I’m sure you’ve heard of The Fast and the Furious franchise, right? It’s only been around for 16 years now with an eighth movie coming out slightly less than a month from now (The Fate of the Furious, in case you wondering). If you haven’t heard of The Fast and the Furious franchise I have but one question for you- where the hell have you been??? I mean, don’t get offended and all but this is one of the biggest movie series ever created. As I’ve already said, it’s been going strong, with basically a new movie every two years, for a heck of a long time. The lowest grossing film in the series (that would be the third one, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, for those of you who keep track of such things) still made almost $200 million. The highest grossing film, 2015’s Furious 7, made $1.5 billion in box office receipts. That’s billion with a “B” people. In fact, the last four movies in a row have seen a steady and significant increase in ticket sales. So the franchise isn’t going away any time soon.
Anyway, just in case you were on the world’s longest Peace Corps mission to the interior of the Amazon or locked yourself in your room to play Halo and eat Cheetos for 15 years, now’s the time to catch up on the goings on of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, The Rock (excuse me, Dwayne Johnson), Ludacris and even Kurt Russell. Oh yeah, and also remember for a moment Paul Walker, who went out the way his character always lived – going too fast in a revved up car. But why not have some fun with it? Here are the 15 silliest, confounding, and just plain dumb plot hole and storyline mix ups in the franchise’s long history.
15. What’s Jason Statham Going To Do With His Air Miles?
Let’s start off with a really strange plot hole that’s big enough to fly a jet airliner through. It’s also one of the more recent ones so you might actually remember scratching your head over this one a few years ago. Basically, this plot hole has to do with the fact that Statham’s Deckard Shaw, baddie-extraordinaire in Furious 7, is either a time traveler or has the world’s most incredible airport luck. And nobody has that kind of luck with the airlines nowadays- even if you’re flying first class. In about one hour’s worth of action, Statham’s character takes flights from…are you ready? Here we go: London to Los Angeles to Tokyo, then all the way back to Los Angeles to the Caucasus Mountains of the Eastern European country of Georgia, and then, last but not least, on to Dubai. Seriously? There’s no way anyone could fly that many miles and get to where they needed to get to on the ground in the time the movie allots him. Not even in a Lear jet, which they don’t fly anymore anyway.
14. Magic Dominic
So in Fast Five (which, just in case you failed Rocket Science in grad school, is the fifth movie) there’s a big plotline early on in the movie where the rest of the gang is trying to free Dominic from doing some heavy jail time. Their solution is to concoct an elaborate trap wherein they cause Dom’s prison bus to crash and flip (multiple times, mind you), causing all the cops and prison guards inside to become stunned. Umm guys, isn’t Dominic and everyone on that bus gonna become stunned if you make the bus roll like a dozen times? How do you know he’s the only one who won’t be knocked unconscious? Is his head really that hard? Then again, it turns out later that Dom is the only prisoner who even tries to escape the crash. ‘Cause it makes perfect sense that a bus full of hardened criminals would just sit there if they had the opportunity to escape.
13. Fast Five Free-For-All
It makes total sense to me that, if two huge guys get involved in a knock-down, drag-out fight, the cops who are summoned to the scene would just stand around and watch the fight rather than doing something about it. Maybe I missed the part where one shady cop was walking around charging admission to the match. Seriously, though, if you were a police officer called to the scene of a fist fight where two guys like Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson were duking it out would you just stand back and observe? I mean yeah, maybe you would, at that, because those are some seriously big mothers. Oh wait, you were sworn to uphold the law, weren’t you? Do. Your. Job. I’m pretty sure you’ve got pepper spray, Tasers, and even shotguns on hand just in case one of the lugs decides to pick up a wrench.
12. Straight Line Racer
It stands to reason that if you’re going to become a superstar, underground street racer and you have almost no experience driving, then you should practice on long road trips on the interstate. I mean, isn’t that what everyone would do? At least, that’s what the writers and directors of the franchise would like us to think happened with Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker’s character, in case you weren’t paying attention). The couple of minutes long short film that came out before 2 Fast 2 Furious tries to sell us exactly that, showcasing a very quick storyline wherein Brian races his way across the interstates from Los Angeles to Miami. I’m sorry, but how in the hell are we supposed to believe that driving in a straight-line at 100 mph for five days has any bearing on being a bad-ass street racer. It doesn’t. The title of this short, Turbo Charged Prelude, isn’t exactly high up on the inspiration meter either.
