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C'MON HOLLYWOOD: Why shooting the Fast Five sequels back-to-back is a bad idea

Oct. 6, 2011by: Mike Sampson

If Twitch is to be believed, FAST SIX and FAST SEVEN (or whatever you want to call them) will be shooting back-to-back next spring with Jason Statham in talks to join the cast. Not one to bury the lede, I'll just tell you straight up - this idea sucks.

Put the pitchforks and torches down for just a second - I'm a staunch advocate of FAST FIVE. To the occasional bewildered look of friends and colleagues, I espouse the sheer joy of all that is FAST FIVE at any chance I get. I went on a semi-insane rant about FAST FIVE on the JoBlo Podcast about how it does all the things right a movie like THOR gets all wrong.

I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back: FAST FIVE was the tits. Let's just be real about it. It got so many things right that so many other movies fail to even come close to grasping. It's stupid without being dumb. It's ridiculous without being preposterous. But most of all, it's just fucking fun In a summer when way too many movies somehow forgot this key element of, you know, actually enjoying movies, FAST FIVE served up heaping platefuls and let you come back for seconds. And this is coming from a guy who has never seen another FAST/FURIOUS movie!

It may seem strange that I'm taking such a strong stance on a franchise after only seeing one installment, but really FAST FIVE was a franchise reboot and I'm just coming in fresh here. I'm not really sure where this world was but I like where it's going. At least I did.

The idea of shooting back-to-back sequels may be a smart move financially for Universal - they lock the cast and crew down for two sequels for a packaged rate while budgeting less for one giant movie than they would for two big movies - creatively it stinks of disaster.

FAST FIVE set new creative highs for the franchise, one that could be continued through another new trilogy. But what made FAST FIVE work is completely contradicted by the idea of shooting back-to-back sequels. FAST FIVE worked because of one simple conceit: it never took itself too seriously. The very idea of back-to-back sequels - an idea too big for one movie! - you're already admitting you're going bigger

The FAST/FURIOUS franchise has a lot of potential but THE MATRIX this is not. There isn't a lot of need for exposition about the past of Vin Diesel's character who's name I can barely remember (Something Toretto, right?). I mean, the scene where Vin Diesel is reminiscing with Paul Walker about his dad is so bad it's good and that' just about all I need.

My biggest fear is that FASTs SIX and SEVEN turn out like some cinematic "Use Your Illusion." If you're too young to remember the now-20-years-old Guns N' Roses double album, a quick history. "Appetite for Destruction" came out in 1987 and despite what you might remember, was not an overnight success. In fact, "Welcome to the Jungle" wasn't even the debut single (the equally impressive "It's So Easy" was released four months earlier). But when it hit, it hit fucking hard.

At the time, "heavy metal" was clogged with pop glam bands like Bon Jovi, Poison and Cinderella. They all propped a certain attitude but you could tell a good deal of it was an act. GNR hit a chord because they weren't fake. They were equal parts raw, dirty, scary, gritty, badass and fun to listen to in a way that few other bands were. But as "Appetite" became an unexpected critical darling, Axl Rose and the other members of the band began drinking their own Kool Aid. And four years after "Appetite" they released "Use Your Illusion," a bloated, indulgent double album. And this, I fear, is the fate of FAST SIXSEVEN.

Just a few years after they were scaring the shit out of parents with their music videos, they were suddenly riding on dolphins (this is true, watch the "Estranged" video). There was suddenly the need and desire to go bigger, make grand statements and be about something other than heroin use and getting drunk. But what they never realized is that was what we liked about them. We had enough rock bands with big hair who thought they were really important. The best moments on the "Use Your Illusion" discs are the ones that are most like "Appetite" ("Back Off Bitch," "Garden of Eden" and "Get Into the Ring" among them).

FAST SIXSEVEN stand to lose all the good will they built up with FAST FIVE by going epic with their sequels because it's completely unnecessary. When has back-to-back sequels ever worked? THE MATRIX? PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN? LORD OF THE RINGS is the exception to this rule but let's not to pretend that FAST SIX and THE TWO TOWERS have anything in common.

