The Fate of the Furious (***): Don’t think. It’s Meat

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The Fate of the Furious – 2017

Director F. Gary Gray
Screenplay Chris Morgan
Starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron

Don’t think that I don’t know that this series is as dumb as anything I have ever seen.

Don’t think I don’t want to see someone beaten like a Cherokee drum.

Don’t think that I don’t know that there is some serious man crushing going on between The Rock’s Hobbs and Statham’s Deckard.

Don’t think that it isn’t kind of cool to see all those cars fall from above in NYC.

Don’t think that it isn’t cool seeing Dom turn heel when they run out of story-lines.

Don’t think for a minute I can’t tell you’re trying to make Scott Eastwood a star eventually. And I hope it works well enough to give him a personality, too.

Don’t think I buy for a second that anyone who dies in this series is really dead. And the one guy who died outside the series will ever be shown as dead.

Don’t think I am any less tired of Tyrese Gibson’s Roman than I am of Dom “Meathead” Torretto.

Don’t think I don’t miss Sung Kang and Gal Gadot.

Don’t think I don’t know it’s not random choice that Theron’s Cipher makes when doling out punishment. It’s about as Random as Gadot dying just before her boyfriend Kang in part 6.

Don’t think I don’t enjoy watching The Rock kicking ass.We always need more Statham.

Don’t think I don’t enjoy watching Luda as a techno Wiz. I would buy anything he’s selling.

Don’t think that the snow chase isn’t as dumb as it is cool. More submarine, please.

Don’t think I can ever get enough of Helen Mirren.

Don’t think the laws of physics on this or any planet will apply.

Don’t think I don’t want to hear Roman stop yelling.

Don’t think any of this will ever make sense.

Don’t think that the grand master antagonist isn’t working for some other grand master antagonist in another movie down the line.

Don’t believe there won’t be a full immunity or full reinstatement at the end of every film.

Don’t think I don’t want to see Hobbs beat down Torretto.

Don’t think. It will all be better that way.

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Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (*****): More please

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Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 – 2017

Written and Directed by James Gunn
Starring  Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

I am so happy this film didn’t stink. It could be a little bit of an overreaction to the fact that it doesn’t that I feel that Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is the best film of the year so far and right on par with the best that Marvel has released into their Cinematic Universe. It sure feels like I will be watching this film with the same zeal and exuberance I have felt watching most of the films.

First of all, the characters have developed. Sure they are antagonistic as ever to each other, but they also show the propensity for caring not many ensemble casts are talented enough to do. Most obvious here is Drax (Bautista) with his awkwardly expanding foray into the world outside of the literal. His moments are consistently fresh, for such a seemingly limited character and actor, and it is a delight to see.

Speaking of limited, Baby Groot (Diesel) is the most adorable tiny version of a character to be in a sequel since Mini-Me. Every scene he is in draws out sympathy and affection, then a punctuated laugh. My favorite moments in the movie is when Drax calls Baby Groot the “smaller, dumber version,” and when Baby Groot beats on Drax for destroying his groove.

Many of the jokes in the film (and some carrying over from the previous film) have a tremendous payoff. Rocket (Cooper) breaks new ground in his establishment of a relationship with Yondu (Rooker). It might have been nice if the Racoon had been granted one liners consistently throughout, but there were so many characters, it’s tough to choose who’d be left out.

Rooker’s Yondu gets an excellent fleshing out with way more to do this time around. Some of the moves are telegraphed, but no less enjoyable when played against the plot.

Even the burgeoning romance between Quill (Pratt) and Gamora (Saldana) is played with a self-awareness of what normally happens at this point with “TV” relationships. Turning into the skid allows a certain grace with the audience for a second film. They’d better move past it by then.

Gamora is given a more complete reprise of her relationship with her adopted sibling Nebula (Gillan). The turn they take is one more conducive to her staying within the franchise and both actresses give an emotional heft to the story that is a pleasant addition to the standard sibling stuff.

Of the new characters, Mantis (Klementieff) and Ego, the Living Planet (Russell) have the most going on. Ego claims to be Peter’s dad, and he’s charming enough to convince us of anything. The faux crisis about his worthiness as a parent is finished quickly enough to move on to more interesting things. Mantis has an interesting character that fits sublimely with the rest of the team.

