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Filed Under , , on March 31st, 2018

10 Things I Learned from Fast & Furious Movies

By Seth Kabala

Amy and I watched all eight Fast & Furious (FF) movies over the past couple of weeks. We had seen the first couple, but nothing post Paul Walker (RIP), and it had been years since the franchise debuted, so we started at the beginning. They are pure escapist pleasure, short on substantive plotting, long on witty dialogue, surprisingly good acting, cast chemistry, and smoldering (literally) action scenes. You don’t watch FF movies to bone up on how to win an Oscar; you watch them to have fun. However, lessons do abound. Here are 10 things I learned:

1. Movie 1–Whether outpacing Asian street gangs or trying to beat a train to the quarter mile crossing, your performance always improves when you drive with one arm while flexing your triceps.

2. Movie 2–Muscle cars develop special abilities when their drivers are under pressure to save a female compatriot, including flying and miraculously matching the speed of the watercraft they’re pursuing so as to allow legitimate stoppage upon touchdown, as opposed to caroming off the deck and into the water and certain death. It also helps to wear a stern expression of determination. In these movies, you think, therefore your car is.

3. Movie 3–Prequels that don’t realize they’re combo prequels/sequels/spin-offs/foreshadowing/something-or-other take a long time for story payoff. But when payoff comes, they make a surprising amount of sense, and almost make up for the presence of the most annoying red-neck, backwoods accent I have ever heard. Almost.

4. Movie 4–The potential riches from working as a driver for a drug cartel are enough to overshadow the fact that NO DRIVER EVER COMES BACK. If you’re looking for good sales training, look no further than the drug cartels. They have perfected the art of explaining away the disappearance of ALL OF THEIR EMPLOYEES. Selling magic.

5. Movie 5–When all your plans go to hell, don’t forget the smash and grab, this neat entry in the Deus Ex Machina line will come through. The audience buys it because the audience wants to buy it.

6. Movie 6–Dominic Toretto is an idiot. I never understood the chemistry between him and Letty. Elena is the superior woman on many fronts—physical beauty, smarts, acting chops, to name a few. Despite all this, for purposes of story integrity (pardon me while I laugh), when Dom discovers Letty is alive, he leaves Elena to find Letty, and I mean LEAVES leaves. Family is family. I get that. But this is one familial relation where the romantic element never held a flame for me. My negativity may relate to my holding a candle for Marlena of 90s Days of Our Lives fame (notice the similarity). My biases aside, if you said “Nooo!” when Dom left Elena, raise your hand. Thought so. How could he leave her trapped behind that wall— … I mean, trapped within the world of that cartel. Now I’m getting my stories mixed up. Thanks, FF, for your mastery of simultaneously entertaining and confusing.

7. Movie 7–As with any good franchise, if it keeps the money printing presses humming night and day, the director will shoehorn it into the story. Shooting a bag of grenades, air-dropping cars, driving—no, flying—a (noticeably lightweight) supercar between three skyscrapers–the nonsense rolls off the assembly line faster than smartphones made in Japan. Maybe there’s a theme here?

8. Movie 8—Charlize Theron is not my favorite actress. Even so, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt, but she lost me with her partial dread-locked echos-of-Predator hairdo and her psychotic behavior that belied commitment to her stated purpose. To get people to perform at their best, I’ll threaten their family, kill their family at random, and run away like a bitch when Jason Statham miraculously saves the day. Of course she had to get away. How else could the franchise money printing presses keep rolling? Hope she remembered to return that wig to Predator. He’s gonna be pissed.

9. Movies 5-8–To Dwayne Johnson, please stop saying “sumbitch.” You are a fine actor, but you are disgracing yourself. Try saying “lily-livered codfish” instead. It would be less image damaging.

10. Movie 11–Gal Gadot’s career is soaring. If this continues, by the time this movie comes out (reportedly in 2020), Gisele’s resurrection will be at hand. Han’s, too. Jesus agrees with me, and since it’s the day before Easter, you really can’t argue with the Man.

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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