Have you ever found yourself getting nostalgic for something that you, up to that point, would’ve never imagined you’d ever feel nostalgia for? Well, that’s precisely what happened when we first saw the trailer for Fast & Furious back in January. We never held the original film with anything even remotely resembling regard, nor did we bother to see either of the film’s first two sequels. But, for some odd reason, audiences seem to be foaming at the mouth with anticipation for the onscreen reunion of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster that’s happening in theaters this weekend. It’s not like any of the four have built themselves into massive movie stars since the original film’s 2001 release, nor does anyone expect this film to be a bold reinvention of the “fast cars, hot chicks” genre of filmmaking. Even Michelle Rodriguez admitted to the New York Times that she “feels in a sense that [she’s] a tool, a tool for the character to do a bunch of really cool things, like doing stunts and killing people.” So, then, what is it that people are so excited about?
Unfortunately, Dave Itzkoff’s piece from the Sunday Times doesn’t really do a great job of tackling that question. He spends plenty of time talking about what the years since the original was released have held for the film’s four leads (basic answer: not much) and what prevented them from doing a proper sequel before now (basic answer: Vin Diesel’s ego), but we don’t get much in the way of analysis as to what it is that audiences find so fascinating about this particular foursome, either then or now. Michelle Rodriguez has a theory, though:
But [Rodriguez] concluded that moviegoers would ultimately respond to the new film’s spirit of teamwork and familiarity. “This is a subculture that never saw themselves before on screen,” she said. “They were there for the birth” of the series, she said, “so they’re going to come back to see what we’re up to.”
Excellent point, Miss Rodriguez; the original was one of the first big Hollywood action hits to feature an ethnically and culturally diverse set of characters, and it certainly helped shed new light on underground car culture (along the way helping give birth to shows like Pimp My Ride). It also doesn’t hurt that the film seems to have taken a turn for the Bourne, in that director Justin Lin seems to have injected a Greengrass-ian spirit of realism into the film’s action set pieces. But VultureWatchers, what say you? Are you excited for a lowbrow cinematic thrill ride? Are you waiting for Netflix? Or are you skipping entirely?
What a Stunt! Can They Do It Again? [NYT]