Friday, 4 December 2015

Superfast (& Superfurious) (2015) - Movie Review
It is a common thesis that the collective idea of Hell that is eternal flames may not be the case. More likely, we all craft our realms of Hell based on that which we most despise. Well, if that does end up being the case when I ultimately shift this mortal coil, I and all other devotees of cinema will be stuck in a cramped and humid theatre forever watching the ceaseless torment that is the complete works of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Otherwise known as the infamous duo behind the ____ Movies (Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, etc.), these are often in the discussion for the worst filmmakers of all time and with very good reason. Their own special brand of ‘parody’ consists of time capsule pop culture references that make sure that they become outdated even as they are being filmed, as well as teenage pandering with M-rated fanservice and low-brow gags. Actually, I take that last one back, because referring to these hacks as being “low-brow” would diminish the work of people like Trey Parker and Matt Stone who make low-brow jokes that are actually fucking funny! Good God, I am looking forward to this like the prospect of actually going to Hell, only without the sense of theological confirmation that would come with it. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

The plot: Lucas White (Alex Ashbaugh) is an undercover cop who is tasked to infiltrate the team of street racer Vin Serento (Dale Pavinski) in order to get closer to kingpin Juan Carlos De La Sol (Omar Chaparro). After a transport operation for one of De La Sol’s cars doesn’t go according to plan, Vin and his crew decide to rob a vault full of De La Sol’s money, all the while being tracked down by Detective Rock Johnson (Dio Johnson).

As much as I have shown my affinity for the Fast And Furious films, even I can see that the tropes of the series are ripe for being made fun of: The softcore car porn, the softcore actual porn, the obnoxious machismo that brings forward certain… implications; much like the big blockbusters that Seltzerberg have taken to making fun of, it’s like shooting the broad side of a door. They get a few of the points right, like how little the films really understand about street racing culture or how obvious some of the characters can get, namely how conspicuous Brian O’Connor is, but it never reaches the point of being funny. This is a seriously weird state for any comedy to be in: For as many obvious jokes that it misses, it manages to hit a few but never gets a laugh in the process. Even with how bad their sense of humour often is, the writing here at least is a lot more focused than their previous efforts with in terms of shoe-horned in celebrity impersonators and parodies of films that have nothing to do with the main target. Of course, they run into the same old problem that has plagued not only every one of their productions but also those of the Seltzerberg clones that exist out there: No straight man in sight.

No, that isn’t a back-handed comment about how camp the performances can get although, don’t get me wrong, the actors aren’t helping. Ashbaugh keeps mistaking doing a surfer dude voice, the Elvis lip and never closing his mouth for a single goddamn second as being funny, Chaparro shows how to act over-the-top and not be engaging, and Daniel Booko as Curtis (the parody of Toretto’s former right-hand man in the first film) is just obnoxious. What I mean by ‘no straight man’ is that everyone mugs and constantly act like they are in a comedy. Yeah, that might sound like the obvious thing to do but, for a spoof film, it is the completely wrong approach.

What made the works of Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker and Mel Brooks work as well as they did was that, for as much goofy crap kept happening around them, the actors in those films took it dead seriously. They didn’t constantly wink at the audience that they knew what they were doing was stupid; they treated it like it was an actual film and not something meant to make fun of other films. Since this style of comedy died a slow and painful as a result of works like Spy Hard and Scary Movie (BOTH written by Seltzerberg), it has since been replaced by constant mugging and unnatural dialogue that, in the least subtle fashion, will occasionally just bring up plot holes about the films being made fun of. It’s about as sharp as a baby-proofed bag of wet hair.

None of this is aided by how, especially since they started going straight-to-DVD, their production values have taken the steepest decline imaginable. The green-screening is horrific during the driving scenes, the stunts in which are surprisingly lame considering this is meant to parody one of the most extravagant action franchises of the day. Dragging an entire taco shop on chains down the street is a decent attempt but it lands with as dull a thud as the rest of the jokes in this thing. I mean, this film was released to coincide with Fast & Furious 7, where the Toretto gang drove out of an airplane to take down an armoured, machine turret-equipped convoy; you need to try harder than that to make your point about how overblown it’s gotten lately. Also, the sound design is quite possibly some of the worst that I’ve heard all year. When it isn’t egregiously using what are quite obviously stock sound effects ad nauseum, the sound balance is so off that actors will inexplicably be talking at twice the volume of everyone else in the scene, only by accident and not out of just shouting at random as one might expect. None of this is even excusable by means of a low budget as, on $20 million, they should be able to provide better technical qualities than The Quarantine Hauntings.

All in all… is this even worth summarising? I mean, seriously? It’s a fucking Friedberg and Seltzer movie; as much as I try to give the benefit of the doubt, there was absolutely no chance of this being good, or even watchable for that matter. It carries all the hallmarks of their non-caring and appallingly blind sense of aim when it comes to jokes, and goes to show that just because it’s slightly more focused doesn’t mean that it’s any better than their previous output.

No comments:

Post a Comment