James Wan Will Approach 'Fast & Furious 7' as a 'Gritty, 1970s Revenge Thriller'?

james-wanOh the necessary grittiness of today's movies with their picture perfect look, and post production sheen. So much like the films of the '70s. What? You disagree? Okay, I guess I agree with you. There was something to the filmmaking technique, the style, the tone, the pacing and the actual use of film that gave '70s film their down-in-the-dirt feel that today's films can't really emulate.

So, when James Wan tells The Playlist he's going to approach Fast & Furious 7 as "a gritty, 1970s revenge thriller" I'm trying to figure out just what exactly that means.

In my opinion, the Fast franchise doesn't lend itself to the storytelling technique of '70s actioners and in the ways that it could, today's filmmaking techniques and audience expectations don't allow for that kind of measured pacing and lack of explosions. I mean... French Connection, The Getaway, Dirty Harry, The Mechanic, Death Wish or, I guess, Bullitt if you want to be generous by two years. Do any of these resemble the Fast and Furious franchise? Or is he talking Death Race 2000 and Mad Max, or what?

Of course, I'm just spit-balling here. Wan doesn't give any examples or expand further on the sentiment when talking to The Playlist. In fact, here's the entire quote:

"I really like the theme of this next one that we're going with. I can't really talk about it, but I like the theme; it's one that I really relate to. Then there's the drive of Number Seven, which was set up at the end of Number Six, which is a classic revenge story.

"I'm a big [genre] fan, so that's how I'm approaching [it]. I'm looking at it like a gritty, 1970s revenge thriller, but one that still fits into the Fast and Furious series."

All I can think of when I read this is James Mangold suggesting his new take on The Wolverine was inspired and influenced by films such as Chungking Express, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Samurai Trilogy and Floating Weeds.

After seeing The Conjuring last night, Wan is certainly a director I respect for his ability to tell a ghost story, but when I hear statements like this I can't help but raise and eyebrow. I don't see how you can treat this franchise as anything more than "grossly over-the-top cine-junk" and still appease the target audience. Doing something a la Death Sentence certainly won't pay off in my opinion.

Fast & Furious 7 hits theaters July 11, 2014.

  • http://letterboxd.com/criterion10/ Criterion10

    When I saw this the other day on The Playlist, I damn near punched my computer. This reminds me about a year ago when producers said they were going to do a "dark" and "gritty" remake of The Mummy.

    It's all the same bullshit, though. Movies that exist solely for the money, and the producers, directors, and such try to make it seem like that's not the case.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

      at least he didn't say "this one's for the fans" ;-)

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

    Why does everything have to be 'dark', 'gritty' and/or 'edgy' these days anyway? It doesn't make a film more important or meaningful. You're making a Fast and Furious action movie James.........lose the pretension.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Although I really enjoy the tone of the current "Fast" franchise, I think it would grow old after another movie. Wan is one of those directors I trust after "Saw" and "Insidious" (hopefully soon to be "The Conjuring"), so I'm on board.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    I don't see any reason why the Fast and Furious franchise should go the dark and gritty route. There's enough of that already in today's blockbusters.

  • Good Grief

    I just hope he calls it "Fast and Furious Part Wan."

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aditya/ Aditya

    From the setup in Fast 6, Dom wants revenge for Han and Jason Statham wants revenge for his brother Owen, who to be honest Dom killed first. Shouldn't they just be square then? You killed my guy, and I killed yours.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aditya/ Aditya

      I meant killed Owen first...its easy to lose interest in these stories :\

  • Jeff Bingham

    No one can really say the Fast franchise doesn't lend itself to the storytelling technique of those kinds of films since the story is never the same with each involvement.

    The Fast & The Furious - Point Break
    2 Fast 2 Furious - Miami Vice
    The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift - Karate Kid
    Fast & Furious - Some redemption/reconciliation movie
    Fast Five - Ocean's Eleven meets The Fugitive
    Furious 6 - A war and rescue film

    Not to mention, considering who we're gonna be seeing in Fast 7, it should be pretty clear what kind of film it will be.

    • http://letterboxd.com/austin/ Austin Gorski

      I agree, none of these films really have the same approach. I'm really interested in Wan's take on this franchise.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      When Wan uses the word "gritty" in conjunction with "1970s revenge thriller" to me it conjures up an image, not just a storytelling device and a '70s revenge thriller is light years away from anything the franchise has done so far, with the fourth one probably coming closest.

      To me, in order to achieve a true '70s revenge thriller, the ridiculous nature of the franchise would have to be toned down entirely and made much smaller.

      If the plot manages to avoid the entire heist, over-the-top destroy a city aspect of storytelling the last two films have followed it could be great. As to your "it should be pretty clear what kind of film it will be," I hope you're right, it would be a great way to get away from the craziness and get a little more grounded.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/ASFan/ ASFan

        If Wan does get away from the craziness a bit with 7, he can always go bigger with the proposed 8 and 9.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Hudsucker/ Hudsucker

    Look it's from the guy who did Saw, Death Sentence, and Insidious. I, myself, am not too surprised.

  • http://gravatar.com/alexmeatlog Alexander Meatlog

    "Did you say Gritty or Shitty? I couldn't hear you over the engines."
    Speaking of cars...someone scream over at George Miller and tell him we are still waiting for the trailer for FURY ROAD!!!

  • dffffffffffffffff

    good,this franchise needs more grittiness,all we really got in the last movie was cheesy shit!