Milking The Franchise

You do not need to be a detective to realise that I like cars. In particular beautiful fast cars. It is therefore no surprise that I am a big fan of the Fast & Furious film franchise. I saw the first movie back in 2001 while at university in Leicester but the sequels I then saw many years later on DVD at home during Christmas. I had in fact got the trilogy for Christmas and decided to watch all three movies back to back over three consecutive evenings.

When I heard they were working on a fifth movie, I was not actually that interested. I had been disappointed in the 2009 reboot, which I had seen almost two years ago. It had lost a great deal of the magic of the first movie. It is difficult to put into words what that magic actually refers to. Obviously these macho movies are mainly aimed at the male demographic and I am sure even the staunchest feminist would agree. It is the story and the characters that perhaps felt rather stale, afterall, this was a reboot after a third movie which was only loosely connected to the first two.

My expectations completely changed earlier in the year (February I believe) after I saw the trailer on Apple Movie Trailers Lite via my forever trusted XBMC (on the original 2001 XBox). It appeared like a true return to form, the full return of the original cast and those from the second and third movie. I was in particular looking forward to the introduction of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. If anyone could give Vin Diesel a run for his money it was the ex-WWE wrestler. It was then just the wait for late April. This year the Summer Blockbuster Movie season would start early and with a big bang.

I asked my beautiful fiancĂ©, if she wanted to go and view the movie at our local multiplex, the Empire in Slough, but she had no care for the continuation of this particular franchise. Even though she had seen the first two movies, she had little opinion on them. Perhaps Paul Walker is losing his charismatic charm and cheeky smile. Second choice could only be my fellow car nut, Pav, so I made plans with him to catch the movie over the Bank Holiday Weekend. As he was busy with wedding plans and other delights at the weekend, the only “available” window with clearance from his fiancĂ©, Emily was Sunday evening, so I booked tickets for the 8pm showing in our second home, screen four at the Vue cinema in Reading. I had made the sacrifice of the Pearl & Dean titles for the plush surroundings of perhaps one of the better cinemas in the area (outside of London’s West End).

I had been washing my car at the in-laws in Langley and jumped in the car around 6:30pm to drive down to The Oracle shopping centre in plenty of time for the movie (I had a feeling it would be busy and on booking most of the seats had been taken.) People were making the most of a late Sunday night with no work for Monday morning. I collected tickets from the machine and then just waited outside on a bench for Pav. He was still having his dinner, so I had a good fifteen minute break, checking Twitter and Facebook. He did soon materialize and we then headed up the escalator to screen four after grabbing some popcorn. I was looking forward to this movie!

We were not disappointed. The film had everything we had come to expect and was overall highly entertaining. It was a return to the winning formula and I would even be as bold to say it was better than the original from ten years ago. Why such a glowing review? It was good fun, it did not take itself too seriously. The action started in record fashion, within the first minute of the movie and set the tone for the rest of the two hours. Sure there were some awesome cars on show and some rather crazy chase sequences but the highlight (for me in any case) was Luke “Lucas” Hobbs. The one liners had Pav and I in stitches but some of the rather macho scenes were hilarious to watch too (in particular the face off with Dominic Toretto). This was a film that did not take itself too seriously and as an audience we warmed to this understanding.

Lucas Hobbs

Check out the biceps on this guy! Would you really want to rub him up the wrong way? He put on a very convincing performance as a DSS Agent on the hunt for these car thieves that ‘landed on his desk’. I have not really watched many movies featuring The Rock in a prominent role recently (The Mummy and Welcome To The Jungle are from earlier in the decade). Check out some of the memorable quotes on IMDB, most of which are far too family unfriendly for me to repeat on my blog. He truly was a mad cowboy unleashed in Rio! If you have not seen this movie already, which rock have you been hiding under? Get yourself to your local multiplex and catch it before it disappears.

I follow the Daybreak newspresenter Tasmin Lucia Khan on Twitter. She had asked her followers and the Twitter community at large if she should go and see the movie. I sent her a few tweets urging her to check out the movie. Later that evening, I got a reply from the sexy television presenter. What more of a ringing endorsement do I need to give? Some may say that this franchise should have been killed off after the failed third attempt (some even after the second) but for me, it is a franchise worthy of one final road trip. Bring Fast Six is what I say and I am sure I am not alone, considering that Rotten Tomatoes rating. (78% and 88% respectively if you must know!)

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