Franchise Weekend – The Fast of the Furious (2001)

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, David Ayer (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Story)

Starring: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Matt Schulze, Ted Levine

 

Plot: Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Connor must decide where his loyalty really lies when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Begins

 

Story: The Fast and the Furious starts as we meet Brian (Walker) a want to be street racer trying to find his way into the good books of street racing icon Dominic Toretto (Diesel). Earning the respect of Dom after saving him from the police, Brian finds himself welcomed into the world.

This opens the door for us to meet Dom’s enemy on the street, Johnny Tran (Yune) before we learn the truth about Brian’s involvement as an undercover police officer trying to uncover who is behind the crime spree behind the street racing thieves.

The deeper Brian gets into the family the greater the respect both sides have towards each but with his superiors running out of patience Brian must learn what is really going on before Dom’s crew get hurt.

 

Thoughts on The Fast and the Furious

 

Characters/PerformanceThe characters we have all come to love start here with Brian the undercover police officers trying to up his ranking in the police force while growing the respect of the underground street racers. Brian fits this world as the outsider as the way in for us the audience too. Dom is the alpha male of the group that everyone respects and once you earn his you become untouchable. He is the best racer, the loyalist friend and brother. Johnny Tran makes for a good starter villain who is just a racing rival to Dom. Letty is the girlfriend of Dom that does have control over him but we don’t see too much from, Mia is Dom’s brother that becomes a love interest for Brian. The rest of the characters are all small parts to the big world Dom controls.

Performance wise, you can see the draw of Paul Walker to this role where you can argue his is the bigger name for the time and he is great, in this film you can see how early into his career Vin Diesel was and he just doesn’t have the screen presence we know from him now. The rest of the cast all do well playing the parts how you would expect them to be.

StoryThe story side of this movie is easy to follow, uncover cop gets drawn to the world he is investigating because of the excitement it gives him. We have the checklist for story here offer us just flashy races to make this different than for example Point Break.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe races are all good to watch, as well are the heists being pulled off which show us both the crime sides of the story because of the illegal racing and they keeps us all on edge for the thrilling side of the story.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in LA which makes for the style the film has because it is away from the glitz and glamor of the world we know.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all here for the races and showing how certain elements of the engine work to increase speed.

Final ThoughtsThis franchise is the go to for nonsense action, but it didn’t start that way and this film shows us the street racing, beginning of a friendship and just how far these guys would go.

 

Overall: The true fans will always love this one over any sequel because of the importance this film gives us to the future franchise.

Rating

 

 

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The Man With The Iron Fists (2012)

logoDirector: RZA

Writer: RZA, Eli Roth (Screenplay) RZA (Story)

Starring: RZA, Rick Yune, Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, Dave Bautista, Jamie Chung, Cung Le, Byron Mann

 

Story: Jungle Village part of a fictional ancient Chinese time has a string of characters who want control. After fierce warrior Gold Lion is betrayed by Silver Lion (Mann) and Bronze Lion (Le), all hell is about to break out in Jungle Village. When news of Gold Lion’s death reaches his son Zen Yi or The X-Blade (Yune) he travels across China for vengeance. After feeling guilty for creating the weapons that killed Gold Lion Blacksmith (RZA) helps a wounded X-Blade build a new suit after Brass Body (Bautista) proves too hard to beat being due to his body unable to take blade damage. Along with Jack Knife (Crowe) can they bring peace back to the village before it is too late?

 

Verdict: Grindhouse meets martial arts to make an effect ride of a film

Story: It follows the paths of many characters all affect by events; it is all told in a way over the top style with plenty of blood splatter. Granted you will have to switch off any part of your mind that will want to see anything real. The fight scenes are brilliantly put together with each character having their strengths and weakness. Each character has strong motives for the actions be it greed, redemption, revenge or vengeance. (8/10)

 

Actor Review: RZA – Plays the Blacksmith with a dark past who the warriors of the village think can walk all over. Doesn’t shine as much as he could, but does end up an unforeseen threat when it comes to what he is capable of. Struggles to be the main lead would look a lot more comfortable in a supporting role. Poor Performance Award (6/10)

 rza

Actor Review: Rick Yune – as the warrior son out for vengeance performs well in the fight scenes. Good performance knowing he has a task to complete without letting emotion conflict him. (8/10)

x blade

Actor Review: Russell Crowe – Fighting for the Emperor to retrieve the missing gold, has a unique weapon that inflicts maximum damage. Has a lot of fun with this role soon becomes the most interesting character due to some air of mystery about him. Star Performance Award (9/10)

 crowe

Actor Review: Dave Bautista – The muscle fighter makes it impossible to beat him with blades. Typical henchman role showing the former wrestler has a chance at a career in the bodyguard role business. (7/10)

 brass body

Actor Review: Byron Mann – After stabbing his leader in the back for power his greed will soon take him lethalness to a new level. Also takes pleasure from killing people. Creates a very creepy psychotic villain, which really pushes the good guys to the limits. Favourite Character Award (9/10)

 

Director Review: RZA – Directorial debut shows how he can put together good ideas for characters, makes the film fun rather than serious which works for the material. He will be one director to watch out for in the future. (9/10)

Action: Great fight scenes which a huge body count, potentially a bit too violent for some. (8/10)

Special Effects: With a Brass body character the special effects to create that work well, but what does the film down is the clear use of ropes/strings in the fight scenes you can almost see the characters stop in mid-air before starting again. (6/10)

Music: All the rap music is trying to mix East with West but I feel it doesn’t work and unnecessary for the back ground music. (4/10)

Settings: The ancient Chinese village is a good setting with authentic looking building to create the fight scenes in. (9/10)

Suggestion: It is clear that inspiration has come from classic Grindhouse films and the new modern take on them. If you like those films you will definitely enjoy this film. If you want just martial arts you may get put off by the over use of blood and if you don’t like violence find something else. If you just want a fun over the top action film check it out. (Give It A Go)

 

Best Part: Final Battle is great, but honourable mention is Jack Knife introduction.

Worst Part: Over violent.

Favourite Quote: Jack Knife ‘I always bring a gun to a knife fight’

Trivia: The first cut was Four hours long but was cut down to 90minutes.

 

Similar Too: Kill Bill, Machete

 

Overall: Rampage of fighting mixing a range of fighting styles.

Rating 71%