Cardi B Joins Fast 9
Cardi B Joins Fast 9 – Dumpster Fire Ensues
In what can only be interpreted as an attempt to appease a certain subset of the population, Cardi B has been added to the roster of transient (hopefully) “actors” of the franchise.
As Cardi B joins Fast 9, I have to ask myself (like so many others), ‘what the hell is Universal doing?’
Universal has been cunning (and in some cases, brilliant) in their choices of “talent” throughout the franchise. They’ve examined their audience demographics carefully and for the most part, have brought audiences some amazing talent. Whether or not they’ve made the best use of this talent is debatable, but the fact that none of these movies have even been nominated for an Academy Award is telling. The Academy doesn’t pay much attention to box office results, so Fast’s box office draw has done nothing to influence their consideration for an Oscar. More likely, the contrived scripts, razor-thin plotlines, and confusing timelines have contributed to continued snuffs.
I have to think that Vin Diesel was a club in New York and ran into Cardi B. His entourage and her entourage were popping bottles and Vin leaned over to Cardi and said, “hey, we should get you in one of our movies.” One thing leads to another and despite the fact that Fast 9 is STILL going through script revisions months after filming has started, the writers are now tasked with finding a part for Cardi B. Should be a slam dunk – Dom’s crew makes a roadside stop at Spearmint Rhino and Cardi B is working that night. Boom, done. You’re welcome.
So here we are, six years after Paul Walker’s passing and Universal is still milking this cash cow. Universal, as a publicly-traded company, has a fiduciary OBLIGATION to make money for their shareholders. As such, they’re not going to stop making these films until they stop being profitable, despite what car fans say about the recent storylines.
Look – I get it – I’m not a 20-year-old kid from South Bronx (like Cardi B), so perhaps I’m not the target audience. I was born in New York and went to P.S. 14 in the Bronx when I was a kid and still have family in New York. Cardi B’s schtick is nothing original – she talks like so many others do in that part of town. I’m not judging her worth to the franchise based on her thick accent. Speaking subjectively, her song “Bodak Yellow” is pure crap. If you pull out the music and listen to her, it’s just awful – to me. Again, I’m not a 20-year-old kid and I’m no fan of today’s rap/hip hop music (for the most part) but still, what acting experience does she have? Oh yeah – she played a stripper in “Hustlers,” only she wasn’t acting – she was actually a stripper.
Call me old, out of touch, whatever you wish, but I stand by my opinion – she’ll add nothing to this franchise, a franchise that has become little more than overt pandering to the immediate-gratification generation. This is the generation that seems hellbent on making stupid people famous and making heroes out of talentless narcissists (I’m talking to you, Instagram “models.”)
Bringing the rap-artist-of-the-day is nothing new to this franchise. The greatest recipe for success in a Hollywood movie production is to take some well known (and aging actor or actors) and pair them with the flavor of the moment rapper of the day. Ja Rule, Ludacris, Bow Wow, Iggy Azalea in this franchise are examples, but there are many, many more examples in other Hollywood movies. It’s a tried and true recipe to bring in a more diversified audience and it usually works.
I’m part of the generation who wants Universal to go back to making movies about cars, racing and camaraderie enjoyed by participants. I know this will never happen because street racing movies don’t make money like Fast’s more recent James Bond-like action movies. Like many original fans of the franchise, I’m having difficulty understanding how Universal can continue to ignore the fans that made the franchise a success. Tuner cars have all but disappeared from the movies and the series has become a blatant commercial for Dodge.
So what then, does Cardi B bring to the franchise? Supporters will no doubt argue that she’s a Grammy Winner – irrefutable proof that the Grammys are pandering to their core audience. Some might also say that she’s got actual acting experience. Again, acting in a movie about strippers when you were actually a stripper certainly doesn’t demonstrate your range as an actor. Then again, some might argue that Vin Diesel plays the exact same role in every movie he’s ever done.
My point is that this franchise is moving ever closer to becoming a carbon copy of the James Bond franchise – a franchise known from moving from city to city as well as bringing into the fold the most popular fad actors of their time (Ricardo Montalban, for example) and getting more insane stunts in every subsequent movie.
My opinion mirrors that of many fans – Universal should’ve stopped when Paul passed away. They should’ve finished that movie and called it a day. Each movie after Paul’s death has moved further and further away from the roots.
Until now, I’ve always said that I’ve enjoyed the recent movies because I view them as nothing more than entertainment. With Cardi B in the fold, this moves Fast 9 out of the “entertainment” category and solidly into the “fucking annoying” category.