Movie Review: The Fate of the Furious (2017)

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Plot:When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.

I am quite the big fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. I reviewed the entire series a while ago, and naturally the mere mention of the return of Dominic Toretto and his family was enough to get me excited. These movies have become progressively bigger and more extreme as the series developed, and the Fate of The Furious makes no exception.

To be honest, this is the first film that I felt was overly ridiculous. It has always been very ridiculous with this franchise, but this one went very extra. The “banter” between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham made my toes curl with embarrassment. Seriously – the testosterone these two emit in each other’s presence was nothing short of hilarious. Dwayne Johnson had some pretty funny lines as a school soccer coach, and his desperation in having his girls win the game to avoid a Tay-Tay concert was quite funny and understandable. Fast 8 tries to market Jason Statham now as one of the team, as a Shaw brother it is quite confusing as he was a main villain about fifteen seconds ago.

Dominic Toretto abandoning his family seems crazy, and that is exactly what he does. Villian Cypher (Charlize Theron) shows Dom something on a screen and it is enough to make him drop his wife Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) and his team. What could make him do this? What does Cypher want? That’s never too clear, because I don’t think the plot is the primary point of this film, and we are left in the dark more than once.

I won’t say why Dom did what he did, but there WAS a BIG reason. Naturally Brian (Paul Walker) must be mentioned loudly at least once, and that he can’t come help because they decided he needs to be away. I don’t really agree with the decision on that, because Brian O’Connor in the Law of the Furious would never drop Dominic Toretto – however sad Paul Walker’s death may be, I think the character would have died too instead of abandoning his family.

Charlize Theron’s Cypher has a very blurry reason for the things she does. The chemistry between her and Vin Diesel is less than zero, and that kiss they share is cold and plain weird (despite Diesel’s strange comments about it). There is a lot of explosions and more bad dialogue, and when Diesel, Johnson and Statham appear together onscreen the manly manliness is almost too much to witness. The rest of the crew – Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Megan (Nathalie Emmanuel) and  Ludacris (Tej) get laughably terrible lines. Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) is still cool AF, and he’s joined by tough guy Scott Eastwood as a new recruit. The awesome Kristofer Hiviju is Cypher’s henchman, and I still love Tormund even though he’s a baddy in here.

The last few scenes of the film is naturally very dramatic and highly unlikely, and the end is  mushy but manly-still. This formulaic fan festival of epic proportions is outrageous, crazy and very similar to the last couple of Fast films. I found it slightly less engaging with a little worse dialogue, but I’m not even fooling myself – if there is a Fast 9, I will still watch it.

Rating: 6/10

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Watched, Read, Loved: September 2017

Yay! Spring is here in South-Africa and I couldn’t be more excited. When the weather is so much better I am so much better. Getting to work while the sun is actually up makes me a much nicer colleague.

I’ve been doing a couple of Parkruns. My work gave us all the opportunity in taking part in the Discovery Pulse challenge, which made me realize (again) how little steps I take each day. I’ve been trying to average it at 5000 steps, but that is already a challenge. The challenge officially began on the 27th of September 2017, and I really am working hard to do everything healthier – eating, sleeping, more exercise, less stress (HA!). It runs for three months and I will definitely let you know how it progresses.

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Movies

The Fate of The Furious: Continuing the ridicule of series that is the Fast Franchise, Dominic Toretto this time abandons his family for some obscure reason. I really enjoy these films because they are so brain dead and is just easy entertainment, but this one was particularly ridiculous.

Hidden Figures: So.Much.Love. It is heartwarming and beautiful with excellent performances, and I am so happy the film was released in such an important time in history. Not only is it about racial prejudice, it is about female empowerment, determination, love, courage and there are also great scenes of the early days of NASA.

Walk the line

Walk The Line: I was SO proud when I finally watched this – I’ve had the DVD on my shelf for many years now, and I remember hearing people rave about it but I never really made the effort to see for myself. Well, it was great, and a great Blindspot choice for me.

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The Girl on the Train: It was okay. I enjoyed Blunt (I always do), and her supporting female co-stars where all very strong. I also really do like Luke Evans. The big plot twist – I caught it half right so I was marginally impressed. Definitely not as good as Gone Girl, but interesting all the same.

