After watching The Fate of the Furious, the latest installment in the Fast and the Furious franchise, I walked out of the theater just thinking, "Damn. That movie made me tired.' And there are a few reasons and levels to this honest feeling. For one, I just felt like the movie took a lot out of me in just wanting to get through it. As a fan of these movies, I really wanted to be into it and give it my undivided attention, but boy did it feel like a chore to do. I was working so hard to get emotionally invested into it that I felt physical exhaustion from my failure. I wanted and waited for this to change. Unfortunately, it never did.
Second, I felt tired of feeling like we just got another juiced up version of the same adrenaline formula. It was like a studio exec hyped up on energy drinks kicks in the boardroom doors at Universal Pictures yelling about how they have to amp up the crazy in these movies. Like okay I get it, you guys are trying to sell the badassness of Team Toretto, but honestly, their qualifications for all these missions has always felt forced. They went from just boosting car parts and DVD players to...frankly, other than loving cars, I'm not exactly sure what the overall purpose of this team is. For some reason, they just get recruited into these crazy missions that apparently no one else is qualified to pull off. It is a tough pill to swallow when you stop to think about it.
Thirdly, the movies now are really toying with our emotions. Prime example: The antagonists to Team Toretto keep switching sides. This has been one of my biggest problems in these movies. When Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) made the move from being a cop to joining Toretto's team of outlaws full-time, it felt natural. His love and chemistry with the team destined him to be with them rather than chasing them down to catch them. That role was truly better suited for Agent Hobbs (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) who in all his awesomeness was the best law enforcement to go after Toretto's gang of bandits. But even Hobbs eventually decides Toretto is not so bad a guy and even team up on missions together. That was disappointing, yes. But what took the cake for me is the switch of the big bad from Furious 7, Owen Shaw (Jason Statham). This hurt my heart as I finally got to see one of my favorite action stars play the villain only to see him turned into yet another ally to Team Toretto in the latest movie. I know they love the idea of family, but not everyone needs to join it.
Lastly, I just had to ask myself, "How many of these are they going to make?" While I really have enjoyed these films before, with their over-the-top action and cheesy acting and dialogue, it is now starting to feel ridiculous with the level it has reached. This is the eighth installment in the franchise and with the amount of money and still overall loyal fan-base, it doesn't appear to be the last. While it is a respectable and remarkable rarity for films to make it to this quantity of sequels and still be successful, sometimes you have to wonder, when is enough really enough?
For clarification: This is not my attempt to completely bash the franchise. I have been a loyal fan to Team Toretto. But like the "family" concept they are always trying to push for, when you are around your family for so long, frustrations with them are bound to mount.