Monday, April 02, 2018

Slow and Uneventful

Another bank holiday Monday.  Another rainy bank holiday Monday, to be precise.  It's a British tradition.  There are many ways I could have spent my bank holiday, many things I had thought that I might have done today.  But, in the event, I spent the better part of it lying on my sofa watching Fast and Furious 7.  There are many reasons as to how this came about, but the main reason was that, all this past long Easter weekend, I haven't felt at all well.  Yeah, I know that I haven't been well since January, but this was something different, I'm not sure if it was a cold or some other virus, but it left me feeling exhausted.  So, lying on the sofa watching something mindless seemed the perfect way of rounding off the long weekend.  I say 'mindless', but I have to say that I have a real fondness for the later films in the Fast and Furious series.  They are modern schlock personified.  Indeed, the first film in the franchise took its title from an old B-movie involving a wrongly accused man taking refuge in a car race as he tries to prove his innocence, thereby clearly signifying the direction Universal Pictures were intending for the series.  Actually, I found the early entries a bit stodgy, too tied to conventional crime movie tropes to be completely entertaining - they just didn't fully embrace their inherent schlockiness.

But from number five onwards, they have abandoned any pretence of realism and become increasingly ludicrous in all departments and therefore far more entertaining.  With their overblown action sequences, ridiculous dialogue and cartoonish characterisations, (let's face it, some of the leads, most notably Vin Diesel and The Rock, look like cartoon characters), the films have increasingly had the feel of being in the middle of someone's fever dream: the hallmark of true cinematic schlock, in my book.  To be slightly serious, though, the way in which the Fast and Furious films embrace racial and culture diversity is highly commendable.  Such inclusiveness is still relatively rare in action movies, which all too frequently seem to be driven by right wing agendas.  In fact, one of the most interesting things about the later movies in the series, with their globe-trotting, espionage fueled plots is that whilst Vin Diesel and his crew often end up working with and on behalf of various US departments, their motivation is never patriotism.  If they end up defending the 'American Way' and making the world safe for US-based multinationals, it's entirely inadvertent.  Their main motivation is to protect their extended multi-national, multi-racial and multi-cultural 'family': love of 'family' trumps love of country, it seems.  Indeed, in the one I watched this afternoon, even the main villain, (played by Jason Statham), is motivated not by money, by his love for his brother, (who was left comatose by Diesel and his associates at the end of the previous film).  In the final analysis, though, Fast and Furious 7 provided two and a half hours of undemanding, but very satisfying, entertainment on a rainy bank holiday afternoon.  Besides, what's not to like about a series of films which increasingly revolve around various bald headed hard men beating the crap out of each other? 



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