It's perhaps a leap in logic to assume that just because they're filming back-to-back sequels that the film will be an indulgent mess but history is on my side. And the potential casting of Jason Statham seems to indicate they're looking to pack this film up with even more bald-headed action stars. This isn't another EXPENDABLES movie - the film does just fine with Vin vs. The Rock with Eva Mendes brought in for some added color. Do we need Statham just because the film is going to Europe?

It's only because I love the possibilities of the new FAST FIVE franchise so much that I worry about it getting bungled. It's good to know that the creative team is returning - including director Justin Lin who passed on the TERMINATOR sequel for these films - and I hope they'll have the temerity to pull this off and avoid the obvious pitfalls. Godspeed to the FAST SIXSEVEN team that they do this right.

Am I wrong? Am I getting my panties in a twist over spilled milk?

Source: JoBlo.com

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10:49AM on 10/06/2011
To be honest, I am in the middle on this column. As a person who has seen all of the fast and the furious films I did not expect Fast Five to be as fun as it was. The one thing I can say about the series is that Justin Lin's films (last three) are some of my favorite of the series and if he is behind the camera I have faith in him to deliver that over the top car porn that he is good at. Now the next two films could go either way, but why bitch now. We will see if there shit or good down the
To be honest, I am in the middle on this column. As a person who has seen all of the fast and the furious films I did not expect Fast Five to be as fun as it was. The one thing I can say about the series is that Justin Lin's films (last three) are some of my favorite of the series and if he is behind the camera I have faith in him to deliver that over the top car porn that he is good at. Now the next two films could go either way, but why bitch now. We will see if there shit or good down the road.
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10:51AM on 10/06/2011

C'mon

Fast five was OK not as good as other Blockbuster this year (Rise of the planet of the apes / Super 8). I really like the franchise but I think the characters are played out. To make the sequels any good they need to take this in a whole new direction. But I guess they're gonna play this safe and just stick to the old formula.
Fast five was OK not as good as other Blockbuster this year (Rise of the planet of the apes / Super 8). I really like the franchise but I think the characters are played out. To make the sequels any good they need to take this in a whole new direction. But I guess they're gonna play this safe and just stick to the old formula.
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2:38AM on 10/07/2011
Super 8 was a huge letdown after the monster or alien whatever appeared. It's called a popcorn flick for a reason.
Super 8 was a huge letdown after the monster or alien whatever appeared. It's called a popcorn flick for a reason.
11:03AM on 10/06/2011
Studios who make movies like this should make television shows instead. They know nothing about movies as a creative medium.
Studios who make movies like this should make television shows instead. They know nothing about movies as a creative medium.
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+15
11:48AM on 10/06/2011

You can't really write this article wiouth seeing the other four.

Fast Five wasn't the reboot. The fourth film was practically the reboot, and let's not forget Fast Five purposely stars the main characters from the other four movies in order to tie them all together a bit more coherently.

The Fast and Furious series ran out of ideas a very long time ago, all they did was move the heist up from the beginning of the first movie, to the entire plot of the fifth and found an energetic director who can shot a decent car/foot chase or ten. Don't get me wrong I
Fast Five wasn't the reboot. The fourth film was practically the reboot, and let's not forget Fast Five purposely stars the main characters from the other four movies in order to tie them all together a bit more coherently.

The Fast and Furious series ran out of ideas a very long time ago, all they did was move the heist up from the beginning of the first movie, to the entire plot of the fifth and found an energetic director who can shot a decent car/foot chase or ten. Don't get me wrong I enjoy them all on some very strange mental level, but to stand guard on Fast Five and say that they shouldn't do more sequels is a bit late in the game.

There's FIVE of them.....FIVE. Perhaps it was OK to think this was a bad idea when there was one, or maybe even two...but there's FIVE. If these films haven't disappeared or bombed hard yet, then there's no reason to expect they will in the sixth or seventh. They are basically the Friday the 13th of the brainless action genre, they might not have much in the way of character or story, but they do what they do to a decent enough degree that their fanbase will love them. I'm personally waiting for Fast and Furious IN SPACE.
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2:47PM on 10/06/2011
fast and furious=friday the 13th. pretty spot on actually
fast and furious=friday the 13th. pretty spot on actually
-9
11:50AM on 10/06/2011
Beyond my objection to the use of the phrase "the tits" as a synonym for "awesome," I mean... I used that in middle school... like once.

