Let’s be honest….when “Fast Five” came out in 2011, a sequel to the first four less-than-critically-praised films of the “Fast & Furious” film series, it felt like a conclusion. We know director Justin Lin said several stories were planned to follow it, hence leading to “Fast & Furious 6” and “Furious 7” that saw the lead team of characters facing one of two brothers and becoming heroes, but it felt like a conclusion. The end credits of “Fast Five” had reels of footage that chronicled each actor’s involvement throughout the series (Seeing Ludacris with that afro again was a little painful). And then lead actor Paul Walker died during production of “Furious 7”, leading to one of the most heavily done re-edits that involved using computer-generated versions of him and using Walker’s real-life brothers as stand-ins as they resembled him. The movie ended up being surprisingly touching because for the first time, the film series had something to give it dramatic weight. And the story ended Walker’s journey well. He literally rode off into the sunset, parting with Vin Diesel’s character on an open road.
And honestly, that should have been it. The entire series was centered around the characters of Dominic Toretto (Played by Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Played by Walker). The entire series was recapped during Connor’s final bow. It felt like a perfect conclusion and a series that had started out as, basically, a “Point Break” rip-off had managed to find it’s own spirit. A tale of anti-heroes who slowly evolved into full-bred action heroes. It was a silly, senseless, but fun ride of ridiculous car-focused action scenes, goofy characters, and just a “family” of thieves who, through showing by pure motivation they were good at heart, ended up saving the day.
Sadly…it wasn’t the end. Almost halfway through the “Furious 7” theatrical run, Diesel announced a “Fast & Furious 8” would occur, quoting, “The seventh one was for Pablo, the eighth one is from Pablo.” He also stated that “Fast 8”, as he confirmed it’s title to be, would be the first of a final trilogy of films that, Diesel claims, was “Paul’s Vision” for the series and would return the characters back to their street racing roots of the beginning installments.
Along with the return of co-stars Michelle Rodriguez and Dwayne Johnson, as well as the return of “Furious 7” stars Jason Statham (Who played Ian Shaw, the villain) and Kurt Russell (Who played government agent Mr. Nobody), it seems to be it’s own tale to wrap up everyone’s tale now that Walker’s story had been concluded. It’s no longer about the “family” but about Diesel and, rumor has it, Russell’s character becoming a focus on the story. And, more over, rumor of spin-offs focusing around various characters in the ensemble of the series are in play. “We’ve written out story lines for various characters,” quoted Diesel. He went on to say, “We’ve been playing with it for a long time. It’s a very rich property and we’re committed to treating it with a lot of class.”
But…why? Why do this? Is there any chance these could be any good? Even with much of the cast returning; even with “Straight Outta Compton” director F. Gary Gray coming on board? What do you think “Sleuth News” followers? How many times can a group of characters be “Fast & Furious”?