When I think of a movie that’s done multiple sequels, the first one that comes to mind is “Rocky.” After that, there’s “Star Wars,” and it’s now forthcoming follow-ups; the “Star Trek” franchise; Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” prequel flicks; “Mission Impossible” (MI5 out 7/31); “Godzilla” movies and “The Fast and the Furious.”

CONGRATULATIONS to Vin Diesel on the recent birth of his fourth child Pauline, who he named after his friend and ‘Furious’ co-star, the late and dearly departed Paul Walker.  “Furious 7” hits theaters on April 3rd.  Starring Diesel, Walker, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez and Jason Statham, it’s one of this summer’s most anticipated blockbusters.  America loves an action packed movie with fast cars.  Beyond whatever the plot is, the adrenaline of fast, cool, hot cars, is a huge draw.  Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved to go fast in a car, like millions of other children.  Once one becomes of age, unless you’re a racecar driver or like getting speeding tickets, one has to modify one’s pace.  I think I’ve seen “The Fast and The Furious” in it’s entirety once from top to bottom.  If you asked me to recount what it’s about, or tell you the plot, I’d have to watch it again to give a comprehensive answer — it’s more about the cars and the chase.  Fortunately for anyone interested in seeing the first six installments of the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise, you could probably catch them all on television, as they’re currently airing on various channels.  This past weekend I noticed while surfing, that the first one and the last two, were either on a premium channel or one of the cable networks.

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What I find similar and curious about the ‘Rocky’ and ‘Furious’ franchises, are the two lead actors of both collections, that are Diesel and Sylvester Stallone.  Diesel is like a modern day Stallone.  As far as acting goes, they’re kind of on par with each other, except Sylvester scored Oscar recognition.  Stallone became the third person to be nominated for both acting and writing in the same year, following Charles Chaplin for “The Great Dictator” in 1940; and Orson Welles for “Citizen Kane,” the following year.  Sly’s early success in Hollywood, is a major component to him sustaining a career in film, for nearly 40 years now.  “Rocky” was released in 1976, with a million dollar budget, it grossed 117-million domestically and 225-million worldwide.  Stallone went on to do five follow-ups to the hit movie, and is working on a sixth, starring Michael B. Jordan.  CreedTitled “Creed,” “Rocky Balboa” is acting as a trainer and mentor to the son of his old buddy, “Apollo Creed” training “Adonis Creed.”  Papa Creed was portrayed by Carl Weathers in the first four ‘Rocky’ flicks.  ‘Creed’ is currently filming and slated for release this November.  Stallone’s other action movies with multiple sequels, are the “Rambo” series that started with “First Blood,” and the current “Expendables” franchise for which a fourth installment has been announced.  “The Expendables” are a team of mercenaries, initially hired by the C.I.A. in the first installment, they’ve taken on various missions in the follow-ups.  The films star an ensemble cast of men, that have taken on action movies throughout their career, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Statham and Terry Crews.

rocky66All of the ‘Furious’ movies have done well at the box office, with ‘Tokyo Drift’ grossing the least at 62-million-plus domestically (150-million-plus worldwide), and ‘Furious 6’ raking in nearly 800-million worldwide.  It’s success can be attributed to the massive following of the series of releases since inception, the loyal fans of Vin Diesel, as well as that of the other cast members.  Have all the installments of either of these two action packed flicks been good? As far as “popcorn movies” go sure, but if it’s a Shakespearean experience you’re after, these may not be your cup of tea.  “Rocky” however still holds up as a solid quality film, taking the viewer through the hero’s journey, it’s simply one of best movies about the American underdog.  I just watched it again, randomly a couple months ago, simply because I landed on a channel as it was coming on.  Will I do that in twenty to forty years for “The Fast and the Furious” or any of it’s sequels?  Hmm… I’m not so sure, will you?  I am planning to go see “Furious 7” in the theater though.

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Despite the quality or plot for any of the seven installments, the fact that they’ve done seven movies based around the same basic premise that have been successful, is undeniably FUNKY. In addition to the aforementioned, “Furious 7” also stars Elsa Pataky,  Djimon Hounsou, Lucas Black, up and comer Nathalie Emmanuel from “Game of Thrones,” rapper/ actors Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges, Shad Moss a.k.a. “Bow Wow” (formerly Lil’ Bow Wow), Iggy Azalea in her first feature film and Kurt Russell.

For the LOVE of FUNKY Franchises & Action Flicks


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