Rant: “Fast & Furious: Supercharged” + “Fast & Furious Crossroads”

To satisfy my completist-curiosity, I’ve utilised YouTube “walk-throughs” to check-out a couple notable spin-offs from the F&F franchise (“Fastchise”?), neither of which really lived up to the main movies, despite the talent involved:

Michelle Rodriguez as ‘Letty Ortiz’ in “Fast & Furious: Supercharged” (2015)

Fast & Furious: Supercharged is a screen-based theme-park “ride”, which opened at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2015, then at Universal Studios Florida in 2018. It begins with the guests being invited to a warehouse party by the Toretto crew, only for their tram to be diverted and attacked by ‘Owen Shaw’ (Luke Evans), who’s looking for an unidentified “witness” hidden among them. Thankfully he’s fought off by ‘Roman’ (Tyrese Gibson), ‘Dom’ (Vin Diesel), ‘Letty’ (Michelle Rodriguez), and ‘Hobbs’ (Dwayne Johnson), who ensure that everyone reaches their supposed destination safely… which should in theory be an epic booty-shaking shindig, but is in fact the exit of the attraction, sending everyone back out into their boring everyday lives again. Seems a little bit of a let-down to me. Obviously it wouldn’t be fair to judge the “live” experience purely on the basis of some sneaky/shaky camera-phone footage, but it did give me some inkling why noted theme-park enthusiast Jenny Nicholson is so scathing of the increased use of screens, as opposed to physical sets and animatronics…

Fast & Furious Crossroads (2020) is a “hybrid racing & action-role-playing” video game, starring Sonequa Martin-Green as ‘Vienna’, a former street-racer forced to re-enter the shady world of car-based criminality, in order to avenge the death of her lover, and help the Toretto crew (specifically Dom, Letty, and Roman, voiced by their actual actors) take down an international terrorist organisation led by Peter Stormare! She’s aided by her faithful techy sidekick, ‘Cam’, played by Asia Kate Dillon, who is depicted as “non-binary” and referred to by gender-neutral pronouns throughout… which is very admirable and inclusive, even if their actual personality is annoying as hell. All of the main characters were physically modelled on the people who played them, so it’s theoretically possible that they could crossover (pun?) into the movie-verse someday… though, judging by the reviews, it doesn’t seem as if this game has attracted a particularly fervid fan-base!

Sonequa Martin-Green as ‘Vienna’, Asia Kate Dillon as ‘Cam’, and Michelle Rodriguez as ‘Letty’ in “Fast & Furious Crossroads” (2020)

Again, it seems a little mean to “review” something I haven’t experienced first-hand, but I did watch the entire play-through over the course of a couple days, and feel like I have *some* basis for a critique. Initially I was quite intrigued by the concept of a secret, old-timey society for highway bandits, as suggested by the opening scene, but this eventually lead to the same knock-off-Bond-villainy you get in all the movies these days, so that was a real wasted opportunity, imho. I also thought the gameplay (which has been savaged by critics/players far more experienced/informed than me) looked exceptionally boring, with a skin-deep veneer of interactivity disguising what basically amounted to driving down highly-limited “corridor” tracks and occasionally shooting stuff (when ordered/allowed to do so). It seemed like a huge step-backwards, considering the remarkable freedom (and fun) that games like Driver (1999) provided, back in the day.* There’s also a bizarre disconnect during the driving scene sometimes, where the audio simply doesn’t match the visuals tonally… in the sense that the characters will be carrying on an earnest (or light-hearted) conversation about personal stuff while their vehicle is leaping off a huge ramp and ploughing bumper-first into a cop-car, as if they’re completely oblivious/insensitive to the carnage they’re causing! Surely that sort of high-velocity impact should at least make them pause for breath, even if they don’t comment on the potentially fatal crash? Meh. I do give them points for name-checking ‘Suki’ though… and the scene where one of the baddies calls Roman an annoying idiot! Tee-hee…

Oh, and Hobbs & Shaw (2019) was just unwatchable dreck, with inconsistent/off-putting characterisation and immature “dick measuring” throughout. Feh!

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* That game also had a function that allowed you to “film” and edit your own action scenes using the in-game vehicles, which would seem a perfect fit for a franchise like this… so, I guess what I’m saying is that they should’ve just reskinned/remastered Driver instead!

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action. He/him.
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