Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fast Six pushes the Pedal to the Metal

After watching Fast and Furious I was like the franchise couldn't get worse than this. After catching its sequel Fast Five, I was like it couldn't get better than this. In both instances, I was proven wrong.


  As the poster suggests, yes this is the sixth installment in the highest-grossing (and longest-lasting) car-racing movie series. Now I caught this last night at the theatre with my good friend Syed Ali. He won't be reading this post as he's not an avid reader of blogs, but I'd like to mention him anyway.
  Fast Six had a lot to accomplish. Not only commercially but more so critically. Fast Five was a boom for the series. It had lost its steam after the fourth part. The introduction of The Rock as a DSS agent really shook the cinema hall. 
(Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson)

  It was not only his greatest role to date but the movie's highest grossing point. Below are the worldwide commercial and critical statistics, plus the BoxOffice101 ratings for all of the Fast films:
  1. The Fast and the Furious (2001): $207m, 53%, 3/4.
  2. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003): $236m, 36%, 2.5/4.
  3. The Fast and the Furious (2006): Tokyo Drift, $158m, 35%, 3.5/4.
  4. Fast and Furious (2009): $363m, 27%, 2/4.
  5. Fast Five (2011): $626m, 78%, 3.5/5.
  6. Fast Six (2013): $314m as of May 27, 72%, 4/4.
  Yes, as you can clearly see I rated the final film on the list with a perfect rating. There were hardly any faults in the blockbuster, or did I dismiss them? I think I just answered my own question. Fast Five was almost perfect but the ending of the bank heist was too far-fetched. I mean if street racing finesse takes it to steal 100 million dollars from Rio, then I can pass my driving test without any classes.
  In Fast Five, Agent Hobbs, played by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson was chasing Dom Toretto's (Vin Diesel)'s team. In the sequel, Hobbs enlists the help of Toretto's crew to capture Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) who's a former Special Air Service agent now running his heist gang. The difference between him and Toretto is simply self-righteous: Toretto's team doesn't kill or steal from the military. To further motivate Dom Toretto to pursue this competitor, Hobbs shows him a snapshot of Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) who has been presumed dead since the fourth feature. 
  Well, even though the hero is a millionaire, can afford any woman, and is with a hotter girlfriend than the former, he still decides to take the job. Fast Six had every comeback to what audiences and critics were expecting: action, great dialogues especially by Roman Pearce (played by Tyrese Gibson who has played the same role in two previous flicks), and a great ending. Fast Six cuts to the chase quickly, pun intended. It gives room to drama, but entertaining sentimentality. It showcases awesome cars such as Toretto's favourite Dodge Daytona (a NASCAR version of the Dodge Charger seen in the other films), BMW M5, Nissan Skyline and many other super brands.
  Before F5, street racing was the driving strength of the franchise. Fast Five gave way to the bank heist. Fast Six gives way to a military heist. Fast 7 might go with stealing The Declaration of Independence, haha!
  Assaying the previous ventures, The Fast and the Furious was great but lacked substance. It was also vaguely predictable but had a satisfying ending. 2 Fast 2 Furious had a bad script but the screen space shared by Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson was hilarious (like the car stunts) so it was good. Tokyo Drift was amazing with being shot at the locations of the real Tokyo, and Los Angeles. The set pieces showcased the beauty of drifting in Tokyo. Again, the movie was dull in the middle, though it was better than 1 and 2. TD had a higher budget than one and two, still grossed quite lower than both of them. Maybe it was the introduction of Tokyo instead of tradition USA muscle racing, also the absence of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. Although, Vin Diesel makes a cameo appearance at the end of the film.
  Fast and Furious was bad. It is the worst racing film I've seen. Even the ill-fated Torque which was Fast and Furious on motorcycle earning a neat 3.7 rating on IMDb. Even though it had the return of the original stars from the 2001 film: Diesel, Walker, Jordana Brewster and Rodriguez. It also introduced Gal Gadot who revisited the series with F5 and F6.
  Fast Five was bad-ass returning with all the above and more: Gibson and Sung Kang from Tokyo Drift (which is set after the events of Fast and Furious Six). Rapper Ludacris and The Rock made their intros in the film while reprising their roles in the sixth installment and debuting MMA star Gina Carano (who presented herself like the female version of The Rock) as Agent Hobbs' partner. Evans is the main antagonist and also the return of John Ortiz as Braga, who was the main villain in Fast Four. Also, Elsa Pataky as Elena Neves, Toretto's latest girlfriend, who was his love interest in the foregoing cinematic.
  Before viewing F6 I had lower expectations for it. I mean the sequel beating Fast Five, impossible. This was in regard to the BoxOffice101 rating not the Rotten Tomatoes consensus, or the universal aggregate. My expectations were risen above sky level. Fast Six is better than Five though not by a margin. Fast Six is fast cars on celluloid. F6 gives you so much adrenaline afterwards you'll wish to have fast sex, with a fast chick, in a fast car. I even prefer it worthier in comparison to last year's The Avengers, which I gave 3 out of 4 points respectively. The only competitor to beat his blockbuster of the year is Man of Steel which has 2 weeks left from its release. Next week's After Earth has only a chance  of surpassing Oblivion as another dystopian depressing venture. Oblivion was intimidating with high-profile star Tom Cruise, so After Earth has Will Smith and it can be worse with M. Night Shyamalan returning to direct during a flop phase.
  Of course A.E. will not flop commercially with Will Smith's prior 10 films have grossed above $100m domestically and A.E. was smart to release one week later to Fast Six. Still F6 has a BO101 prediction of keeping its top spot next week with Smith's sci-fi venture opening at 2. Fast Six opened with $117m whilst box office moguls predicted a $92m debut. 
  Due to Memorial Day it was a 4-day weekend. Fast 5 opened in the US in the mid of April in a 3-day weekend. So in quadruple days the prequel made $92m. Even if there were triple holidays I still claim that F6 would've have opened with at least $100m. 
  Though there are two flaws to be noted in this venture: First is one scene on the highway that is impossible in real life, and the whole crowd shook with laughter other than shock in the seats. Secondly, Luke Evan's character is not exploited wholly. Still, the positive outweighs the negative as this not a Diesel/Walker film as before F5. Steven Soderbergh used every actor in his Oceans trilogy to share the same screen greatness. With no thespian being showcased as of lower talent. F6 is the best in using such an entourage in the same condition as Oceans and The Avengers, even outranking both.
  Fast 7 has already been announced with shooting to start in August. F7 has a stated July 2014 date. Diesel and Walker are confirmed. The Rock is facing scheduling conflicts, and Justin Lin (director of TD, F4, F5 and F6) is not participating as he has just finished F6. James Wan is one of my favourite horror directors who is known for collaborating with Leigh Whannell for the first SAW film, and in Insidious plus Dead Silence. The only action venture he has directed was Death Sentence (without Whannell) which starred Kevin Bacon and was a thriller for me. It was about a mild-mannered white collar worker avenging his son's death against a street gang. Wan is also of Asian origin like Lin but it was his releases of Dead Silence and Death Sentence in one year that Universal decided to involve him in the next project. I still fear the not taking a two or three year gap could affect the final product. Still, I'll check the critical consensus before deciding to watch Fast Seven.