Easy A (Official Movie Poster)

Easy A (2010): Emma Stone is one of my favourite young Hollywood stars. She’s just so incredibly talented and really funny. Easy A is some of her earlier work and she’s hilarious as Olive Pendergast. If I ever have daughters I hope they are like Olive – not willing to take bad behaviour from friends, loyal, hilarious, inventive and wildly inappropriate.

Wild Child

Wild Child (2008): Many people wouldn’t necessarily like this film, but I really do. It is one of my favourite teen movies, and although it isn’t as sharp as Easy A, Mean Girls, Heathers or Clueless (other favourites), it still remains one of the nicest things to watch, reminiscent of a time where Emma Roberts and Alex Pettyfer were clean cut, sweet individuals (probably not that sweet).

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Australia (2008): One of Baz Luhrman’s work I have had the least exposure to, Australia is a tribute to the wild and terrifying glory that is the continent of Australia. Hugh Jackman is ridiculously attractive, wildly blown out of proportion delicious, and the dainty and unexpectedly hilarious Nicole Kidman impressed me with some of the humour she injected into her character. This was definitely a great watch and I will watch it more in the future

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Clueless: Clueless is one of my favorite “high-school” films. It is so silly and sweet and Paul Rudd is so adorable and Alicia Silverstone is so friggin adorable. You can’t feel bad after watching something like this, you just can’t.

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Books:

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Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn I actually started reading this after The Girl on The Train, because it made me want to explore more thrillers. I am really enjoying so far and finding the writer pretty good at telling a story.

Hot Rocks: Nora Roberts I can’t decide whether it will be worth my time actually reviewing this. I’ve now successfully proven to bestie that I can actually read and review a book and then just not remember it, and it might very well happen with this novel. It wasn’t bad and I actually had a pretty great time, but it feels superfluous reviewing every single Nora Roberts book I read

Movie Review: Furious 7 (2015)

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Plot: Dominic and his crew thought they’d left the criminal mercenary life behind. They’d defeated international terrorist Owen Shaw and went their separate ways. But now, Shaw’s brother, Deckard Shaw, is out killing the crew one by one for revenge. Worse, a Somalian terrorist called Jakarde and a shady government official called “Mr. Nobody” are both competing to steal a computer terrorism program called “God’s Eye,” that can turn any technological device into a weapon. Torretto must reconvene with his team to stop Shaw and retrieve the God’s Eye program while caught in a power struggle between the terrorist and the United States government.

Rating: 7/10

I’m finally through the franchise! I’ve really had a blast, despite some of those first few movies that made me legitimately wonder how they ever got more movies approved.

Furious 7’s production was initially halted when Paul Walker tragically died in a car crash. The world was horrified – both by the death of this well-loved actor and the way that he passed away. Walker has always been a car fanatic, and the car he drove in 2Fast 2Furious was actually his own car. His brothers helped out with filming the remaining scenes, which ensured that Brian O’Connor got the end he deserved.

As for the film? There are numerous mentions for the need for Brian to stop and properly commit to his pregnant wife and son. He struggles with being a standard dad and not an adrenaline seeking ex-cop turned car thief turned assisting the FBI, and wife Mia (Jordana Brewster) notices these struggles. She urges him on one last mission to avenge the death of Han (Sung Kang). Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) is still struggling to regain her memory and Dominic is struggling with impatience because there are obvious things he wants her to remember. Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson) returns to make bad jokes and Tej (Ludacris) returns to being geeky and cool. The most recent permanent instalment returns as Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who seems to have found even more muscles since the last film.

Furious 7 is as expected over the top, this time with Lamborghinis crashing through sky towers in Dubai. Brian O’Connor escapes a few certain deaths himself, and I couldn’t help but think the writers really wanted to leave clues everywhere. In terms of insanity, the airdrop scene came only second to the Dubai scene. Okay, there was the final collapse in Los Angeles was very crazy too.

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Djimon Hounsou is some form of African warlord and he is basically ignored only when he’s really needed. Jason Statham replaces Luke Evans as the Shaw brother to sort out, and for all his capabilities in dealing with action sequences, I have never thought him to be the most solid villain. Elsa Pataky returns as Elena, and I am not really sure why, except (hopefully) that she and Hobbs end up together – a girl can dream! Kurt Russel also has some role, and I was surprised when he was the good guy to the end, it seemed shot in a way that he would have ulterior motives.

