Welcome to the weekend of the franchises that just won’t die. Which of these movies appeals to you most, the collection of the least talented actors fighting crime or the “comedic” misadventures of the Wolfpack? Read on to find out if either is worth your money.
Fast & Furious 6
The title that pops up as this flick opens up is “Furious 6.” Why they decided not to go with that title officially is beyond me. It is more fitting to what the movies have become. This crew of street racing criminals have gone through an evolution. They started out illegal street racing and committing minor crimes, then the series became focused on heists, and now they are full-on super heroes who fight crime. Who knows where the series will go next? I think they’ll be taking on the sinister upper echelons of the government. Who knew these thugs/ex-cops would become the Automobile Avengers?
The excuse for Fast & Furious 6 to exist is to bring back Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) to the series. She died in Fast & Furious. That was the fourth movie in case you are confused. So Letty is now working with an evil Fast/Furious gang in London headed by Shaw (Luke Evans). The Rock, who once sought to bust Vin Diesel and his gang, is now coming to them for help in bringing down Shaw’s crew. If they do the job, the group comprised of Dom (Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker), Roman (Tyrese), Tej (Ludacris), Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele (Gal Gadot), will finally be granted pardon and no longer have to live as fugitives. Does anyone even remember why these people are so hunted in the first place? Does anyone care?
So apparently Letty didn’t really die in 4 Fast 4 Furious, instead she just ended up in the hospital with amnesia. She doesn’t remember her time with Dom at all. You know what they say, if it works for Soap Operas then it’s probably good enough for Summer blockbusters.
To add more estrogen to the cast, they’ve added Gina Carano, the manliest female I’ve ever seen next to Michelle Rodriguez, to the cast as Hobb’s partner. You may remember her from her terrible performance in last year’s Haywire.
Okay, let’s be honest here. These movies are pretty terrible, but they’re somehow very entertaining at the same time. 2011’s Fast Five was a welcome change for the series. It still had some of the worst dialogue ever, but their disregard for the laws of physics made it extremely enjoyable. Furious 6 continues on with the same quality and does it one better.
The action is so over the top, but it does just what a blockbuster needs to do – entertain its core audience. In fact, this movie hardly ever lets up. You can be guaranteed one giant action scene/race every 10 minutes. The problem arises when the action stops, the movie comes to a screeching halt. It gives you time to realize that stopping team evil from retrieving the macguffin nuclear codes is pretty moronic. When an action scene ends, you just wait impatiently for a tank vs car battle. Your patience will be rewarded.
The only actor who shines here is Tyrese. He carries the slow sections with his humor. Even Dwayne Johnson who is known for his charisma, is just there to give exposition and show up randomly to defend the gang.
Let’s be real, no amount of bad quality can stop Furious fans from going to this. Thankfully, this is one of the best movies in the never-ending series. This movie provides a lot of fun that never lets up. It almost has a Return of the King effect, in that you expect it to end with action scene after action scene, but it keeps going and getting bigger. It’s over 2 hours and feels like it.
I’m partial to the forgotten movie, Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift (number 3 if you’re taking count), and they finally tie that movie into the bigger picture. Stay for the credits and you might implode with automobile movie excitement. Let’s just say that it will get you excited for the upcoming sequel, due for release next Summer.
In terms of quality, this is a C movie. But that shouldn’t stop fans from C-ing it. (See what I did there?) I apologize.
The Hangover Part III
In 2009, The Hangover was released and surprised everyone. It instantly became revered as a classic comedy. Director Todd Phillips wasted no time in releasing Hangover 2 in 2011. He tried to strike gold twice by releasing a Mad Libs carbon copy of the first Hangover. While it did well enough to justify a sequel, it was universally panned because it was more of the same. Now, 2 years later, Phillips has had enough of the criticism and changed the formula for the series completely. But was that a good idea?
In Hangover 3, the Wolfpack reunite to drive Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to a behavioral hospital to take care of his obvious issues. On the way, they are assaulted by a crime lord named Marshall (John Goodman). He kidnaps Doug (why does Justin Bartha even agree to appear in these movies?) and sends the Wolfpack to track down their mutual friend/enemy Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong). So Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan journey to Tijuana and eventually back to Vegas to retrieve Chow.
So instead of a “WTF did we do last night?” movie, it is more an action-paced chase movie. In the transition, this movie loses its focus on fun and randomness.
I like how they’re billing this an a tongue-in-cheek epic trilogy. It’s more a case of “Hey, we had an amazingly successful first movie! Let’s try to capitalize on it by releasing the same movie with a new coat of paint that no one will like. Oh, that didn’t work? Let’s clear up the bad taste the second movie left with a brand new Hangover. People will love it and we’ll claim a trilogy was the plan all along!”
The thing is, this movie isn’t all that good. I hope you haven’t seen any trailers for this movie, because they give you their big jokes. Beyond that, I don’t know if Phillips is going for a wacky comedy, because this movie isn’t very funny. Granted, I chuckled a few times, but mostly I felt bored and annoyed with the overdose of Galifianakis and Jeong.
If you have insane, unrelatable characters, it’s best to keep them as supporting characters or even bit parts. Let them steal the scene, don’t let them be the scene. Galifianakis is the main character and his demeanor isn’t as shocking or surprising as it used to be. For some reason, Jeong’s Chow character has nearly as much screen time as the Wolfpack. I got burnt out on him and the movie very quickly.
Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms did not need to be in Hangover 3. In fact, they look as though they know that. They basically sleepwalk through their roles and have to act against Galifianakis. I think Bradley Cooper knows he’s meant for bigger things since his Oscar nomination and wants to put this mediocre series behind him. Even Ed Helms, who was great in the first Hangover, barely has a speaking role this time around.
As with Furious 6, you need to stay after the credits. You will be rewarded with another morning after situation. Let’s just say that Stu’s transformation is the best yet. Though the series’ ever-present dudity was involved, it was hilarious. You will leave the theater with a big smile on your face that quickly turns into a frown when you wonder, “Why couldn’t the whole movie have been that funny?”
The Hangover Part III is terrible. I rank it almost as low as the cut-and-paste Hangover II. It is the least funny part of the series by far. Skip it.
Your winner is 6 Fast & 6 Furiouser. It really is 6 times better than “The Epic Conclusion” of the Hangover series.