(Horror director James Wan)

  A fresh face confirmed for Fast Seven is ex-action star Jason Statham. Ex? Well his stand-alone thrillers i.e.  Blitz, Safe and Parker being the worst films I have seen in the entire decade. Statham registers equally in each film with his trimmed beard and hair. He gives new meaning to the term typecasted. So he is set on a new road in the next FF film as a villain. Hopefully it will help him revive his charisma from The Transporter trio.
  In the end, F6 is an awesome film and yes it is fully worth watching in the cinema. And you'll be missing the drive-thru of a lifetime if you don't. Below is the trailer for Hummingbird, Statham's next bad ass movie:


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pain does not Gain foremost in this round-up

TWLWTitle (click to view)StudioWeekend Gross% ChangeTheater Count /ChangeAverageTotal GrossBudget*Week #
1NIron Man 3BV$174,144,585-4,253-$40,946$174,144,585$2001
21Pain and GainPar.$7,511,315-62.9%3,287+10$2,285$33,830,390$262
55The CroodsFox$4,202,639-37.5%2,915-368$1,442$168,720,798$1357
64The Big WeddingLGF$3,881,857-48.9%2,633-$1,474$14,216,422$352
813Oz The Great and PowerfulBV$2,113,009+16.7%1,160-450$1,822$228,858,941$2159
97Scary Movie 5W/Dim.$1,441,360-58.0%1,857-876$776$29,609,668$204
109The Place Beyond the PinesFocus$1,280,152-53.1%1,162-422$1,102$18,676,792$156

