Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Fast & Furious

April 6th, 2009

Last night, Bevin and I pooled together a large group of friends to trek over to Century 12 Downtown San Mateo and see Fast & Furious. The flick was pretty standard insane action with fast-drivin’ cars (possibly also furious-drivin’) and Vin Diesel being The Man, but what surprised me the most was the movie’s attempts to dissuade this very blog from labeling it as derivative! During the opening credits, the words “ORIGINAL FILM” were proudly displayed on the screen for all to see. And here I was thinking it was an interquel (between 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift)! Some might argue that Original Film is probably just the name of some production company, but it’s clear to me that Hollywood has caught onto my little game!

Speaking of which: trailers!

Public Enemies
Might go check this out, if only because Great Depression-era gangster stories are really cool, and Johnny Depp is pretty okay sometimes! Based on the book Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933–34, and therefore an ADAPTATION (the book itself is based on a true story, so it’s doubly-adapted!). Christian Bale also appears, and I gotta say, this guy’s really been keeping busy. He’s been in 2-3 films per year, and has big blockbuster Terminator Salvation coming out soon… no wonder he snaps on the set every now and then.

Possibly the greatest movie title I’ve ever seen. “What sort of activities do they engage in?” “Oh, you know… fighting.” And from what you can see in the trailer, they most certainly do. More importantly though, the trailer alone introduced me to two phrases I hope to work into conversation on a regular basis.

Money Quote #1:

“Where are we going?”
“We’re in a $100,000 Mercedes, that’s where we’re going.”

“I’m in a salvaged Volvo, that’s where I’m going!”

Money Quote #2:

“The only way I’m gonna lose is if somebody beats me.”

That one may rival the legendary “Pain don’t hurt” from Road House.

Oh yeah, ORIGINAL as far as I can tell.

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
Most. Nonsensical. Title. EVER. This is a movie that hates grammar. Also, John Travolta looks stupid (but what else is new? HIYOOOOOOOO). This particular film has an interesting unoriginality to it worthy of analysis. Apparently it’s the second REMAKE of the original 1974 film which was itself an ADAPTATION of a novel. Why is it not simply another adaptation? I have no clue. All I know is, whenever I see situations like these, I find myself wanting to see the first adaptation much more than the current iteration. Then again, I never thought Hollywood should be allowed do-overs (case in point: The Incredible Hulk following Hulk).

Certainly a gorgeous-looking documentary about our massive planet, and James Earl Jones has a fabulous narrating voice, but apparently this movie was released two years ago in the UK and was narrated by Patrick Stewart! Does Disneynature feel we’re not ready for British narration? Because I would be inclined to disagree! Earth, I would have been willing to overlook the fact that you are designed to be a companion piece to the BBC series Planet Earth, but this injustice cannot stand. ADAPTATION. You ought to be ashamed.

Crank 2: High Voltage
Whenever I see a trailer for a SEQUEL to a movie I haven’t seen, part of me is concerned that I’ll be completely lost and have no clue as to what’s going on. Crank 2‘s trailer leaves me with no such reservations, as it looks completely ridiculous and Jason Statham-kicking-ass-and-electrocuting-himself-to-comedic-effect-y. He’s been given an artificial heart with a crappy battery, and has to constantly shock himself to keep it going long enough to find his real heart (did he check San Francisco?). One has to wonder why he can’t simply get checked into a hospital and get a heart donor (or a better artificial heart), but regardless: I WILL SEE THIS MOVIE.

Just noticed in trailer-rewatching: John de Lancie cameo?! MUST SEE MOVIE TWELVE TIMES

TOTAL: 80% (4/5)

Goodness! As of an April 5th screening of Fast & Furious at Century 12 Downtown San Mateo, Hollywood was actively gunning for 80% unoriginality! I would have expected better for ridiculous action flicks; while they’re invariably derivative in too many ways to count, they’re usually still original characters and stories. Still… FAST AND FURIOOOOOOOOOUS