I have to agree with the Fast Five love, and all of your subsequent points.
Beyond my objection to the use of the phrase "the tits" as a synonym for "awesome," I mean... I used that in middle school... like once.

I have to agree with the Fast Five love, and all of your subsequent points.
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11:57AM on 10/06/2011
Fast and the Furious is a fun bit of popcorn crap with some lowbrow cheesy stars who owned the film in a "right time, right place, right moment" kind of a way. Fast 2 was a candy corn follow up so cheesy, so poorly written and so woefully shot that it made Fast 1 look like Bullitt (or Point Break...). Fast 3 was non-canonical save for a couple of cameos, Fast Four was forgettable but Fast Five KICKED ASS! The return of a balls out guns and car chases action film with heart. We cared about the
Fast and the Furious is a fun bit of popcorn crap with some lowbrow cheesy stars who owned the film in a "right time, right place, right moment" kind of a way. Fast 2 was a candy corn follow up so cheesy, so poorly written and so woefully shot that it made Fast 1 look like Bullitt (or Point Break...). Fast 3 was non-canonical save for a couple of cameos, Fast Four was forgettable but Fast Five KICKED ASS! The return of a balls out guns and car chases action film with heart. We cared about the characters, the danger was palpable, the money shot sequences delivered. It was a perfect pop corn summer action flick, worthy of Point Break-rip off status.

If they want to shoot the 6th and 7th films back to back, I'm fine with it so long as it keeps the balanced tone and skillful action set pieces of Fast Five.

BRING ON THE HEIST-ERA OF THE FAST AND FURIOUS FRANCHISE! FUCK RICE ROCKETS AND CHICANAS!
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12:10PM on 10/06/2011
I really don't think that the fast movies have enough substance to them to warrant anyone being this concerned with the franchise's fate. They're popcorn movies, that's it. It's not like the writers have a ton of pressure to come up with something brilliant in the narrative department. Just how much effort do think it took to write fast five anyways? Sorry, but I think a teenager could of written it.
I really don't think that the fast movies have enough substance to them to warrant anyone being this concerned with the franchise's fate. They're popcorn movies, that's it. It's not like the writers have a ton of pressure to come up with something brilliant in the narrative department. Just how much effort do think it took to write fast five anyways? Sorry, but I think a teenager could of written it.
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12:55PM on 10/06/2011

I hate to be this petty but...

...how can you say 'Fast Five set new creative highs for the franchise', when you've admitted to having not seen the previous Fast films?
...how can you say 'Fast Five set new creative highs for the franchise', when you've admitted to having not seen the previous Fast films?
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+1
1:40PM on 10/06/2011
I could really care less about the sequels but I have to respond to the writer comparing this to Use Your Illusion 1 and 2. What he seems to forget is that those albums produced great songs. Bloated, indulgent, campy, but great songs. If you can look past the comparison with Appetite For Destruction and the extraneous tracks you can really enjoy the albums for what they are.
I could really care less about the sequels but I have to respond to the writer comparing this to Use Your Illusion 1 and 2. What he seems to forget is that those albums produced great songs. Bloated, indulgent, campy, but great songs. If you can look past the comparison with Appetite For Destruction and the extraneous tracks you can really enjoy the albums for what they are.
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2:41PM on 10/06/2011
nice 80's metal analogy
nice 80's metal analogy
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+0
3:42PM on 10/06/2011

one other reason

for the back to back shooting of the Rings movies was the ages of Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee. Had they done the movies one at a time they ran the risk of one of them taking a turn for the worst 4 or 5 years down the road. The Fast/Furious does not have this to overcome.
for the back to back shooting of the Rings movies was the ages of Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee. Had they done the movies one at a time they ran the risk of one of them taking a turn for the worst 4 or 5 years down the road. The Fast/Furious does not have this to overcome.
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4:11PM on 10/06/2011