But is the film good? Well, it’s not bad. I thought it was a bit loose at the ends and it didn’t gel as it should have. Overall, as part of the franchise, the film didn’t feel like the best. I am glad it ended like it did, but I also thought that Brian O’Connor would never leave Dom behind – ever. It’s pretty much that feeling that Mark Darcy should rather be dead (like in the books) than leave Bridget Jones – I can’t believe I just compared the Fast franchise to Bridget Jones, but there we go.

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What are your thoughts? How do you feel about what happened in the last film? Do you agree with the arc regarding Brian O’Connor? Share, share!

Movie Review: Furious 6 (2013)

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Plot: Hobbs has Dominic and Brian reassemble their crew to take down a team of mercenaries: Dominic unexpectedly gets convoluted also facing his presumed deceased girlfriend, Letty.

Rating: 7/10

This movie is so big for a lot of reasons. The end finally ties in with where Tokyo drift finishes, and the sad death of our beloved Han. It is also where we say bye to beautiful Gisele who dies to (ironically) save Han’s life. It is such a useless way to go, but she couldn’t have known her boyfriend would die only months later. It is also the movie that reintroduces Lettie, which probably needed to be done. The relationship between Elena and Dom felt just way too forced, like something the writers wanted but no one really thought it through. I did find it funny how nice Elena and Lettie were to each other in the end. If Vin was my honey and his dead girlfriend pitched, man, I would not have been that smiley. I thought that Brian and Mia’s baby was expected and has been a long time coming, but I also once again had to laugh at how she basically chased him away because “family needs help”. Agent Luke Hobbs is also back in the picture, and I still think The Rock was a great addition to the cast. Luke is starting to see more of who Dominic is, and realizes that this particular criminal is quite decent under it all. (I think, and it may be too touchy feely for this franchise, that Hobbs is starting to question what he has always believed in). The best scene in the entire film has to be the square off fight between Hobbs, Toretto, (Luke Evans) and his sidekick, played by Kim Kold. The way everyone automatically aims for the guy with the same body type makes me laugh without fail. Luke Evans is probably the best villain yet. Evans does everything with a quiet, dedicated intensity that makes any role he takes on a success. Could they have fleshed out his motives more? Definitely, but this series isn’t interested in doing that. I also thought it was a generally good idea to tie the villain to the villain in 4, which made Lettie’s sudden reappearance more believable. The cars and races are as impressive as always, and grounding that plane so dramatically is as completely possible as that vault scene in 5, if ya know what I mean. I also love how Hobbs is suddenly also capable of racing muscle cars. The man’s talents knows no bounds. It was very cheesy in the end when Hobbs and Toretto finally acknowledged each others’ worth, but I loved it. There is a lot of other things I’ve come to expect and enjoy – Roman Pearce’s makes the worst jokes ever as usual, Han being all calm and collected, Ludacris being his cool self. The crew in this franchise has always been its’ strongest point, and as always brings the feeling of family across. I’m a little bit apprehensive to move on to the 7th film, because I have no idea how they addressed Paul Walker’s death in there.

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Fast & Furious 6 (2013) (L to R) Hobbs (DWAYNE JOHNSON), Dom (VIN DIESEL) and Brian (PAUL WALKER)

Movie review: Fast Five (2011) – AND THINGS THAT MOVED THE FAULT

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Plot:Dominic Toretto and his crew of street racers plan a massive heist to buy their freedom while in the sights of a powerful Brazilian drug lord and a dangerous federal agent.

Rating: 7.5/10

As we move through the franchise to approach the final (released) movie, we all know what happens – more unlikely, death defying stunts. This 2011 movie features the scene absolutely everyone remembers and absolutely everyone references when talking about the franchise – that vault crashing through Rio attached to two muscle cars by the strongest ties in the universe.

But before we come to that, let’s talk a bit about what else happens. Mia (Jordana Brewster) is pregnant, and it is a very big celebration. I would personally be quite upset being pregnant while on the run from the FBI, but she’s happy and Brian’s happy and I’m happy for them.

Dom is dealing with Lettie’s death still, being a badass and still not able to get his arms through a T-shirt. It’s a really hard life. He decides it would be a great idea to steal from the Brazilian mafia, because when last did such a plan ever go wrong?

