Why Fast & Furious 7 should be a slasher movie
With Fast & Furious 7, director James Wan could take the franchise into slasher movie territory. Ryan explains why he should...
NB: This article contains spoilers for Fast & Furious 6
Defying the laws of sequel entropy, Fast & Furious 6 managed to be an even bigger financial hit than its predecessor. The Fast franchise, it seems, is like a speeding juggernaut, crashing through minor details like logic and the laws of physics, and entertaining through sheer thunderous velocity.
The Fast movies have also managed to grow in popularity, as opposed to drifting into straight-to-DVD hell, thanks to a canny bit of reinvention. Fast Five wisely put aside the street racing and Halfords bling of its predecessors and took a U-turn into action heist territory. With director Justin Lin throwing in Dwayne Johnson for good measure, Fast Five was a loud, larger-than-life carnival of crashing cars and fist-fights, and the results were overwhelmingly popular.
This year's Fast & Furious 6 continued in a similar vein, with its cast of upbeat petrol heads (and a scowling Vin Diesel) indulging in a new automotive adventure in various parts of Europe. What probably stayed with cinemagoers when they left the theatres, though, was that unexpectedly harsh post-credits scene, which both cleared up a lingering plot detail and introduced the next film's villain.
Finally joining the Fast series back up to 2006's Tokyo Drift (confusingly, every film since then has been set before the events of the third Fast & Furious), the stinger saw Han (Sung Kang) head to Tokyo. And in a recreation of Han's death scene from Tokyo Drift, where we saw the character's car fatally smashed up but not the driver responsible, Han's car flips upside down, pinning him inside.
This time, however, we get to see the culprit. Stepping out of his silver Mercedes with a flourish, it's none other than Jason Statham. He's Ian Shaw, the brother of Owen, the ex-SAS Fast 6 bad guy played by Luke Evans - and he's clearly intending to avenge his sibling's death by offing every member of Dom's crew.
"Dominic Toretto," Ian growls into a mobile phone as Han's car explodes in the background, "you don't know me, but you're about to..."
Leaving aside the brilliance of having a villain called Ian for a moment, this scene raises one quite exciting possibility. Given that Statham's character just killed Han using a car, could it be that the Fast franchise is about to switch genre again? Could it be that Fast & Furious 7 will be a kind of road-going slasher movie?
Longstanding franchise director Justin Lin has stepped out of the picture for Fast 7, and James Wan's now in his place. While it's likely that Wan will hew to the straight action-and-theft formula of the previous two films, it's also possible that he's been hired precisely because of his form in directing such horror flicks as Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring - he could be just the director to bring a renewed sense of threat to the franchise's action scenes.
In Wan's hands, Fast 7 could be like a 12A, popcorn-crowd version of Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, in which a deranged stunt driver (played by Kurt Russell) terrorised other road users with his apparently indestructible car. Jason Statham has form in the killer car subgenre, having starred in Paul WS Andersons' Death Race remake, so he's well versed in the habit of using a vehicle for murderous ends - and his casting in the role of Ian Shaw could be a nod to that earlier film, too, as well as his driving-and-fighting turns in the Transporter series.
Having Statham chase the cast of Fast 7 like Jason Voorhees in a Mazda would not only add a new air of tension to the series' now familiar range of gravity-defying car chases, but also give the writers a chance to thin out its now gigantic cast of characters. Where the first Fast movie was essentially a bromance starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, the roster has since ballooned: Fast 6 counted Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Jordana Brewster and Dwayne Johnson among its central heroic actors, with Tego Calderon and Rico Santos from Fast Five barely even getting a look-in. A rampaging Statham could be just what the series needs to stir this ever-expanding gang up a bit.
The loopy notion that a revenge-seeking hitman would use cars to kill his victims even fits in with the franchise's own loopy form of logic; Dom's gang is, after all, obsessed with stealing things from moving vehicles rather than, say, a warehouse or something.
It's more likely, of course, that the producers of Fast 7 will play it safe, and turn out another film in the same mould as the previous two entries. If they really wanted to pull their punches, they could even reveal that Han survived his apparent death on that Tokyo road. But with Wan's previous form wouldn't that be a missed opportunity? With Fast 7, he has the chance to craft a high-octane slasher flick about a revenge-mad serial killer called Ian. Played by Jason Statham.
It's not necessarily the sequel that fans would expect, but it's a sequel we'd pay good money to see.
Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.