If I haven’t discussed the plot, it’s because the GOTG movies don’t really need to worry about the plot as much as making sure we can appreciate the fact that the gang is back and still loveable, even if a little different from before. In developing characters, we can enjoy it more despite what it lacks.

To be fair, the plot is a wholesale improvement over what they had last time. It’s more expansive and there is a desperation that one feels for the characters if not for the situation they encounter. It also helps to know not everyone is safe. Yes, and it’s not a spoiler alert.

Pratt is more comfortable in doing less this time around. His job on the team is to play straight man to a bunch of clowns, and he accepts this job willingly. That we don’t have to negotiate his screen time or make all of his actions heroic is a huge plus. There is no other leading man in the Marvel Universe with his unforced appeal.

James Gunn took this series right where it needs to be as a placeholder while waiting for the next Avengers film. He’s taken the reigns of the stories and made the comic his own, all while staying in focus with Feige’s overall scope. He’s completely in his comfort zone, and still treating the property like it is an opportunity, rather than a burden. He is the series most effective creative force.

This film is great, even for those who will say it lacks the freshness of the original. Think to yourself, how many more times will you be seeing Bradley Cooper playing a sarcastic and violent raccoon? When will you ever see Baby Groot again?

Stop taking this marvelous thing for granted. Go watch it.

(***** out of *****)

Furious 7 (***1/2): Meatball Hallmark Card

Furious 7 – 2015

Director James Wan
Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham
Screenplay Chris Morgan

If one could sum up the entire Furious franchise in 3 phrases, it would be:

I don’t have friends. I got family.

I live life a quarter-mile at a time.

One last ride.

At this point, the gang is on their 3rd consecutive last ride. This time it was made especially poignant in the untimely death of co-lead Paul Walker. The filmmakers made the wise choice to re-shoot parts of the film as an impromptu tribute to a person who had become a key figure in the lives of the cast and crew of this most uniquely enduring franchise. To think it all started as Point Break in fast cars…

In a strange twist often mentioned in the past, the movies went to the edge of American Pie Presents Band Camp status, backed up and headed right into Italian Job and then James Bond. To say this was planned would be disingenuous. Most of the actors, including Diesel, have tried and failed to come up with outside franchises. Fast and Furious, though, is like the really big fuel injected engine that could. The success of the franchise has made many fans that were casual into looky loos. And even if each film produces as many cringe-inducing moments as awe-inspiring ones, it is a tribute to the people involved that they have made it into the Juggernaut we see today.

This time around finds the group looking down the barrel of Deckard Shaw. Deckard is the brother of Owen, the antagonist from the last film who now is resting comfortably under maximum guard at the hospital. That is until Deckard obliterates the guard and most of the hospital just to tell the staff to take good care of Owen. This is ridiculous of course, because by destroying the facility, he has negatively affected the chance of his brother getting said good care. As if that is not enough of a reminder, we then see more of what we ended the last film with; the death of Han (featured in 3 films now), the explosion of a package that has arrived from Deckard (seen in two) and the maiming of Hobbs (Johnson). Apparently, the creative staff think the viewers have short memories.

Dom goes to visit Hobbs in the hospital, then goes to pick up Han and gathers the team together for Han’s funeral. If you can’t guess what will happen at the funeral, you get no Parmesan for your meatball. Dom gets acquainted with the new antagonist, and then gets to meet the new covert ops guy, Petty (Russell). That this meeting prevented the conclusion of the movie from happening 30 minutes in is not lost on either Dom or Petty, but that’s okay, we have another 1.5 hours to fill. Petty tells Dom he and his team need to get a MacGuffin called God’s Eye from some bad guys, capture the person of interest that has something MacGuffinish to do with God’s Eye and get them both back to Petty. Then, Petty says, Dom can use the God’s Eye to track down Deckard, who was just in front of him minutes ago, until Petty interfered. That’s okay, though, because Petty is a professional who was smart enough to hire an amateur for…one last ride.

Or three last rides.

