1. Home
  2. entertainment
  3. news
  4. The 'Fast & Furious' franchise should have ended 3 movies ago — sorry

The 'Fast & Furious' franchise should have ended 3 movies ago — sorry

Ayomikun Adekaiyero   

The 'Fast & Furious' franchise should have ended 3 movies ago — sorry
  • Warning: Major spoilers for "Fast X," which is in theaters now.
  • Insider entertainment reporter Ayomikun Adekaiyero argues that the franchise should have ended with "Furious 7."

I'm going to say it: the "Fast & Furious" franchise should have ended with "Furious 7."

The blockbuster series could have ended on a high, having tied together various story arcs from the early movies, while also serving as a perfect tribute to late lead actor Paul Walker, who helped build up the series before his tragic death in 2013.

Instead, the "Fast" saga is continuing to clock unnecessary miles going up and down the same stretch of road.

If you've lost count, "Fast X" has just hit theaters and it's the 10th movie — not including the "Hobbs & Shaw" spinoff — in the series about Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his ever-growing proverbial family.

Long story short: Toretto and company are under attack (again) by a villain with advanced technology and hacking abilities (again) who wants revenge for a relative the family has harmed in the past (again).

And therein lies the problem with the last few "Fast & Furious" movies. Originality has been tossed out of the car window faster than you can say, "Ready, set, go."

"The Fast and the Furious." the movie that started it all, was a simple-but-exhilarating tale of an undercover cop exploring the illegal street-racing scene. "2 Fast 2 Furious" combined that with elements of the buddy-cop movie, while "Fast Five" and "Fast & Furious 6" niftily added elements of the heist and spy genres while staying true to Dom, Brian, and Letty's love of high speeds and open highways. And "Furious 7" is notable because its homage to Walker is a surprisingly poignant exploration of the value of chosen family.

By contrast, the last three "Fast" movies have felt soulless — rehashing the same espionage plot, albeit with bigger budgets, and bigger casting coups (see: Oscar winners Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren, and Brie Larson).

Every villain is a super-hacker chasing some technological doohickey that will help them take over the world. The "Fast" family always gets framed for the villain's crimes and they have been put on the most-wanted list at least three times at this point. Even Dom's speeches about being family are diminishing in esteem after being repeated so many times.

It seems the producers of "Fast" — Vin Diesel included — are content with the big box office numbers that their copy-and-paste sequels continue to generate, and too afraid to risk tinkering with the formula.

Look, the "Fast" movies aren't going to win best picture at the Oscars, but that doesn't mean we can't crave a little more substance.

Just some of the issues plaguing the franchise:

What the hell is the Agency?

The clandestine espionage organization first appeared in "Furious 7," and plays a larger role in "Fast X," but we're still no clearer on what the Agency actually does or who runs it. So why should we care?

The locations are no longer exciting

When we were first transported to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in "Fast Five," the contrast between downtown Rio and the city's favelas gave us a real sense of place — the city felt real, lived in, and central to the story.

But the return to Rio in "Fast X" shows how drastically things have changed. Gone is that sense of character, and now the city feels like yet another interchangeable sunkissed backdrop to increasingly bigger death-defying stunts and comical explosions.

Even if we can forgive the credulity-stretching, physics-defying mission into space in "Fast 9," going bigger doesn't necessarily make for better.

I think I've seen this film before…

One key scene in "Fast X" is basically a rehash of a plot twist the movies have already done before, and it feels like shock value for shock value's sake.

The resurrection of Gal Gadot's Gisele— who seemingly died in "Fast & Furious 6" — isn't nearly as impactful considering the franchise has previously killed off and brought back characters Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Han (Sung Kang).

Unlike Letty and Han's resurrections, through which the franchise provided justice for characters who were killed too early, Gisele's return feels unnecessary. Sometimes heroes need to stay dead for their sacrifices to matter.

It seems that like Mirren, Larson, and Dwayne Johnson — who also returns in "Fast X" — the franchise is simply cashing in on Gadot's post-'Fast" fame as Wonder Woman, letting star power do the talking instead of storytelling.

The "Fast" franchise began running out of nitrous several movies ago, and instead of roaring to the finish line — there are apparently at least two more movies in the works to wrap the series — it is sputtering to it.

Popular Right Now