It is not always an easy adjustment going from purchasing fun things to practical ones. When I was a little kid I used to wish for a flying car like the ones I would see on my Saturday morning cartoon shows. Instead we always had a four door sedan. When I could buy my own cars; I went for the smaller ones with stick shifts that made the cars take off real fast. I enjoyed the way my cars would hug the curb, barely slowing down into the turn as the engine roared. As I got older I started to notice how my friends and I were getting out of the car; turning our bodies sideways so we could get our feet out on the ground before leaning way over to lift ourselves out of the deep seats. Every day sitting in rush hour traffic took a toll on my fondness for not having an automatic transmission. The thing that pushed me away from having a small car was my alley in wintertime. Whenever there was a heavy snowfall my car would get stuck in the snow because it was so low to the ground. It was frustrating since I had to spend time shoveling the car out just to get it freed and back into the garage. So I went from a sports car to a small SUV; but now, I have seen cars that can fly. SETTLING into domestic life was supposed to be easy compared to what the group of friends had encountered previously in their lives. They were being targeted by Deckard Shaw, played by Jason Statham (Homefront, The Expendables franchise), the brother of a drug dealer the friends had taken out. Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner, played by Vin Diesel (The Pacifier, Boiler Room) and Paul Walker (Brick Mansions, Eight Below), with the rest of their friends would have to take one last ride to try and save their lives. This action thriller had its work cut out for it since the previous film in the franchise had many high octane action scenes. The driving stunts in this movie were unbelievable; one needs to check their common sense at the door however before viewing them. I felt the stunts were thought of first before the writers decided what would happen in the rest of the scene. Except for a few slow parts, action was the main character of this crime film. I have to say it was a bit sad seeing Paul Walker, knowing he had died in a car accident not related to this movie. However, there was a touching tribute to him in this picture. As long as you realize you have to suspend logic and common sense before sitting through this movie, you will be taken on one heck of a ride. Now I just want one of those flying cars.
It seems to me we are still an appearance motivated society. With the recent controversies concerning digitally altered photographs and racial comments in the media, one has to wonder where this obsession on a person’s looks came into our thought process. Did you know even in the most innocent of places, people will react to someone else’s looks? I saw it happen in one of my yoga classes. A large man wearing a bandanna tied around the top of his head walked into my classroom. His body bore a couple of tattoos and he had a small metal chain around his neck. The members became quiet as they tried to discreetly keep their eyes on him as he moved to a corner of the room. He did not seem to notice he was the center of everyone’s attention. It did cross my mind for a moment that maybe he was in the wrong room; however, he walked over to the pile of yoga mats and grabbed one before settling down into his spot. The windup to this story was he not only was a yoga enthusiast, he would become one of my biggest advocates. I always found it amusing when we were in the locker room and he was saying something complimentary about the class; the men within earshot would turn and take a look at him. Here was an imposing looking man who you could easily see riding off on a big ole motorcycle, dressed in leather, talking about yoga. It just goes to show you there is always something more behind the surface and this action drama would be the proof. Paul Walker (Fast & Furious franchise, Hours) played Detroit undercover policeman Damien Collier. When an advanced weapon was stolen and transported to the worst part of town, Damien would have to rely on convicted cop killer Lino, played by David Belle (The Family, District B13), to get him into the area and disarm the device. This crime picture was a remake of the French film District B13 that starred the same David Belle who was reprising his role here. I appreciated that Paul Walker’s character was not made to be an equal to Lino’s fighting skills because his were based on the Parkour training discipline. The story was attention getting, but I enjoyed the original movie more. The editing and directing were too choppy for me in this one; it felt as if I was jumping from scene to scene without getting any time to see the actors develop their characters. On the surface this looked like an exciting film but in reality there was nothing special going on here.
