Friday, June 2, 2023

Worth Mentioning - Some Kind of Crazy Booger

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning. 

A lost Texas Chainsaw movie and a Fast & Furious reunion.


Back in 1999, William Tony Hooper – the son of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 director Tobe Hooper – announced that he was making a short film called All American Massacre, which would star Bill Moseley as his iconic Chainsaw 2 character Chop Top. This movie would let us catch up with Chop Top, apparently imprisoned after the events of Chainsaw 2, and also show us flashbacks to his past, filling in his back story and letting us see him interact with other Chainsaw characters like Grandpa and Leatherface (who was being played by guitarist Buckethead). As Hooper shot the movie, it gradually expanded from a short into a feature. It was supposed to be released online in time for Halloween 2000... but it wasn’t released. And more than twenty years later, it still hasn’t been released. All that has ever surfaced from it are some images and short clips. There’s a full Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie out there that was directed by the son of Tobe Hooper, and it’s just sitting on a shelf somewhere.

In an effort to figure out why All American Massacre got buried, and in hopes of having the chance to watch the movie, director Edward Payson has made the documentary In Search of All American Massacre: The Lost Texas Chainsaw Film. And while most of the people in the documentary have no idea what’s going on with All American Massacre, they just want to see it like the rest of us, there is one person interviewed who has a great deal of information: actor Greg Herger, who played three different roles in the movie (including Grandpa)! So Herger has inside insight on the making of All American Massacre and the messy, extended post-production process... which has apparently never actually ended... 

So if you’re wondering, the answer is: no, Payson has not seen All American Massacre, even after making a documentary about it. But if you have any interest in this lost film, the documentary is worth checking out.

And now we go back to waiting, hoping William Tony Hooper will make All American Massacre available for viewing one of these days.


It was a sequel fans had been waiting eight years for. After Vin Diesel opted out of 2 Fast 2 Furious and Paul Walker wasn’t asked to return for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (although Diesel makes a last-minute cameo), Universal finally made a sequel to The Fast and the Furious that brought Diesel’s criminal street racer character Dominic Toretto and Walker’s conflicted lawman character Brian O’Conner back together. Michelle Rodriguez also returns as Dom’s girlfriend Letty, and Jordana Brewster was brought back to play Dom’s sister / Brian’s love interest Mia. This reunion should have been a joyous occasion. The movie where we see all of these characters interacting again should be a blast to watch... But the fourth Fast and Furious movie, which is simply titled Fast & Furious, has always been a bit of a letdown to me, because it is a very dark and downbeat movie. The most dour entry in the franchise.

The problem is, director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan decided to make the reunion movie a revenge tale. Letty is killed off early in the running time, run off the road and shot by a guy called Fenix (Laz Alonso), who works for heroin smuggler Arturo Braga, who is represented in business deals by Ramon Campos (John Ortiz). LAPD officer turned outlaw Brian has been recruited by the FBI since we last saw him, and he’s trying to bring down the Braga cartel. Braga uses street racers to smuggle his heroin into the United States from Mexico, and Letty had agreed to infiltrate the cartel for Brian in exchange for getting Dom’s criminal record wiped out. When Letty is killed, Dom re-enters the United States for the first time since the end of The Fast and the Furious (he has been on the run in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Panama) to avenge her murder. His quest to catch up with Braga puts him on the same path Brian is on, so they end up working together again. And since Brian and Dom are in the same vicinity again, that means Brian is reunited with Mia as well.

Of course, Dom and Mia are still upset at Brian for betraying them in the first film. Not telling them he was an undercover cop investigating the robberies that it turned out Dom was committing. So their interactions aren’t the most happy or friendly. Since everyone is mourning Letty and some are butthurt about betrayal, it makes the movie less fun to watch.

Fast & Furious does have some nice action sequences, but even those pale in comparison to the action sequences in the previous films (despite being bigger and flashier) because there’s so much CG enhancement on display. The franchise has become completely over-the-top in the years since this sequel was made, but there are some signs of what was to come in this movie.

Sung Kang makes a quick but very welcome appearance as his Tokyo Drift character Han, even though Han was killed in Tokyo Drift. Meaning Fast & Furious takes place before that film, confirming that Han and Dom did ride together back in the day, just like Dom said they did in his cameo. Characters named Leo and Santos (Tego Calderón and Don Omar) are also seen riding with Dom during his time in the Dominican Republic, and we’ll see more of them in future movies. Shea Whigham turns in a memorable performance as Stasiak, a fellow FBI agent Brian doesn’t get along with. And future Wonder Woman Gal Gadot makes her screen acting debut as Gisele Yashar, who works for Braga and clearly wants to hook up with Dom. But he’s too busy working to avenge Letty to get distracted by a new affair.

Fast & Furious is a decent movie, but it should have had a story that would have allowed the Brian / Dom reunion to be more entertaining than it is.

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