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He calls in a crew to come and assist – Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), who is still really strange, Tej (Ludacris), who thankfully dropped the afro and is now really quite handsome, Han (Sung Kan), our favorite Asian, gorgeous Gisele(Gal Gadot), Tego (Tego Calderon) and Santos (Don Omar) the last two who still acts in their capacity of attaching moving things to other moving things. Dom’s friend Vince (Matt Schulze) from the first movie is now living in Brazil, he has a girl and a child, and is still shady as fuck and still really hates Brian.

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New on the scene is FBI special agent Luke Hobbs, who has flown to Brazil to find and imprison Toretto and his gang. We obviously hate him because how dare he wish to enforce the law? He specifically asks for Elena (Elsa Pataky) to help him with his Brazilian mission, presumably because her smile is pretty, but we eventually learn that her husband was killed while on duty and she is working to avenge his death.

So I enjoyed the film, but that is not much of a surprise – I’m a fan, I love a good dose of cheese once in a while and the last part of the franchise has been exemplary. However I’m not quite sure whether I’ve enjoyed Fast Five or Fast Four more – I was so happy that they reverted back to the old gang that I loved the fourth film.

The death defying antics start with a jail break where a bus is flipped – and no one dies. I might add that breaking your friend out and seriously endangering his life at the same time might not be the best idea.

Rio is then full of gangsters with guns, and a very smart villain who realizes that if people have something to lose, they will fight very hard to protect it. Brian decides to take on a contract for stealing vehicles and through some more gravity defying maneuvers, they escape with a car that contains a chip with the mafia’s data on. Hence the massive scheme is devised to be rich forever and hopefully being cop free for quite some time.

Luke Hobbs, however, really wants to catch Brian and Dominic. His passion for doing this is purely because it is his job, and I liked it. No over the top agenda or massive secret that is kept from us – he is a special agent and he likes to get done what he is paid for. I thoroughly enjoyed Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs. He was convincing and intimidating, and those muscles must be manufactured somewhere. He is so not ready to let any criminal slide, no matter what sorry excuse they think of. I really liked that, making the quick difference between him and Brian quite obvious.

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I thought Elsa Pataky was quite cool as Elena. I don’t see the necessity of making her a love interest of Dominic, who obviously still mourns for Lettie, but I could see why they would find something to bond over, having both lost partners.

The masculinity is on another level in this film, especially when Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel is on screen. The flashing red lights screaming TESTOSTERONE is ever present, and I couldn’t help but laugh when they finally fought it out. It was like GRRR everywhere.

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THINGS THAT HELPED MOVE THE CARS WITH THE VAULT ATTACHED:

  • VIN DIESEL’S MUSCLES
  • DWAYNE JOHNSON’S SWEAT
  • (AND MUSCLES)
  • BROTHERHOOD
  • MAGIC

Movie Review: The Fast and the Furious (2009)

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Plot: Brian O’Conner, now working for the FBI in LA, teams up with Dominic Toretto to bring down a heroin importer by infiltrating his operation.

Rating: 7/10

Dominic Toretto in the Dominican Republic? Yes, he has his own republic (that was a JOKE)Man, I love Vin Diesel, and this franchise is his legacy. He gets to be a motor-head without being disgusting as most of them are. I am astounded everytime he puts on a shirt that covers his guns, because 1) who would cover them and 2) where does he find shirts big enough to fit over it? I take exception to those awful yellow shoes – YUCK. They were probably in fashion way back and is probably still in fashion in honky-donk places, but sweet holy cow, they are UGLY. Back to his character – it is quite funny that we are rooting for the criminals and not the cops in this franchise (though kudos to the cops always being depicted as good and not corrupt), and how everyone wants Dom to be as free as a bird when he highjacks trucks for a living.

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The moment between Dom and Lettie is so sweet and hot stuff, but he leaves, and isn’t that typical of a man to believe that only he knows what is good for a woman?Lettie’s death was really sad, but you have to wonder how she got back there and got herself killed. It is discussed a while later, but not in great detail. I really do like Michelle Rodriguez as Lettie Ortiz. She was a bit of a joke in the first movie but finally in the fourth one it is clear why everyone loves her when they are fans of the movies. I’ve never loved her in anything except this franchise, but she rocks so much as Lettie.

Also so much pain seeing Han. I love that guy way too much. He has the calmest eyes. It also helps to understand why Dominic would want to avenge his death later on, because that barely made sense at the end of Tokyo Drift.