Now the real jet setting begins. Dom and company go from the Los Angeles Caucasus Mountains to Abu Dhabi and then back to Los Angeles. They drop in cars from a military cargo plane, crash down a mountainside multiple times, dress up and sneak into a party, crash, jump, crash, jump and crash again through the Etihad Towers, fight it out in an old abandoned warehouse, and then tear the hell out of downtown L.A. before they approach a conclusion. There is literally more damage in this film than the last Godzilla movie. If you think I have ruined any part of this for you, you have not seen the rest of these movies. Literally the only surprise they’ve ever had was dragging the safes through town in Fast Five.

It’s completely taken for granted that whenever they arrive in a new country, they will immediately arrive in a row of expensive cars. What is also a given is no matter how much damage they cause, no one will ever question them and they will never have a problem walking out of that scene and driving into the next in another bunch of expensive cars.

All of this ridiculous action is augmented by the fact that they have collected a group of characters that we have learned to care about through sheer force of the will of all involved in making the film. They each have a few moments to shine in each episode, along with many requisite scenes that hammer the limitations of their characters into the story. This would normally be for the uninitiated. Until I brought my friend Binage, I had not met someone who hadn’t seen at least one of the films who started with in the middle somewhere. He enjoyed it though.

I enjoyed it too, despite all the belly laughs of incredulity. Through all the explosions, all the crashes, the litany of bullets, and the absolute defiance of the concept of gravity, this film really works. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the film is how all of the characters (and the people who play them outside of Bridges, Russell and Johnson) completely lack any sort of self-awareness. It’s almost like a joyful, loving Bronson film. Were it not for Walker’s tragedy, perhaps the defining point of the series would have been when Diesel stomps on a parking garage roof as it is cracking…and a large part (perhaps a quarter-mile) of the concrete  actually breaks away! We should never think of Vin as a short guy again.

The glory in lacking an understanding of who you are results in other great moments, like when, in a flash back scene, we see two characters get married. My friend Binage, until now caught up in the action, leans over and says:

“What kind of guy wears a wife-beater to his own wedding?”

Through it all, the acting is consistent, if not Shakespearean. Walker gets a fitting tribute for the simple fact that they did not take the easy way out. It’s a beautiful statement that choose to alter the formula of the surprise mid-credits scene to set up the next film to give the character the kind of closure he did not get in life.

Throughout the story, however, one gets the sense of déjà vu. Brian is in the midst of fatherhood, now driving a mini-van. He’s frustrated, saying he misses the bullets more than he misses the cars. His woman, Mia (Brewster), hems and haws much like she did last time and tells him over the phone that they are expecting another kid, this time a girl. So if one kid didn’t make him want to retire, the second should do the trick. What would they have done if he’d been around for the next few films? I get the feeling that 5 kids would not be enough to prevent him from taking yet another last ride.

Despite it’s flaws, or maybe because of them, Vin Diesel and company have created a memorable franchise out of ashes. And I am sure this “family” will be around for a while more. In the haze of bad dialogue and forced dramatic tension, there is a brilliant line delivered by Dom that steals the show and demonstrates the draw that the little lug has on the heartstrings of ‘Murica. In a tender moment shared with Letty, she asks him why he had not revealed more of their past together before she recovered from her 3 movie amnesia spell. With complete sincerity, he looks at her an says:

You can’t tell someone that they love you.

Right about now, I think everyone involved with this unlikely saga knows that they are loved.

(***1/2 out of *****)

Guardians of the Galaxy (*****): Super Awesome Mix, Vol.1

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Guardians of the Galaxy – 2014

Director James Gunn
Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Peter Serafinowicz
Screenplay Gunn & Nicole Perman

I just saw the movie event of the summer.  And I waited until I saw it twice to be sure. Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the best, deepest and most fully integrated films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Never has a film been so loaded with references to other parts of the universe, without sacrificing the integrity of the story. This story is one of the deepest multi-character arcs since Silverado. What took the Avengers 6 movies to create, has been surpassed by 5 character arcs that most of its non-fan-boy viewers had never heard of 2 years ago. By the time the Nova Corps Officer Garthan Saal says “What a bunch of A-holes,” to the line up of 4 of our 5 characters, we are already invested in learning more about what makes them tick.