DIESEL/ROCK/STATHAM/MENDES/LETTY

Justin Lin has turned this franchise around. Anyone who has seen 2 Fast 2 Furious knows what I am talking about. Yes Tokyo drift was not that great but Lin did the best he could with the story. He has gotten exponentially better with "Fast and Furious" and "Fast Five" Now with the Diesel . Rock. Statham .Mendes. Letty story line I am more excited than ever!!!!
Justin Lin has turned this franchise around. Anyone who has seen 2 Fast 2 Furious knows what I am talking about. Yes Tokyo drift was not that great but Lin did the best he could with the story. He has gotten exponentially better with "Fast and Furious" and "Fast Five" Now with the Diesel . Rock. Statham .Mendes. Letty story line I am more excited than ever!!!!
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+2
6:24PM on 10/06/2011
I can agree with you, but I also kind of consider Fast Five a fluke. The series has been all right, but it was never great. Even for action films, they were okay. Fast Five was a great action film, and I just can't see the series doing it again. It really is hard to imagine. If they can do it, more power to them, but I'm not holding my breath.
I can agree with you, but I also kind of consider Fast Five a fluke. The series has been all right, but it was never great. Even for action films, they were okay. Fast Five was a great action film, and I just can't see the series doing it again. It really is hard to imagine. If they can do it, more power to them, but I'm not holding my breath.
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7:44PM on 10/06/2011
Actually you may not realize but several great movies at one time or another were done back to back. In fact there are 2 other franchises that are doing the same thing: Avatar and the Hobbit. Besides it sometimes work especially if there is a cliffhanger ending ie back to the future 2 and harry potter and the deathly hallows which also was filmed back to back. There are plenty of ways this could go but I think they are in part doing this so that they can hopefully close it out completely.
Actually you may not realize but several great movies at one time or another were done back to back. In fact there are 2 other franchises that are doing the same thing: Avatar and the Hobbit. Besides it sometimes work especially if there is a cliffhanger ending ie back to the future 2 and harry potter and the deathly hallows which also was filmed back to back. There are plenty of ways this could go but I think they are in part doing this so that they can hopefully close it out completely.
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9:37PM on 10/06/2011
I just hope it's called "Furious 6"
I just hope it's called "Furious 6"
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9:55PM on 10/06/2011
filming back to back by itself, isn't enough to make me think it will be good or bad. I can think of good and bad examples of that method, I say let's just wait and see.
filming back to back by itself, isn't enough to make me think it will be good or bad. I can think of good and bad examples of that method, I say let's just wait and see.
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11:15PM on 10/06/2011
I think you are pretty off-base here. First off, "Fast and Furious" (the fourth film) was the reboot. This one (the best in the series) picks up right after that one ends. As for filming these back-to-back, I am for it. As for Statham, as much as I love him, I don't think it's a great move.

Side note- Why all the hate on "Thor"? IMO, it's the third best film of the summer, and better than "Fast Five".
I think you are pretty off-base here. First off, "Fast and Furious" (the fourth film) was the reboot. This one (the best in the series) picks up right after that one ends. As for filming these back-to-back, I am for it. As for Statham, as much as I love him, I don't think it's a great move.

Side note- Why all the hate on "Thor"? IMO, it's the third best film of the summer, and better than "Fast Five".
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12:08AM on 10/07/2011

What the ....!?

Sorry, but I love this franchise and I'm sure with Vin and Lin at the helm this could be one of the few back to backs that could pull it off. See, I go to the movies to be entertained and have a good time, not for artsy fartsy power hour with all the nubes. Also, I would love the addition of Statham. These are the 3 best action heros out there (modern day Sly, Arnold, and Bruce). Aside from their popular franchises I hope after this they each go on to do a bit more original tentpoles. Of course
Sorry, but I love this franchise and I'm sure with Vin and Lin at the helm this could be one of the few back to backs that could pull it off. See, I go to the movies to be entertained and have a good time, not for artsy fartsy power hour with all the nubes. Also, I would love the addition of Statham. These are the 3 best action heros out there (modern day Sly, Arnold, and Bruce). Aside from their popular franchises I hope after this they each go on to do a bit more original tentpoles. Of course Vin is gonna do Riddick which he should. Rock as mad potential and I'm sorry but Statham has better range than people think...
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1:20AM on 10/07/2011

