It is written in the chronicles of our people that, long ago, in the days when the earth below and the sky above were as one, and the gods had not yet deserted the world of men, there was a film called The Fast and the Furious.
And it is written that The Fast and the Furious begat 2 Fast 2 Furious, which begat The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which begat Fast & Furious, which begat Fast Five, which begat Fast & Furious 6, although certain elders of the tribe insist that the latter film was actually titled Furious 6. Adding to the confusion, Fast Five was titled Fast & Furious: Rio Heist in some countries. Also, most scholars agree that the more accurate title for the sixth film would have been Tank Fast Redemption Furious: London Calling (Letty’s Lament.)
But now, now, now—now we have Furious 7, a.k.a. Fast & Furious 7, a.k.a. Abu Fast Dhabi Furious, a.k.a. Transporter Origins: Furious Fastly, a.k.a. whatever you want to call the newest entry in the neverending saga about human beings who transform into cars when the moon is full. Furious 7 was always intended to point the Fast franchise in a new direction. When I talked to franchise star-producer Vin Diesel back in 2013, he explicitly described the seventh film as the first entry in a new Fast trilogy. Universal appeared to be planning an aggressive release strategy for the series, originally setting Furious 7’s release date for summer 2014. That was before tragedy struck, with the late 2013 death of series star Paul Walker.
The first trailer for Furious 7 doesn’t tiptoe around Walker’s passing, with all the talk about “one last ride.” It also promises a potentially radical expansion of the Fast franchise. There are at least two scenes where gigantic bald people fight each other, which is just not something you can say about Interstellar. (Unless Interstellar is secretly about Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway going all Ripley-in-Alien-3 and shaving their heads before pummeling each other in a half-hour zero-gravity brawl. Which is something that would definitely happen if Chris Morgan wrote Interstellar.) There are cars, and they drive fast, in a manner that one might almost describe as furious.
You can watch the trailer here; now, let’s dive in, shall we?
We begin with Dominic Toretto, lord of the Round Table. At the end of Furious 6, Dom had everything. Money? He had riches beyond all imagining, stolen from the most evil man in Brazil back in Fast Five. Freedom? Having spent most of the 2000s on the run from the law, Dom received an official pardon from the government after he defeated nefarious automotive supervillain Owen Shaw. Love? Dom’s murdered girlfriend Letty was magically resurrected by a group of evil ninja wizards, or something. Family? Oh, Dom’s got family.
There’s Letty, played by human middle finger Michelle Rodriguez. She smiles, clearly thinking about something that makes her happy, like fighting an entire army of Krav Maga instructors with one hand tied behind her back and another hand duct-taped to a bottle of 40-ounce steel reserve.
And there’s Roman Pearce, played by Tyrese Gibson, who has spent the last seven years in movies where cars do things that cars do not typically do.
And who can forget Tej, first introduced back in 2 Fast 2 Furious as, like, the Lando Calrissian of Miami, basically. Then in Fast Five Tej revealed that he is good with computers. Basically, Tej is the Donatello of Fast & Furious. And Roman is the Michelangelo. And Letty is Raphael, Brian is Leonardo, and Dom is Splinter, weirdly. (It’s also possible that Dom is Leonardo and Brian is Casey Jones, which makes sense, since Mia is April O’Neil.)
And here’s Brian O’Conner, played by Paul Walker, and we’re not going to cry, fellow Fast fans; we’re not. Brian and the gang appear to be planning one of their signature automotive heists…
…a fact confirmed by this wide shot, showing every member of the gang inside of a different cool-looking car…
…although, that’s weird, I don’t recall any of the Toretto gang’s previous heists involving a slowly opening ramp, maybe they’re in some sort of large truck or perhaps even a transport train…
Now, I don’t like to brag. So I’m just going to state, for the record, that last September I predicted that 7 Fast 7 Furious would feature a scene where Dominic Toretto leads a squad of flying parachute cars into an elaborate action scene. (Admittedly, the movie’s action scene doesn’t seem to involve the Tokyo Skytree or a cyborg-zombie version of Johnny Tran. But I was half-right.)
The gang is attacking some sort of bus, which is predictably outfitted with an array of megamachine megaguns. We go now live to Chris “Ludacris” Bridges for a reaction shot.
And this, my friends, is why you pay Ludacris the big bucks.
SMASH CUT: A red button. A hand, about to press it. But what will happen when the button gets pressed?
Apparently, that red button activates the Fast & Furious franchise’s Action Star Generator. Say hello to franchise newbie Tony Jaa, the martial arts legend from Ong-Bak.
Jaa looks on in horror as the Toretto gang fires their signature hooks into the back of the vehicle.
Explosive pulling ensues. Note that the Jaa henchmen on the left side of the screen appears to be cosplaying Snake Eyes from GI Joe.
The back of the bus falls to the ground, never to be seen again.
And this is when Brian O’Conner executes one of his trademark “jumping off one car onto another car” moves.
Intriguingly, the purpose of this auto-heist is not to get a huge sum of money. No, the Toretto gang appears to be rescuing someone: franchise newcomer Nathalie Emmanuel, who you probably know as Missandei from Game of Thrones. The presence of both Emmanuel and Tony Jaa in this scene serves as further proof that Fast & Furious is becoming the nexus of all action movie realities.
I’m not saying that Fast & Furious takes place in the same universe as Game of Thrones, of course. That would be silly! But it seems obvious that Fast & Furious does take place in the same multiverse as Game of Thrones, and season seven of Thrones will probably end with a cliffhanger where Jon Snow and Dany Targaryen and, I dunno, Davos Seaworth are about to get attacked by the White Walkers, and then suddenly there’s a crack of thunder and a Dodge Charger outfitted with a row of chainguns suddenly appears out of the sky and mows down the whole ice-zombie army, and then Dominic Toretto gets out of the car and Dany is all like “What sort of man are you?” and Dom says “The kind of man who knows that a man is nothing without his family,” and then they all drive off to star in 2018’s reality-mashing epic Furious: The Fast-finity War, Part 1.
Not crying. We’re not.
Brian tosses Missandei onto a waiting car. Not shown: A presumably elaborate fight scene where Tony Jaa and Paul Walker engage in a martial arts duel inside of the bus. (You can see a brief snippet of that fight scene here.)
Shown: The bus going all Joseph-Gordon-Levitt-in-Inception, turning on its side…
And then dangling off the cliff, leaving Brian hanging on for dear life. It’s like the start of Uncharted 2, if Uncharted starred a guy whose uniform was a purplish hoodie and blue jeans and that same white shirt, not crying not crying.
This action scene sponsored by Stairmaster 5000™. The Stairmaster 5000™: Because you never know when you’re going to find yourself running along the side of an overturned gun-bus that is about to fall off a cliff.
The end of the action scene feels like an homage to the fourth through sixth Fast movies: A big overturned vehicle like the start of Fast & Furious, a tremendous leap on a cliff’s edge like the train scene from Fast Five, the ongoing assertion that you can break your fall as long as you land on a car (see: Letty in Furious 6, asking Dom “How did you know there’d be a car there to break our fall?”)
NEXT: Meet the new bad guy, same as the old bad guy