Even so, one can’t help but appreciate that it had been only been 4 of the team we had met by then. If they really didn’t care about telling a story, you would have met all 5 by then. James Gunn, however, knows what it’s like to tell a story that breathes. It’s not easy to place a pile of characters into an 2 hour story and make you care about some of them, much less all of them.

Young Peter Quill is placed firmly in our hearts almost instantly. We meet him outside of his mother’s hospital room listening to 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love” from the tape his mother gave him, Super Awesome Mix, Vol. 1. The song’s sadness permeates our senses in a way never imagined for a song that is essentially a synopsis to relationships of the Me-Decade 1970’s. If that’s not enough, he is taken away via spaceship almost immediately after. That has something to do with the mystery of his father.

That’s just the beginning though. Even my 7-year-old knew that the story was going to move forward several years later and she was thrilled to share that with me. When we pick Quill (Pratt) up again, he’s having an Indiana Jones moment. He calls himself Star Lord, too.  Instead of tension, though, we get another mood set through music.  This time through Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” he grooves his way to a site where he picks up this story’s MacGuffin, the orb, one of the infinity stones that Marvel is using to set up The Avengers III.

This orb is wanted by many people, and soon we have Gamora (Saldona) pursuing him at the behest of Ronan the Accuser (Pace) while Rocket (Cooper) and Groot (Diesel) are after a bounty on him placed by Yondu (Rooker).  Their combined scrap on the Nova Corps home world lands them all in the clink. It is there that we meet Drax the Destroyer. He invites himself into the fracas and eventually they all team up.  My 7-year-old knew that would happen, too.

Watching the team develop is fun, particularly because of the personalities involved.  We get real world examples, followed by quips of exposition. It’s a routine we’ve seen before, but seldom so casually effective. There is an economy of imagery and screenplay, but we get enough of this to make sense of the story and still be amused when we discover more.

Rocket and Groot are an incredible duo. Not unlike Han and Chewbacca, we have a hot head and his dedicated huge partner with the low word count.  If that is all there is, it’d be a disappointment. Groot has a vulnerability that is incredibly endearing. He is routinely cut down, with a quizzical look on his face.  He is always looking to Rocket for guidance, but it does not stop him from expressing a different opinion when appropriate. He has hands down the majority of the top scenes in the film. I will not give any away, but he has the most beautifully expressive brown eyes.

Rocket, he’s supposed to be a trigger happy mouth and he delivers. He is brash but never foolish as he makes others out to be. Rocket’s ideas always work, especially when it involves building stuff to get out of predicaments. We get a glimpse of what happened to create him (think Wolverine) and it makes us curious for more.

Gamora’s past is not a mystery.  We know that she and her sister Nebula (Gillian) are really subjects of grand nemesis Thanos. He calls them children, but like all of his children, they just come from places and groups of people he made dead. Neither of them are all that invested in Thanos’ or Ronan’s plans but we’ll see more of that later.

Drax’s story intersects with that of Gamora, and this is good for business. His rage helps form the group and is focused on Ronan and the orb and Ronan is focused on getting that orb. Eventually these forces have to meet.  And meet they do, in a big way. The great thing about Drax is that his one dimension is stretching into another one.  Maybe two.knowhere

The last 3rd of the movie has two major settings: outside planet Zandar and another on the planet’s surface. The battle outside the planet is huge with lots of explosions. There are plenty enough scenes for everyone it’s tempting to think it’s going to be over after the biggest boom. Of course it’s not.  We need to see Peter Quill’s big moment and we need to see Star Lord’s big moment. Beautifully, we are lead in with music. This time “O-o-o-h Child” leading to a delightfully bad Peter Quill dance off. Then Star Lord has his second huge moment.  No telling about the first.

I saw this movie with two girls aged 7 and 11. Neither were all that interested. They both stayed at attention the whole movie, and laughed throughout. See this movie if you like seeing characters who are growing in front of your eyes.  See it if you like worthwhile special effects that give to but do not overwhelm the story. See this if you want to experience a story firmly its own but also bursting at the seams with references that could pay dividends later. Or not. See Guardians of the Galaxy if you want to have as much fun as you’ve had in a long time.