11. Hobbs Has No Moral Compass
The whole premise of the character of Hobbs, who first shows up in Fast Five, is that he is driven by a strict moral code to help Dom and Brian in order to avenge the deaths of his entire team, the secret and elite DSS Elite Task Force. But seriously, that sh*t don’t fly. For starters, we’re supposed to believe that a highly trained, highly decorated, career Special Forces-type dude flips his loyalties pretty much at the drop of the hat. OK, fine, suspension of disbelief is in full effect. But then we’re asked to follow his decision to condone a $100 million heist, his murder of a guy, and his refusal to even try to stop Dom from fleeing. Finally, he seems to pretty much destroy everyone in his path when he’s on the hunt for terrorists in movies six and seven. It’s a bit of a stretch to follow all of this without rolling one’s eyes.
10. Third Time’s Not A Charm
The movie in the franchise that performed most poorly at the box office was the third one, Tokyo Drift. I mean, it really stunk box office-wise compared to everything that came after it, which makes me wonder how they decided to keep going. But I digress. Movie one is called The Fast and the Furious, movie two is called 2 Fast 2 Furious, movies five, six, and seven all have their numeric designations of the series in their titles. You see where I’m going with this, right? Why didn’t they name movie number three the same way? No wonder it didn’t do well- people probably thought it was some other movie with a similar name. If you think I’m joking, get this- movie number four was simply called Fast & Furious. Because they realized they needed to get the franchise back on track after confusing everyone. That’s my personal theory anyway.
9. Duh- The Boss Said Let ‘Em Go
Back to movie five we go to see if we can figure out why writers and directors are sometimes so stupid. Does anyone remember in Austin Powers the whole riff on super-villains being so stupid that they would leave the deaths of their arch-enemies in the hands of a few poorly paid, dumb Goombahs? Everyone knew what that movie was spoofing. Except perhaps the people involved in making this movie, who leave Dom hanging by a few chains in charge of a couple of meatheads. Isn’t it shocking, then, that Dom gets free and escapes? I mean, who would’ve figured Vin Diesel could get out of some chains that look like Reynolds Wrap? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Just shoot him already. Oh wait, if they had done that the franchise would have been over- I take it back. Smart move, guys.
8. Brian Has ESP
It’s pretty easy to know that a guy is after you if he’s running toward you with a baseball bat or a gun or a knife. It’s not so easy to know he’s gunning for you if he plants a bomb in your car. I mean, that’s how the Mob gets rid of guys they don’t like all the time without the victim ever knowing what hit them. Am I right or am I right? So it’s pretty funny that in Furious 6 Brian knows exactly what part of his car to scrape up on a light pole in order to make the bomb that Shaw’s Goombahs planted fall off harmlessly. Why is that funny? Because Brian can’t see where the bomb is and has no idea where they put it in the inner workings of his car. But he sure knows how to make it magically fall off, doesn’t he?
7. Who Is Brian?
It’s pretty clear to all of us what side of the law Brian is on when the very first movie begins. He’s definitely a lawman of the FBI brand. But then? Who knows, honestly? Maybe if Paul Walker had lived this could have all been cleared up in movie number 20, Too Fast, Too Slow: The Geriatric Years. ‘Cause I’m sure confused. Let’s recap: he’s in the FBI in one, he’s a stone-cold fugitive at the start of two but then is suddenly back in the FBI. Then he quits the lawman’s life. Then, in movie four (apparently he was an Oceanographer or something during three), he’s an FBI agent again. Are you with me so far? Good. By five, he’s decided to go full-outlaw again and he and Dom destroy half of London, Dubai and L.A. during their criminal sprees. But the FBI still loves him. I just got a speeding ticket the other day for going five miles over and that cop sure didn’t love me…
6. Tokyo Drift Really Sucks
Here’s the deal- this movie is bad for many, many reasons (I mean Paul Walker isn’t even in it!) but here’s one of the biggest. The Japanese Yakuza are notorious for being one of the most ruthless, intelligent and dangerous mob operations the world has ever known. Their activities are shrouded in secrecy and their bosses keep a very low profile. So how in the hell is Sean able to just kind of mosey on into a Tokyo mob nightclub and approach a boss without being at the very least, instantly roughed up? How is an American high school kid even allowed to apologize to the same boss for losing him money and still live. It makes zero, zip, zilch sense and I don’t like it. Apparently nobody else did either. Then again, maybe it wasn’t that Paul Walker was missing; maybe it was that the ever-awesome Michelle Rodriguez also opted out of this one.
