A couple of days ago I found myself on a twelve hour flight, unable to sleep. With time to kill but no motivation for anything “serious” I decided to watch some braindead action flick. Swiping through the menu I found Fate of the Furious (or Fast and the Furious 8 if you prefer) which seemed to be the perfect pick. It turned out to be a far more interesting movie than I had ever expected.
Before I get into the unintentional hilarity there’s one thing I have to get off my mind first. One of the first scenes shows a lot of beautiful young women in booty shorts or short skirts dancing near cars, all filmed from a low angle. Basically, it’s one long sequence of asses. I know scene like this are a staple of the franchise but this kind of blatant objectification of women is really just getting tired. Well, the entire franchise is getting tired but this part especially, and I wish they could they could stop putting these scenes in there, even if they keep making movies. Now back to the unintentional comedy.
The Fast and the Furious franchise has always been known for over the top car action so I knew what I was getting in to, but this topped all of the previous ones. The movie starts with a race between main character Dominic Toretto (played ny Vin Diesel= and some bearded Cuban man, which Dom wins despite his car literally being on fire. As if that wasn’t ridiculous enough, he spins the car around for some reason and somehow manages to make it go faster backwards than it could forwards which is just… That scene only has minor significance to the plot but it does set the tone for what we can expect from the rest of the film in terms of action.
Jump forward to the final third of the movie and the situation is this: the bad guys have their base on a plane that’s flying around somewhere. They have hacked into a Russian nuclear submarine and are remote controlling it (I don’t know how that’s even possible because the sub looks to be using 1980’s technology, but I digress) and trying to pilot it out to open sea. Dom’s Family of heroes are racing to the end of the bay to close a sea gate that will stop the sub from leaving, all while being chased by Russians soldiers (not affiliated with the main badguys). Dom himself however is not part of the action because the badguys have kidnaped his son as a way of controlling him. Instead, Dom has secretly sent his former enemy Shaw (Jason Statham) on a one man mission to save his baby. Alright, it’s a 1.5 man mission because Shaw’s brother is there initially but the movie quickly forgets about him.
This leads us to an action sequence which is supposed to be funny but isn’t. Having infiltrated the enemy base, Shaw puts Dom’s son in a baby carrier seat, places a pair of headphones with children’s music on him (nice reference to Face Off there) and proceeds to fight his way out while carrying the baby with him. Exactly how that is supposed to work is beyond me because those baby carrier seats are quite cumbersome, not something you’d want to be swinging around in a firefight, but I digress. Anyway, the film makers have put a bunch of jokes in this sequence where Jason Satham keeps commenting the action and the baby is reacting to these comments in various “comical” ways. However, all of these jokes fall flat, so what you get is just this very jarring contrast between a man ruthlessly gunning down a bunch of faceless minions, and the rather inane jokes. I’m not saying you can’t combine violence and humor, Deadpool did an excellent job of that, but your jokes do actually have to be funny for it to work. The reason I bring this up is to show what happens when the film makers try to insert humor into an action scene: it doesn’t work.
So, Dom’s baby has been rescued and he can join his friends in the race to the sea gate. Everything seems to be going well when all of a sudden the sub bursts through the ice right behind our heroes and starts chasing them. Like I said, I’m well aware of just how over the top action scenes can get in Fast and the Furious, but that really broke my suspension of disbelief. You see, I know that even the fastest ships don’t go much faster than 40 knots and I felt pretty sure that pretty much any car would be able to go a lot faster than that, even on ice. So, I had to check it up and it turns out the worlds fastest submarine has a cruising speed of about 44 mph, while rally drivers seem to average about 75 mph while driving on snow and ice. Basically, the cars should safely reach the sea gate without the sub even getting close.
So, suspension of disbelief smashed to bits, we finally get to the scene that made me sit down and write this. It’s the final action scene in the entire movie and it’s the best thing ever, but probably not in the way the film makers intended. I think my description wouldn’t do it justice, so let’s just watch it instead:
When I saw the last part of that scene I burst out laughing. I even had to cover my mouth to muffle the sound because I was in a plane full of sleeping people. It’s supposed to be so cool, this massive explostion that engulfs everything and you think Dom will die, but then his friends come in at the last second and…park their cars around him, and just like that, the coolness is gone and the whole scene just becomes silly. I still laugh every time I rewatch it that’s how hilarous it is to me.
It’s kind of amazing when you think about it, here you have an over two hour long film with one ridiculously over the top action scene after another, it’s like the epitome of braindead action flicks. Then, when the film makers try to change it up a bit and insert some humor into one of their action scenes, they fail. However, when they try to top it all off with one gigantic set piece, they overdo it and end up this increadible scene that fails at what they were trying to do, but becomes truely hilarious by accident. Unless you’re a thirteen year old boy, or have tones of time to kill, this film is not worth seening, except for that one final scene.