(***** out of *****)

Fast & Furious 6: High Tech Lemonade

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Fast & Furious 6 – 2013

Director Justin Lin
Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson,Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Sung Kang, Luke Evans, Gina Carano, John Ortiz
Screenplay Chris Morgan

Into the void of PG-13 summer action sprang forth the 6th film in the Fast & Furious franchise.  There is a point to all of this speed and fury, I am sure of it.  To date, the most interesting point in the series happens in the credits of this film, which harkens back to the 3rd, seemingly throwaway episode, Tokyo Drift.  The rest of the films have been a progression from “…stealing DVD players, trades up, ends up heisting over $100 million in Rio,” as stated so eloquently by the film’s generic bad guy, Owen Shaw, played with almost no memorable traits by Luke Evans.  Evans has the ability to be great in films that should be mediocre (The Three Musketeers) as well as the ability to hide his charm completely (The Raven).  Here he is all charm no greatness.  What he does have is a fast, flat car with tires that don’t pop when flipping bigger cars.  The car doesn’t slow down at all, either.

That’s the movie, though, isn’t it?  Muscle cars, and musclebound guys.  Both facets are most capably represented in the form of Vin Diesel, who is at home in all the glorious hogwash.  He rips through the clichéd script and action sequences with a beautiful smugness that shows he is in for the ride of his life, even if it comes in 20 parts.  Judging by the struggle he’s had to make Riddick into a practical commodity, it make take 20 parts to keep his other projects going.

Truth is, as powerful of a supporting cast as is present in the Fast & Furious series, none of the other cast, outside of Johnson, have the ability to carry a film.  In this way, it’s kind of a supporting actor’s version of The Expendables.  That might be cutting it a little or a lot short.  The latter series is a continued act of desperation to salvage the career of Stallone, whereas, the Diesel series feels more homogenous, and like there is an overall plan, even if the scripts are rip offs of films like Point Break, The Italian Job or The French Connection.  At this rate, the next theft should be Citizen Kane.

Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster look like an awesome runway couple.  It still doesn’t look like she’s had a baby, and I haven’t seen either of these kids in anything outside the series since it started.  Walker get’s his own sequence inside the clink here, and even if it is a bit superfluous, it still looked cool.

Gibson has the Transformers series going for him, and he may be approaching Samuel L. Jackson numbers in the next decade if his luck holds out.   My favorite scene in the film occurs when he and Kang get their asses kicked by one bad guy.  It takes a confident pair of actors to not be the swiftest onscreen and still keep smiling.

Chris Hayes doesn’t do much this round.  He’s there to figure stuff out on computers and exuberantly remind the rest of the crew when things are not going well.  I’ll take that.

Michelle Rodriguez is back, with the requisite memory loss required for many characters who die off-screen.  There is a pleasure to behold when she goes up against MMA fighter turned actress, Gina Carano.  The first one is a draw.  I will give you one guess who wins the rematch between the girl Girl Fight and the mentor from Fight Girls.

Dwayne Johnson doesn’t do much here but glower, trade clichés with Diesel and fight the big guys.  That leaves Evans for Diesel in the end.

Let’s be frank, this stuff is crap.  The amount of tough guy language uttered in this film make Die Hard 2: Die Harder look like Bard.  For all the talk of family, going it alone, and this one’s on me, there is the feeling of comfort food.  It makes you dumber, bit by bit, but it also feels good.  I haven’t tried watching any of the films twice, though.  I don’t want to risk Cabin Fever in my homey utopia.   

I will leave you with some of the coolest dialogue in the film.  It’s verbose, but concludes with perhaps Diesel’s best delivery in the series:

Owen Shaw: You know, when I was young, my brother always said, “Every man has to have a code.” Mine: Precision. Use what you have, switch them out when you need to until you get the job done. It’s efficient. But you? You’re loyal to a fault. Your code is about family. It makes you predictable. And in our line of work, predictable means vulnerable. And that means I can reach out and break you whenever I want.
Dominic Toretto: At least when I go, I’ll know what it’s for.

I can’t wait for the next chapter.

(***1/2 out of *****)

Fast Five. Duh.