5. Super Mechanics
You’ve got to feel bad for the world that it lost perhaps the two most skilled car mechanics it’s ever seen when they are killed in an ambush. I’m talking, of course, about the two members of Hobbs’ team who he tells to rebuild Dom’s Ford GT40 in movie six. These guys, who presumably have spent most of their adult lives moving up through the ranks of the military to the elite super-cop status they now enjoy, immediately set to work and manage to build a custom kit car from the ground up in a matter of hours. ‘Cause that makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean, I know that Special Forces dudes are cross-trained but I thought it was in the areas of, oh say, demolitions, munitions, counter-intelligence, communications and the like. Who knew that the military spends our tax dollars on car enthusiasts?
4. Where’s Leon?
Baby Leon was almost quite literally Dominick’s reason for existence. The guy was like a little brother to Dom (well, everyone’s like a little brother to the monstrously big Dom but you know what I mean) and a huge part of the first movie. So where the hell did he go? The whole thing with Dom, the reason he’s not just a garden variety criminal is because of his legendary, intense loyalty to his people. He exhibits it to Brian, who joins him years after Leon was around, and is a cop to boot! Leon was the guy who came up through the ranks with Dom, who partied and worked hard with him from when they were just youngsters- they even worked together on little stuff like stolen DVDs before getting into the car “business.” There’s no way Dom would’ve just dumped or forgotten about his best bro. Except he did. That’s some good writing right there!
3. Screw Physics
Here’s just a brief list of insane, laws of the universe-defying scenes in the franchise: in movie seven, Shaw is forced into a rolling wreck down the side of the mountain but is able to get out (suspension of disbelief in full effect again), run at top speed across the mountain and then shoot at Dom’s car below. Below? The dude just fell off a cliff and rolled for half a mile. Down??? In movie six in the plane scene, the Galaxy jet taxis for 12 minutes- some math geek figured out that would need a 20 mile long runway. In movie number three (ugh) a thrown baseball shatters a car window inward but the ball itself bounces off and rolls to the pavement. Huh? Umm, excuse me, guys, but you might want to ask someone from Harvard to check out your math on these things.
2. Bad Engineering
It’s just a fact of mechanics that when you go 150 mph your car is gonna fall apart. Or is it? Remember way back in the first movie when Paul Walker has to race big bad Vin diesel? He decides to go against all illegitimate advice about street racing and have two huge NOS tanks installed in his car. Sure they help him be competitive but at what cost? At the cost of his car’s floorboards, among other things. Apparently when you attach crazy devices to your drivetrain, your floorboards come loose. Wait a minute- your floorboards? Why not, like the drivetrain and transmission itself? Wouldn’t that make just a bit more sense? Nah, let’s have the floorboards get taken out- that will impress everyone! Is it me or does it seem to everyone else that this is just a little bit bizarre? I’m all for exciting car chases that involve sh*t flying off the car but let’s keep it just a little bit real.
1. Just Ludacris
One of the things that can drive you nuts about this franchise if you actually care to break it down (which you probably shouldn’t- that’s why you have me) is that everyone is like a master car-builder. I know, I know, the franchise is about car thieves. But seriously, there’s not a character in the movie who can’t build a ’68 Corvette Stingray blindfolded with one hand tied behind their back. Ludacris’s character Tej is by far the craziest mechanic/hacker ever (yeah, he’s a hacker too- of course). In the seventh movie, he actually completely takes apart two cars the gang already has and build one awesome car out of the two. In like 12 hours. How is that even possible? It’s not, not even close, of course, but that’s the beauty of buying the ticket and taking the ride. You know you’re in for a good time if you can just turn your brain off for two hours.