The Fast and Furious franchise is not only one of my favorite ongoing franchises in Hollywood right now, it’s also one of my favorite franchises of all time. If that sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is – but just as this series itself became self-aware somewhere between Tokyo Drift and Fast Five, I’m also completely aware that loving this batch of movies doesn’t always make a whole lot of logical sense. I can’t help myself, though: any franchise that messes with its timeline, inserts Dwayne Johnson as a breath of fresh air, and incorporates Jason Statham as a villain after putting up an impressive (if flawed) sixth entry has my heart.
After director James Wan and his team added Thai martial arts master Tony Jaa to the cast, I didn’t think the upcoming seventh film could get any more badass. But they’re apparently out to prove me wrong, as Variety reports that the erstwhile Snake Plissken himself, Kurt Russell, is in negotiations to join the cast. There’s no word yet on what his role will be, but sources say it was the role the studio previously offered to Denzel Washington, who turned it down. From that info alone, we can assume this part has more substance than a simple cameo.
Russell is one of those old school veterans who is already a cinematic icon, and having just listened to him speak at a screening of Escape From New York a couple months ago, it seems like at this point in his career he’s only taking on movies that he knows he’ll have some fun working on. The Fast series certainly seems to fit the bill, especially with the series’ proclivity for having scenery-chewing opportunities for major actors as they rotate in among the franchise’s key players like Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Tyrese Gibson.
With – spoiler alert – the death of Han in Fast 6, there will be a noticeable loss of charisma and cool in this upcoming movie. Whether Russell will fill that as a member of the “good” guys – they are car thieves, after all – or be in cahoots with Statham’s villain, this is just one more reason to love the Fast series. I can’t wait until next summer.
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