The old gang is back together as James Wan will make his mark on one of Hollywood’s most outrageous and profitable franchises of all time: The Fast and the Furious.
Taking the reigns from Justin Lin who directed the previous 4 installments, Wan is milking the tagline for the basis of the new Fast and Furious 7 being a ‘new model, original parts’. Thus commenting on the return of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster to name a few of the original cast. It appears this series is in no rush to slow down, and the Hollywood machine is soaking in the unqualified success these films produce. Why then, have these formulaic and seemingly repetitive movies held so strong with audience and box office numbers?
The first of the franchise opened in theaters in June 2001, the first of it’s kind caricaturing underground car cults. For having relatively unnamed stars, the movie grossed $40 million dollars on it’s first weekend, followed by the second feature 2 Fast 2 Furious in 2003 which racked in another impressive $50 million.
By the sixth, it was at a comfortable $200 million in domestic gross. Opening this past Thursday, it achieved Marvel and Hunger Games numbers with a triumphant $15.8 million in a single night. It’s apparent the over-indulgence and exaggerated action works with the audiences. The movies draw upon the capability to take the super-hero extraordinary-ism, and apply them to palpable circumstances of tangible means of high stakes action and adrenaline junkies. The characters subtly possess super-human qualities with chiseled physiques that when coupled with bombastic imagery and high contrast editing, allow for audience over-active imagination. Importantly, these movies remain shameless in what they have to offer. They give no apology for what critics consider “low-brow” entertainment, but come out more successful and respected than even the most artsy indulgences.
Commercially, the film can be criticized for it’s use of stereotypes, however it cannot be docked for it’s lack of diversity. Each character is distinguishable for more than just a god-sculpted face, but with important assorted personalities. Sometimes, for comedic or dramatic affect. Just because the characters are stock types, the creators make sure to have each respectable, to bring them closer to relatable real people. Even if the story isn’t your cup of tea, there’s no denying it’s the foundation of the film.
The Fast and the Furious franchise plays upon peoples “guilty pleasures” and inner crave for brainless larger than life cinematic adventure. No matter what type of film snob people may be, or how your demographic and personal tastes may influence the enjoyment of the films, it is undeniable that the filmmakers have successfully created unabashed fun. The type of fun that puts the money back in the studios, and has given an at least 7 movie run.