Once upon a time, I discovered this movie; it was about fast cars, cool guys, cooler girls and something else…something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I didn’t know why I enjoyed it so much. I mean, yeah, Paul Walker was easily one of the most beautiful men to grace the silver screen; his blue eyes rivaled Paul Newman’s and his smile lit up every scene with a luminescence not many men possessed. Vin Diesel had that deep, gravelly voice that made me shiver inside and this sense that underneath the tough guy persona was a deep, thoughtful man who should never, ever be underestimated. But that wasn’t it. There are plenty of movies out there starring hot men and fast cars. But this one was different.
Maybe it was the women? Michelle Rodriguez was always one of my favorites; she’s beautiful and sexy, tough, clever and never one to be taken advantage of. And then there was Jordana Brewster, who felt like the soft, beating heart of the film; whose soulful brown eyes made you smile or cry right along with her. Was that the answer?
I watched each film (yes, even Tokyo Drift which is hugely underrated) and fell more and more in love. How did this happen? How did these “dude” movies completely suck me in? I’m an adult woman, not exactly their target demographic. How was I suddenly part of it; my heart pounding with very car chase, holding my breath with each insane stunt and moved to the brink of tears with Vin Diesel’s monologues? I was in…I was in deep.
And I would see the actors together for interviews and press junkets and realize they had a genuine affection for each other; they were… family. So, when the unthinkable happened and they lost one of their own, we saw the true depth of their love for each other. I would see Vin Diesel post on Facebook about his love and grief, the loss he felt for his brother, “Pablo,” the nickname he has for Paul Walker. He was caring and confident enough to share it with us. And we grieved with him; I grieved with him.
I avoided seeing Furious 7 in theaters; not because I thought it would be bad, on the contrary, I knew it would be good. I just…couldn’t. I didn’t want to say good-bye and it was inevitable. I couldn’t even listen to Wiz Khalifa’s See You Again without balling like a baby. How would I hold up in a theater? I don’t cry pretty movie star tears; I would be a sobbing, snotty, red-nosed mess!
Furious 7, the extended edition, had its digital release Tuesday and that night, I finally gathered the courage and I watched it. I spent the entire time completely drawn into the movie, like all the others. This time, however, there was a horrible sense of sadness I felt throughout but I held it together; I held it together until the very last scene. And with Dominic’s final words…you just know it isn’t Dom speaking, but Vin talking to Pablo, sharing a little bit of himself through this character, and you love him for it. I love him for it.
So, thank you to the cast and crew of all seven Fast And Furious movies (yes, even Tokyo Drift) for the completely unexpected gift of a truly awesome franchise. You took what could have just been a story of a bunch of meatheads in cars and turned it into something bigger...something more important and something far more lasting: A story about family. And I can't wait to see where the family goes next!