diesel drives a car off a mountain and is fine. Vin Diesel is impossible to harm.

If Vin Diesel wanted to smoke a cigarette, he would simply plunge his hand into a burning engine block and then light the cigarette off his finger. Vin Diesel shaves with hammers. Vin Diesel doesn’t cut the sleeves off his shirts; they’re scared away from the shoulders, like a pair of frightened deer. Vin Diesel drinks petrol and pisses spanners. Vin Diesel can, and does, stare directly at the sun for hours at a time. Vin Diesel is an immovable object and Vin Diesel’s car is an irresistible force. When God wants help moving house, he calls Vin Diesel.

There is a long, and awkwardly-directed, tribute to Paul Walker at the end of the film, and it is shoehorned into the fiction, and cinematically it’s not much cop but as a tribute from one actor to another it’s pretty touching, and I can’t think of anything funny to say about it.

7/10