Superfast! review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso
The Fast and the Furious movies have always been the big dumb action films that are just too energetic and playful to hate. They are ridiculous films to be sure, but the director and the audience seem to be in sync with the implied tone of not taking things too seriously. Writers/directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer apparently don’t trust the audience. They want to point out the flaws of these films and mock them just in case the people who saw the Fast and the Furious movies were too stupid to recognize the kinks in the armor. That’s how little Friedberg and Seltzer think about people who watch movies - everything needs to be handheld, clearly spelled out and played up for the most simplistic jokes possible. That’s been their template for a decade and damned if they’re going to change it now. Why fix what you believe isn’t broken?
As yet another movie satire to add to their long list of failed comedies, Superfast exists as though it were a TV show attempting to stage a Fast and the Furious skit. A decent batch of ringers are assembled to mimic the presence of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson. But so what? What good are any of these actors just looking the part if they can’t send it up with more comedy than desperate satire? The Vin Diesel parody argues with his GPS about his bald head, the Paul Walker parody plays a dunce of a white guy and the Dwayne Johnson parody is obsessed with keeping himself coated in baby oil. Even their names are lazily written as Vin Serento (Dominic Toretto), Lucas White (Lucas Black) and Rock Johnson (Luke Hobbs). That last name isn’t even trying as it’s just Dwayne Johnson’s last name and wrestling persona. The only characters with worse names are the ones literally named after cliches (Rapper Cameo, Cool Asian Guy, Model Turned Actress).
The “comedy” of Superfast retains the format set by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer to keep things referential and timely. The best thing you can say about their style is that they are quick to take advantage of topics in the moment. They were so on top of this satire that they actually scheduled this movie to release the same day Furious 7 was theatrically released. But, again, so what? Is satire supposed to be a race now? If so, Superfast wants to zoom past the finish line and straight off a cliff. Comedy classics of the genre such as Airplane! and The Naked Gun suggest that good satire knows no date. Friedberg and Seltzer have the wrong formula in how they believe that being uncannily quick with the references is the key to the comedy. They do so to prevent their work from being dated, but what good is that freshness if it just turns rotten on arrival?
The script matches the premise of Fast and Furious movies by featuring a gang of street racers ripping off mob bosses and trying to outrun the law. You’d think for wanting to capitalize on satirizing the nature of this movie franchise that Superfast would feature some ridiculous car chases that are comically overblown. Such parody is not allowed by the budget. The cheap car chase they stage even has the nerve to make a joke with the cops shouting to stop this chase as the movie is running out of money. Why not just stage a cheap car chase at this point with model/toy cars smashing into each other and bursting into flames? It would sure be a better use of the budget than computer generating a building being towed by two cars very slowly down the street. The most you’ll get from these scenes is a mild smile when a cop on a bike weaves out of control, runs into a tree and explodes into flames on impact. Amusing, to be sure, but that’s action comedy 101 with an execution that’s a C+ at best.
Superfast! is such a terrible misfire of satire that even the title is lazy and uninspired. Its alternative title was Superfast & Superfurious. Aside from those not even being real words, it sounds like a video game adaptation of Fast and the Furious for Super Nintendo. Wouldn’t that be an amazing video game to play with all the characters, cars and events of the movies? Sorry if I seem distracted, but it’s my own reflex for a film that feels the need to make the characters of Fast and Furious twerk and tap dance. If the silly movie satire genre wasn’t dead, buried and desecrated by Friedberg and Seltzer already, Superfast! is one big anvil on top of that grave to make sure it is never clever again.