Cars not my favourite thing. I like a chase scene, sure, and I have a ridiculous soft spot for Top Gear. But cars in general are not enough for me to watch a movie or enjoy it.
The Fast and the Furious therefore is not an obvious movie for me to watch or enjoy. And I did enjoy rewatching it. I haven’t seen it in years, and I had forgotten most of what happens. The plot itself… well. It’s not quite the equivalent of Top Gun, where as far as I am concerned there’s awesome plane stunts broken up by a really crappy story. It’s a mixture of Top Gun for the stunts and the story of Point Break, since it’s basically exactly the same story – cop undercover in an exciting seedy possibly-criminal world, gets too close, and then what happens? Here, Brian is the cop; he’s trying to get in with Dom, an ace quarter-mile illegal drag racer who might be part of a criminal gang knocking over trucks filled with electronics.
What’s good about it? I like the interplay between Dom and Brian. It’s absolutely alpha-male pissing contest, but it’s got… joy, maybe, and genuine respect, tied in. There are some entertaining secondary characters – the suspicious yob, the nerdy one, and two girls who largely exist just for the sexual tension, except Letty does indeed race with the boys and is mighty good at it.
And I love the car scenes.
2 Fast 2 Furious I had not seen before, or if I had it was wiped from my mind… because Diesel is not in it, and seriously bro what is the point then?
Anyway, we watched it. Brian has left the cops and moved to Miami where of course he’s drag racing and gets in trouble. He ends up working for the police to try and catch a big drugs-cartel dude who’s laundering money. Brian drags a former friend into the action, so that we get white boy-black boy interactions to prove that Brian is really hip, bro.
There are some improvements in this film over the last. Suki is a serious racer chick, complete with lady posse, tricked out car, and awesome graphic design skills. And she gets completely tied up in the shenanigans. There are some come-on remarks, but it mostly comes across as genuinely being part of the way they interact – it’s not meant to be taken seriously. And yes, this is problematic I know, but… it’s better than some of the alternatives? The position of the undercover cop Monica is slightly more problematic, being all caught up in URST on Brian’s (and possibly her) part, but it’s still more nuanced than in the first.
But the plot leaves a lot to be desired, given that it’s kind of a rehashing of the first one anyway just with a nastier villain calling the shots and thus raising the stakes. Brian and Roman’s relationship – while entertaining – isn’t much on Brian and Dom’s. And I think there might be less driving.
Worst plot, best driving. So my darling described this film, and I think he’s right. Drifting is simply glorious, I think because while I can feasibly imagine driving very fast in a straight line, drifting is an utterly alien skill set. Also, it’s through Tokyo, and that just looks magnificent.
Also, there’s Han: Sung Kang. Dude is so cool he’s basically ice. He’s my very favourite. Plus DK – the stereotypical jumped-up wannabe villain with too much arrogance and testosterone, playing on his uncle’s yakuza ties – is actually pretty awesome too. If only because he does menacing beautifully.
Foreigner in Japan, making all the mistakes… blah. It’s just not done interestingly enough to make the cliche worth it. Also the father-son reconciliation makes no sense. And given that it’s all about a white boy learning drifting from the Japanese kids and then beating the best, it’s could be seen as another example of white man being better than non-white man at something that’s native. In a sense, anyway.
And look, I’m sorry to the Americans, but Sean’s accent really doesn’t help matters. (Neela’s Australian accent is also totally out of place and unlikely.)
A balanced diet: getting my nerd AND bogan on
This weekend has seen me both nerd it up and bogan it… down…
Saturday night we headed off to the first MSO Pops event for the year. It was called “Star Wars and Beyond,” so I was expecting it to be space-y type stuff, much like the one we went to a few years ago. Rather, it was subtitled “A celebration of John Williams,” so it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. There were still 5 pieces from Star Wars, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Superman, and Lost in Space… but we also got music from Memoirs of a Geisha, JFK, and Schindler’s List, to name just a few. The music was, of course, exceptional; the conductor was the same guy we saw do the space-themed one, and he did the same Superman joke – pulling his shirt apart – and he wore the Obi-Wan cloak, and even pulled out a Princess Leia hairpiece! He’s a good sport. Perhaps the best bit was him coming out on a tiny little bike, with a red hoody on and an ET in the basket in front….
With a 20 minute intermission, the concert lasted just over 2.5 hours, and by the end of it I was definitely done; my tolerance for instrumental music had definitely been reached. I have so many classical music aficionados among my friends that I sometimes feel quite guilty for not being that interested. But I realised something last night: I am not interested in being challenged by music. I am challenged in my reading, and I do not care to extend that to my ears. And that’s OK.
Today… well, today was different. Today we went to see Top Gear Live. We were three rows from the front, front on to the screens; we were close enough that when the flares flamed, and the cars were on fire, we could feel the heat on our faces. The ca-soccer was marvellous: played mostly with Reliant Robins (the three-wheeled jobbies), it was incredibly skilful driving. And there was a motorcyclist doing stunts that involved a JBC digger. But the bits in between the stunts… Jeremy Clarkson and James May were kinda funny; Richard Hammond wasn’t there so they’d replaced him with Steve Jacobson (Kenny), who was mostly unfunny; and sadly, the repertoire of jokes largely consisted of fat jokes, homophobin jokes, penis jokes, and poo jokes. Not the sorts of thing that are actually funny. If I had paid for the tickets, I would have been disappointed.
I did enjoy looking at the range of racing cars in the museum they had set up, though, with Mustangs and Corbettes and Alfas and Selbys… there is a little part of me that is quite the rev-head. I was sad that the rain had started when the performance finished, because it meant we didn’t get to see the drifting demonstration.
Jason Statham is an awesome action actor. He’s such a straightman, but delivers comedic lines gloriously. I believe he does lots of his own stunts – and frankly, the only reason to watch most (all?) of his movies is for the stunts.
This movie… well. Action? Tick. Dialogue? Not so much. Care factor of said balance? Not so much. Cos the action is So Cool.
Not the sort of film to watch if you want actual substance – but really, who does? I quite liked the quirky ending, though. And there’s no pretense at credibility, which I appreciated; it was designed and executed as exploding-chasing-gratuitousness, and that’s exactly what you get.
(See how I’m not even bothering to pretend at a plot description? It would be pointless. It’s not why you’d watch it.)
Ain’t no faffin’ around for my boy
So, on Monday, I was stuck on the Calder Fwy for an hour and a half because (it turned out) the alternator died. Fortunately, I realised something was going wrong with it, so I managed to pull off the road and not be a prime target for someone barrelling alon at 110kph.
This was after a weekend of discussion with my mother about how the poor old Subie was getting a bit old and J was looking online at car ads, teasing me that a van would be a good idea.
We bought a new (used) car on Friday. Fortunately for me, J recognised reality – that there is no way I’ll drive some monster to school – so it’s another Subaru.
See what I mean about no stuffing around?