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Brian O’Connor is back to being a cop. We will ignore how they allowed him back in as he dropped out and lost a criminal everyone is looking for, because we don’t want to spoil the happiness of seeing him in a suit and being all serious. Part of his FBI team is Tring, played by Liza Lapira, one of my favorite bit part actresses. She was awesome in Stupid Crazy Love and she has that same vibe in here that tells me we will get on so well – her facial expressions is pure sarcasm and disbelief. Brian has also stopped saying “BRO” after everything, and that is the best thing that has ever happened, ever. He probably said “bro” six hundred and eighty five times in 2Fast 2Furious. Brian has lost his need to wear board shorts and loose T-shirts – probably to fit in with his “incredibly offensive racial-profiling” black friends in 2 fast 2 furious.

Jordana Brewster is the most wooden actress. In theory I enjoy her presence in the movies – as Dom’s sister and Brian’s love interest she’s yet another thing that binds these men together, but her acting is absolutely awful.

The introduction of Gal Gadot is successfully done, and I really enjoyed her. She has this calm way about her that obviously means you should just never mess with her. I think her accent is gorgeous and so is she, and like I said, I really like her and her work in this franchise.

Fast and the Furious is the first true sequel to the first movie. It is actually far better than the first movie, which was full of racial stereotyping, awful dialogue and even worse acting. This fourth movie returns all of our favorite characters, includes some heartbreak and cause and makes much more sense than those before it. It is certainly better than 2 FAST 2 Furious, the WORST in this franchise – a movie didn’t even suit the theme of the franchise, and Tokyo Drift, a movie that I enjoyed more than the second but was introduced way too early.

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Fast and Furious, as mentioned, made the correct decision of bringing back the old cast. It kept the good things – the cast and the strong male bonding theme, and introduced better graphics, better storylines, much better acting and stronger females (who for once didn’t need saving!). I really loved this movie, but it might be because number two and three is of questionable value.

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See you back for review of Fast Five, a movie with the most memorable scene in all the Fast movies!

Movie Review: The Fast and the Furious (2001)

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Plot: Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Connor must decide where his loyalties really lie when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy.

Rating: 6/10

Mini blog run alert! I will be reviewing the entire Fast and the Furious franchise each Friday for the next seven weeks, starting today. It is one of the most longstanding franchises and one of the most successful ones. It is also the largest case of audiences repeatedly flipping the bird at critics, because the first couple of films have terrible ratings online and yet the films just kept on rolling till everybody couldn’t help but to love and accept them. Today I am reviewing the film that starting everything, the 2001 installment titled The Fast and the Furious.

 Lettie

  • Before we start anything, can we just discuss Lettie’s clothes (especially the shoes?) Life. Changed. Her attitude is also so bad. She doesn’t care what anybody think! I’ve never been a huge fan of Michelle Rodriguez, but she is tailor made for this role – that bad attitude transcends screen and into real life.

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  • Oh gosh, Paul Walker, so young and sweet and fresh. His acting is still a bit flaky in this film, but I enjoyed his undercover cop story and falling in love not only with Mia but the whole underground car scene and the strong family ties Dom so obviously believes in.

“I’m in charge” move

  • Dom is so sexy. And feisty and family orientated and badass. That scene where he is introduced he is so impressive looking.
  • I can’t reconcile Dom and Mia (Jordana Brewster) being related. They look nothing alike.
  • I enjoyed Mia’s pretty and clean look in this movie, but not the acting of Jordana Brewster.
  • They try so hard to be ghetto. It is the best. The racial stereotyping is pretty bad in the first few films and I know for sure it would have gotten a lot of flak in today’s hyper sensitive everyone-needs-to-feel-included climate.
  • The cars are ridiculous. I thoroughly laugh and enjoy that you can solve everything in this franchise with a car race!

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I’m beginning to realize that I’ve probably only seen four movies at most in this franchise. This certainly felt like the first time I saw this particular movie, but I’m sure I must have seen it as a teenager. The Fast and the Furious is without a doubt really corny, very predictable and sometimes ridiculous, but the franchise has managed to become one of my favorite because it spans so many years and has managed to improve with time

The first installment to this franchise is ridiculously bad. I enjoyed it because I am so fond of Dominic Toretto and his band of misfits, but it is no secret that the series only got much better later on. This movie is still clearly low budget and was probably constructed as a once off event, but it clawed into our hearts and remained there forever.