Fast Five – 2011

Directed by Justin Lin

Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, Joaquim de Almeida, Matt Schulze, Sung Kang

Written by Chris Morgan

This series is never going to end.  At a point where most franchises have long run out of steam, this one made the most money of any of the films in the franchise.  In fact, the only thing disappearing from the films are words in the title.  At this rate, by the time we get to the 10th film, it will be called, simply, appropriately F.  To celebrate or lament that this franchise is going to be a part of our lives for a good, but definitely not great, while.

The Good  

  • Any time a movie can start out in Rio, the customary shot is the big statue of Jesus, known as Christ the Redeemer.  It’s kind of a way of saying, yes, Jesus looms large, but he’s not going to do more than watch us flex our muscles as we drive in fast cars.  Even if the number one lunkhead wears a cross.
  • Reaction to the big reveal of Mia’s pregnancy showed that the series, vacuous as it is,  has a lot of heart.
  • The Rock kicks ass in this film, but he doesn’t think much.
  • “Gonna do one last job…” is kind of a funny line when it comes from Vin Diesel, who has done bupkis outside of this series lately.
  • de Almeida is a great bad guy who’s never been in a movie he deserves, since Clear and Present Danger.
  • Seeing a bunch of wanted guys driving through the middle of town keeping tabs on the bad guys seems unlikely, especially when the bad guys are all looking for the good guys.
  • Ballsy to not even bother showing how they won the little light blue Ducati.  And then to drive it around the warehouse so smoothly like that?  Sweet.
  • Nice touch to let the Asian guy (Kang) get the hot Mossad agent (Gadot).
  • Vince is Fredo, but Dom is not Michael, he’s nicer than Michael.
  • The chase with the two cop cars towing the vault, while against all laws of physics, is pretty bad ass.

The Bad

  • A prison break with a bus rolling a dozen times with no one getting hurt?  Likely.
  • “If there’s anything illegal happening in Rio, Reyes is involved,” is a good sign that perhaps the cops should hang out in front of Reyes’ house.  They don’t, of course.  They chase the guys who have fast cars.
  • Why rebuild a car just to find out the computer in the dashboard has a chip missing.
  • The big bad guys always kill little bad guys in front of number 2.  This is not to show the number 2 he is bad.  This is to show us that he is showing the number 2 he is bad.  Any number 2 would be well aware of this by the time he reached number 2.
  • “Stick to the plan,” is code for, “it’s not even the middle of the movie.  Keep doing cool stuff for a while.”
  • The good cops always find out “something big is going down” but are powerless to do anything but linger behind.
  • For a series that is supposed to be about stealing and racing cars, it’s beginning to look a lot like Ocean’s 14.
  • Dominic (Diesel) versus Hobbs (Johnson) would be much cooler if Hobbs wasn’t a foot taller.
  • I am pretty sure that Walker’s Brian is just in the film to be the token white guy.
  • Jordana Brewster seems to be even more anorexic with the progress of the pregnancy.
  • The big fight between Rock and Diesel was totally useless, given that there were guns on everyone else at that point, but it goes on for another minute or so anyway.  Of course no one really gets hurt, or even a scar.
  • Everyone without flak jackets or armor survives the ambush, while all the tough guys in T-shirts stand in the middle of the road and kill all the snipers, leaving number 2 alive, of course.
  • “You know I can’t let you go…” means, “Have fun, I am letting you go.”

The Ugly

  • “Go walk it off!” is another way of saying, “You’re lucky my chick’s here.”  Really they just mean, save the fights for later in the film.
  • Asking a cop if she is the only cop in Rio that one can trust is not usually a good sign.
  • Too much is made about the difficulty of breaking into police stations.  It happens all the time in movies.
  • No one beats Vin Diesel’s Dom in the movie, even when they win.  He’s the producer.
  • “We’re one hour away from the rest of our lives…” means you have to do a bunch of stuff, likely taking you more than an hour.
  • It’s clichéd brother is “It’s a suicide mission,” which means everyone will make out just fine, even the cop that was just your enemy who joined your team.
Overall, it’s a good Saturday movie, even on a Monday.
(***1/2 out of *****)