Use Your Illusion

So two albums that have gone 7x Platinum are what you're comparing Fast 6 & Fast 7 to? I'm also not sure back to back filming is a good idea, but, crap...I lost my train of thought and now just keep thinking about Stephanie Seymour.
So two albums that have gone 7x Platinum are what you're comparing Fast 6 & Fast 7 to? I'm also not sure back to back filming is a good idea, but, crap...I lost my train of thought and now just keep thinking about Stephanie Seymour.
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1:37AM on 10/07/2011

Lame series

First off, this movie series is garbage and Paul Walker is one of the worst actors of this generation, right up there with Taylor Lautner. He alone makes me not want to watch these. I also find it sad that so many people are so desperate for an action movie that all of a sudden these turds are the high mark. These things will be forgotten in 5 years, unlike many of the great 80's action movies...
First off, this movie series is garbage and Paul Walker is one of the worst actors of this generation, right up there with Taylor Lautner. He alone makes me not want to watch these. I also find it sad that so many people are so desperate for an action movie that all of a sudden these turds are the high mark. These things will be forgotten in 5 years, unlike many of the great 80's action movies...
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-1
4:11AM on 10/07/2011
Your Use Your Illusions analgy is lost on me, those albums gave us one of the greatest songs ever written (As well as one of the greatest Music Videos ever made) in November Rain!

I have enjoyed the Fast/ Furious franchise. Part 2 was a bit shit, but 3 was not really a Fast/ Furious movie but I still found it entertaining. Part 4 and 5 were excellent in bringing this new story to light and they have built up a great story to build on with new movies and if they say they have enough story to
Your Use Your Illusions analgy is lost on me, those albums gave us one of the greatest songs ever written (As well as one of the greatest Music Videos ever made) in November Rain!

I have enjoyed the Fast/ Furious franchise. Part 2 was a bit shit, but 3 was not really a Fast/ Furious movie but I still found it entertaining. Part 4 and 5 were excellent in bringing this new story to light and they have built up a great story to build on with new movies and if they say they have enough story to do 2 movies and end it that way, i'll be there at midnight for both releases!
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8:36AM on 10/07/2011

I think this article is a bit premature

How can you really have any say over the future of a franchise if you've only seen one entry? It only seems to me that the series is getting better and better, and if Lin and Diesel remain on for both then why not shot the next two back-to-back? I see the possibilities of where they can take the next two installments, so by all means make them while the actors are young.
How can you really have any say over the future of a franchise if you've only seen one entry? It only seems to me that the series is getting better and better, and if Lin and Diesel remain on for both then why not shot the next two back-to-back? I see the possibilities of where they can take the next two installments, so by all means make them while the actors are young.
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8:48AM on 10/07/2011
I was with ya 'til you listed three of the worst songs on Use Your Illusion - still, to each their own. I don't see why a Fast and Furious movie can't have a big enough plot to justify a 2 movie arc, if that's even what they're planning. You'd assume the director's got something in mind to justify the plan, but I guess we'll see.
I was with ya 'til you listed three of the worst songs on Use Your Illusion - still, to each their own. I don't see why a Fast and Furious movie can't have a big enough plot to justify a 2 movie arc, if that's even what they're planning. You'd assume the director's got something in mind to justify the plan, but I guess we'll see.
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1:54PM on 10/07/2011

ZZZZZZZ------ZZZZZZZ

im sorry....i mustve fallen asleep. something about fast and the furious?
im sorry....i mustve fallen asleep. something about fast and the furious?
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5:44AM on 10/08/2011
Shooting more Fast and the Furious sequels in general is a bad idea.
3 was the last reasonable one.
Shooting more Fast and the Furious sequels in general is a bad idea.
3 was the last reasonable one.
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