I was saddened with the recent reported news about the father who was driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. With his young child not buckled in the back seat, the man crashed into a road barrier. He drove away not aware his child was thrown out the back window. It was not until he was pulled over by the police that he realized his toddler was missing. From this news and my recent memories recalled for a recent review about parenting, I was happy to see a movie that had a positive parental role model. Let me first tell you there was some sorrow regarding this film due to the recent death of actor Paul Walker (Fast & Furious franchise, The Lazarus Project) who stars in it. In this dramatic thriller Paul played Nolan Hayes, who became a new father when his baby was born prematurely just as Hurricane Katrina was set to hit New Orleans. As disaster took hold of the city, Paul would not leave his child alone in the hospital since she was placed in a neonatal incubator. Writer Eric Heisserer (The Thing, Final Destination 5) wrote the screenplay and made his directional debut with this film. I know there has been a variety of stories based on the tragedies caused by Hurricane Katrina, but I found this interesting story compelling due to its personal aspect. Paul was convincing in the role, having to handle most of his scenes by himself. Genesis Rodriguez (Identity Thief, Man on a Ledge) played his wife Abigail. The problem with this movie was the directing and the script. Though I liked the idea of the story, I felt it went for cheap thrills. There were scenes that were easy to predict along with some being just odd. For example, in the scenes where time was a factor, they did not always seem to be accurate in their duration. Also, I do not have medical training but one of the baby monitor’s readings did not seem right to me. Due to this I had to wonder if the movie studio rushed out the film; the thought of it makes me uncomfortable. Despite these faults, I still was interested enough to keep watching. If in fact this is the last completed movie made by Paul Walker, it was not the worst film I have seen. I just wish it would have been stronger as it did depict a positive role of a parent who would do anything for their child.
I return to the race track, ready to take on my all to familiar opponent. We have raced many times before. My silver car has a lightning bolt across its hood. As the timer reaches zero, I gun the car and off we go. The first curve is easy, followed by a short straightaway. My rival is matching my every move as our cars are side by side. I know the next curve leads to a short drop; I have to be careful not to let the car jump to high off the pavement. Just as I come out of the turn; my nemesis’ car swings wide, its back end tapping my side panel. If I had not braked immediately, my car would have skidded off the track. Because of that bump my slot car loses to my cousin’s car. Anytime I was over at his house, we would immediately head out to the slot car shop to race our cars. That thrill of speeding returned while watching this high octane action film. I barely remember the previous installments of this franchise and it was okay. This story picked up where the last movie ended; with their $100 million dollars Dominic Toretto, played by Vin Diesel (The Pacifier, The Chronicles of Riddick), and his friends were scattered around the world, enjoying life. The only thing missing for the group was being able to go back home to the States. One day the one person who could offer them the opportunity to go home showed up at Dom’s place. Hobbs, played by Dwayne Johnson (Pain & Gain, Snitch), needed Dom and his gang to get behind the wheel again and track down the mastermind behind the team of precision driving thieves, stealing highly classified government secrets. The dialog was kept to a minimum, making room for insane driving stunts and crazy fights. The automobiles were the real stars of this movie. Humor was used as an additive for some of the scenes, mostly handled by Tyrese Gibson (Transformers franchise, The Take) as Roman and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (Tropic Thunder, No Strings Attached) as Tej. I liked the fact that this film kept things simple; the focus was on the action, accompanied by a straight forward story about the things people do for the sake of their family. Fast cars was the hook for me; but then again, I know a thing or two about speed. My guess is I am the only person you have ever met who received a speeding ticket in a national park. A few very brief scenes with blood.
My love of animals came from Maxine’s unconditional love, my aunt’s French Poodle. Even if you have not experienced that type of love from a pet, I feel you will still connect with this amazing story and fall in love with the dogs in this movie. The acting from the cast, such as Paul Walker as Jerry Shepard (The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious) or Bruce Greenwood as Davis McClaren (Star Trek, Deja Vu) is not worth talking about, it is mediocre. The real stars of this movie are the huskies and they will quickly get under your skin. Inspired by a true story, Jerry the sled dogs’ trainer, must leave the canines behind, as the polar base must be quickly evacuated, due to a fast approaching Antarctic heavy storm. Promising his furry friends he will return after the storm, Jerry Shepard is confronted with complications that prevent him from keeping his word. Will the dogs be able to survive on their own? My attention was drawn to the plight of these brave huskies. Watching this story unfold, one will see the courage, the bravery, the deepest love that drives us to do whatever it takes to help the ones we love.
2 3/4 stars — DVD