When you sit down to watch the 8th film in a series, you’re more than likely going to be subjected to a guy in a hockey mask, a once lovable St. Bernard, or the 8th go round with the kid who has sex with a pie.
Now I would venture to say that at no time during any of these franchises lifespan, was anyone awaiting their release in any form of anticipation. So what makes the Fast & Furious films defy the fate of other films series and lead it to it’s current “Fate of the Furious”, the 8th in the series?
Looking back I only found one other film series that made it to eight and had a successful run then and still managed to have one today over 55 years later, that is the James Bond films. This was the closest series I found that compared due to the fact that it’s not a horror film, a raunchy comedy, of a kids film. Now one could argue Star Trek, Star Wars, and the Marvel Films have made it this high and found pretty steady success. But for Bond and Furious both take place in essentially in the real world, not in space. They both have elements of guy fantasies, being gadgets, girls, and guns. Back in the day, men wanted to be a spy like Bond, Guys of today want to drive a 1970 Dodge Charger during a heist.
Both are above the law, but would not be considered in certain rationals as criminals. Bond with his license to kill, but saving the world, and the Furious crew with their Robin Hood-esque heists, which now have graduated to saving the world as well. And as with todays culture, it didn’t take Furious long to get to where they are now, by this point Bond was already hoping on the heads of alligators to get away from the bad guys.
Which brings to the forefront the ever-present silliness that comes with the Furious films, the ignoring of physics and cars doing things that they can never do, even in the controlled conditions of the Mythbusters. Bond started as a pretty simple mildly grounded spy thriller, but eventually Bond was using a cello and its case as a means of escape and a car that could climb walls (even if they are ice walls, still silly). The Furious films seem to be following a similar path, where early on they were simply trying to out run a train in their supped up cars, now they are taking on planes and submarines in their four-wheeling improbable pieces of steel.
As with most franchises the Furious films will likely see their end as with any studio, it will get re-hashed again and again until the audience is no longer there. Bond had 4 to 5 years between Dalton and Bronson when they got better briefly before they reverted back to their unbelievably campy nature. Then the serious approach with the Craig as Bond films which gave us two of the best in the series (Casino Royale & Skyfall).
Maybe the Furious films will follow in the Bond footsteps go to the goofy and then scale it back to a all non-CGI car chases, but maybe not. What could save it is its multitude of characters and settings they can fall back on, this coming from the guy who really liked “Tokyo Drift”, it was like the Karate Kid Part II with cars. Lastly here is something to ponder, it only took 11 films before Bond ended up in space. Furious is only 3 away from that.