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Movie Reviews with Karl: Furious, Going Clear

Movie Reviews with Karl: Furious, Going Clear

Karl Taro Greenfeld reviews movies without seeing them. He watches trailers, or parts of the trailers. If the movie is a sequel, he has not seen any earlier films in the series. He basically doesn’t watch any movies. (Any similarities in plot between his reviews and the actual movies are coincidental.)

Furious 7

Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson and  Jason Statham

The latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise has Domenic Toretta (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) finally consummating their tormented relationship and moving into a suburban Cape Cod-style house and settling into numbing domesticity. The family are finally getting away on a much needed holiday in Paris, when after the hurried bustle of packing and prepping for the trip, driving their kitted-up Dodge Charger R/T, Toyota Supra, Nissan Skyline, Mazda RX-7, Subaru Impreza and Ford Mustang fastback to the airport, drawing up bills of lading, proofs of insurance and documents proving the cars conform to various European Union emissions, head-lights and safety-glass standards, they finally pack their cars onto the plane. Toretta and Letty are settling down in their first class seats only to realize that in the rush—Letty’s eyes blink open with a start—they left the Mitsubishi Evolution behind. The poor Mitsubishi, played by Dwayne Johnson, is parked in a darkened garage, lights off, seemingly unaware that its drivers have left it home alone.

A gang of criminals, led by Jason Statham, breaks into the house, seeking to make off with the forlorn automobile. The poor Mitsubishi Evolution, though terrified, launches a brilliant, adorable defense, using its nimble handling and super-efficient, turbo-charged 290 horsepower, 2-liter engine, to dart around the house, spilling motor oil on the front steps and coughing up wheel bearings to trip up the marauders.

Back on the plane, Toretta and Letty have no choice but  to climb down into the cargo hold, fit their cars with parachutes, and drive them out the cargo bay doors, steering their cars to soft landings on the interstate, jettisoning their parachutes, and then driving hellaciously for home.

Jason Statham, meanwhile, is inside the house, and he calls Domenic Toretta, saying, “You don’t know me, but you will, because I am inside your house and have left my DNA on all of your bedsheets.”

But Toretta and Letty are already back home, where they challenge Jason Statham to a drag race.

The race lasts for 38 minutes.

Finally, Jason Statham is vanquished in a fiery crash, the family can set off for Paris—this time with their Mitsubishi Evolution.

 

 

 

Furious 7 is the first film to deal earnestly with the difficulties of traveling abroad with your automobile.


Going Clear

Starring Tom Cruise, John Travolta, L. Ron Hubbard and David Miscavige

Far-fetched premise here is that a science-fiction author/cashiered naval officer who is looking to shirk taxes creates a religion based on a 70 million year old galactic dictator named Xenu who flies to earth and buries the souls of billions of aliens. These souls are transported into human babies and become a contaminant, poisoning human thoughts. Acolytes to this faith are measured for these contaminants by telling their life stories while holding onto electric juice cans. Congregants dress in sailor suits and show their devotion by cleaning toilets with toothbrushes.

Tom Cruise and John Travolta play movie stars who join this movement, have their life stories recorded, and are then blackmailed into staying forever loyal to the dead science-fiction author and his successor, a toothy miniature man named David Miscavige.

 

 

Going Clear never quite feels plausible enough to frighten the viewer

Karl Taro Greenfeld

Karl Taro Greenfeld is the author of eight books, including the novel The Subprimes, to be published in May. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Harper's, The Paris Review, Best American Short Stories (2009, 2013) and O. Henry Prize Stories (2012). Follow him @karltaro.
Karl Taro Greenfeld

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About The Author

Karl Taro Greenfeld

Karl Taro Greenfeld is the author of eight books, including the novel The Subprimes, to be published in May. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Harper's, The Paris Review, Best American Short Stories (2009, 2013) and O. Henry Prize Stories (2012). Follow him @karltaro.

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