As promised I'm back this week to explain my thesis on Pain and Gain. The movie's trailer was the first I'd seen before the starting of the sci-fi venture Oblivion. On the short clip I wasn't impressed. This movie is sort of like Bollywood's Don 2 , where the heroes are a preferable league of sociopaths than the villains. Or where you can't tell which team to support.
Yes, it is from commercially acclaimed director Michael Bay (Transformers 1,2,3 and Armageddon). So the starring of both Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, does not come as a surprise. This is due to the fact Bay's film usually have not only one big male star, but usually two: Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage in The Rock; Will Smith, Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys and its sequel.
  Based on a true story, Pain and Gain's plot comprises of a trio of bodybuilders (third being Anthony Mackie) who get involved in extortion, kidnapping and murder in Florida. This is typical Michael Bay. The premise being wrongly done by the mob boss. And the following being a strike by the employees. If Bay was in a Trade Union, there would've been strikes all over the country.
  Mackie was also the only African-American lead in this year's brilliant Gangster Squad. The trailer of GS looked average yet it delivered in full-time. We could expect the same for Pain and Gain. After all, it stars Dwayne Johnson and his films are seldom supremely disappointing (well, if you forego the crappy kid comedies).
  Now the trailer was really unimpressive. I mean it gives no incentive to the viewer to spend cash on the cinema ticket. Unless he's a die-hard The Rock fan. P+G had made $20m on its beginning weekend. I expected a $15m inception although it was off due to the lack of competitors. It is now on $33m in the US surpassing its $26m budget. Worldwide revenue has not been accounted for yet. It has already been released in the Emirates and Russia, and will sooner or later n the UK.
  In this round-up, there was a lack of competitors - not of a monopoly AKA Iron Man 3. The three-quel reached the 2nd largest opening in North American theatrical history, with $174m. This is behind The Avengers' massive $207m and above Deathly Hallows Part 2's $169m. The introductory gross also pummels my theory that Iron Man 3's attainment of the 1 billion dollars mark is not written in stone. Now it shall be written in box office history.
  The global total is already at $678 million. Nevertheless, Iron Man 3 will not cross The Avenger's $1.5b ending. Problem with The Avengers was that the interest downsized in the last months, so it could have grossed $1.6b. Iron Man 3 will probably end up with $1.2b-$1.3b. IM3 most probably has the topmost kickoff this year. The only sure competitor is Man of Steel. But I will be shocked if it crosses BoxOffice101's prediction of a $150m start-up.
  G.I. Joe: Retaliation finally makes its exit from the top 10 with $118m in the States alone, with a budget of $130m. It will not beat G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra's domestic total of $150m but has already beaten its worldwide total of $302m with $355m. Funny thing to note is that the first part had insignificantly famous actors than the sequel. Overwhelmingly negative reviews from US itself could have diminished the potentiality of audiences. 
  Overall, G.I. Joe 2 was better than the first in my opinion. Though a better story could have broadened my horizons for a third try. The action scenes involving the character Snake Eyes were breath-taking, literally on the cliffs' showcasing.
  Scary Movie 5 has been classified as a disappointment. Rightfully so, the 4th part in the series produced a $178m global cumulative. The 5th has barely managed to hit an approximate $50m mark. Scary Movie 4 grossed $90m domestically, and 5 will exit the top ten with $31m-$32m.
Either it was the colossal number of writers or new direction that doomed the spoof-comedy. Or the casting of Ashley Tisdale instead of traditional (and way better) actress Anna Faris. A movie that Charlie Sheen couldn't save is a box office bomb. Its $20m budget has however been surprassed by $29m. A 6th part might take longer than the 7-year duration between 4 and 5.
  Not all the Scary Movies were brilliant. The third was still the best and four was good in comparison. So with reviews citing this venture lower than the fourth, it might be proportionate to the critical consensus.
  The Place Beyond the Pines is a low-budget crime drama that was at 9 last week, and 10 this weekend. It stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes. The film has 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. It had a commencement of $4.9m.
  The Big Wedding with a big cast is still small at the theatre toll. The likes of Robert De Niro and Susan Sarandon could not save this fictional ceremony. Surprisingly, LionsGateFilms was the distributor that specialises in horror films namely all the SAWs.
  Oz: The Great and  Powerful returns from number 13 to 8 with $228m above its $215m production cost. So original director of the first 3 Spider-man films faces another success commercially and critically. Also note the comparatively inferior earnings of films other than IM3 this weekend.
  That's all from me folks, join me next time on The Fast and The Furious 6's debut. To end with a high note below, is the teaser for the much-awaited (by comic-books fan like myself) Man of Steel:

(Chart by Box Office Mojo)