I know what you’re thinking, it’s pretty ridiculous to call out something for being dumb in a proudly dumb action flick like a movie from the Fast and Furious franchise, but hear me out. This scene in particular is especially dumb in the classical sense. It’s not something you have to think too hard about like a movie plot hole, and it’s not something that really takes you out of the movie in terms of how stupid it was (that ship should have sailed long ago). It isn’t “so bad it’s good” dumb, I think it’s a bit too ridiculous for that, but it is a stupid enough moment to make you stop and think about what exactly went on in the writers room.
Following a chase scene featuring Statham’s villain Deckard Shaw pursuing Diesel in what appears to be a vehicle straight out of Mario Kart, Diesel finds himself cornered at a cliff-side by a group of terrorists. The terrorist leader demands to see his face for movie villain reasons, which gives Diesel the opportunity to make whatever kind of move he wants. The CIA/FBI/Plot Device guys who are watching this all unfold are at the edge of their seats, with one guy fretting about what Diesel can do to get out of the situation and the other believing in his ability to “get out of jams” that all main characters seem to have. You see Diesel’s eyes gleam with a flash of manic inspiration as he tells his panicking passenger and mission objective to put on a helmet. “What could possibly be his move here?” you wonder as he starts making several donuts in the restricted space he has, created a sizable dust cloud. What gadgets could he employ using his spy car that the hamfisted plot device government guys gave him? Even Statham from afar, brandishing a sniper rifle he never fires, is curious to see how this all plays out. What does Vin Diesel’s character do after all that build up and suspense? Why, he drives straight off the cliff.
And no, this wasn’t set up as some sort of deliberate anti-climax, like all the build up was the set up to a joke where the punch line was him doing the dumbest possible thing. That was his big move, that was his brilliant main-character game changer. He just drove off the cliff, hoping he and his passenger would survive. There was no gadgets, no way to guarantee that’d he make it down, and no protection besides the helmet he made his passenger wear. It was just them, that car, and that cliff. I guess that car was a spy car or something so it was more durable than what a normal vehicle would be like, but it took a lot of punishment on the way down that mountain. It was a humongous drop and you’d think if the car somehow withstood the fall, that they would be pancake batter by the time they reached the ground. It’s like with a falling elevator, just because the container makes it down in one piece, doesn’t mean its contents will be fine. I mean, gravity is pretty tricky like that. I know I’m harping about realism in a Fast and Furious film, but the set up and the conclusion to that action climax was a level of stupid I just wasn’t prepared for. It was also lazy to the point where I could almost see the “…” that came before the screen writer’s decision to solve Diesel’s problem by having him drive off a cliff and hope he lands OK. I’m not going to say that I didn’t enjoy that too, I know it was stupid, but at least I laughed and had a good time (which can sort of be seen as a metaphor for the whole movie in a way). I still really needed to get that off my chest I suppose, just like Diesel needed to get off that cliff apparently.
Quote of the Day:
– Every second word out of Diesel’s character’s mouth in Furious Seven.