The Fate of the Furious opens this weekend, and while reviews have been mixed it’s safe to say the film continues the trend of this being the most absurd and unlikely franchise since Police Academy’s eight-film reign. The Fast movies found their second wind after shifting from street racing to ridiculous action and heists, so inspired by their success I’m here to pitch a few more types of films that could benefit from a heist-related reboot.
Universal Monsters movie: The Boo Crew
The world sees them as monsters, but after years of living up to the label they’re ready for a change. Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and Frankenstein’s monster (who recently applied to have his name officially changed to Jeff in the hopes that he’ll stop getting the doctor’s mail) learn of the existence of an ancient relic capable of permanently reverting monsters back to their true human forms. The only problem? It’s currently in a vault on the top floor of a high-rise building owned by the Van Helsing Corporation. It’s been hidden away for nearly a century, and the famed monster-hunters have no intention of giving up the key to their profitable family business without a fight.
John Hughes-like teen movie: The Afterschool Specials
A brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel, and a recluse. They haven’t spoken a word to each other in three years of high school, but that changes when their least favorite teacher brings them together for an unofficial assignment. He instructs them through a series of seemingly unconnected tasks, and the teens realize too late that they’re being set up to take the fall for a crime. With the police closing in and prom right around the corner, the five strangers are forced to work together to save themselves and each other. Along the way they discover that maybe, just maybe, each of them is a brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel, and a recluse … but only one of them is a murderer.
Kids’ movie: Techies
Jeanie is the new kid in town, and if that isn’t bad enough she’s also something of a geek in love with science and comic books alike. She’s thrilled to find some friendly faces at the library, including Timmy, who loves building robots; Marv, who’s fascinated by the physics behind Bruce Lee’s ability to beat enemies who outweigh and outnumber him; and Shelly, who sees no reason to walk on the ground when she can be using her gadgets to climb walls and glide through the air. Jeanie’s excitement is tempered, though, when she learns that the neighborhood bully has stolen something from each of them, and when he takes one of her prized comics the new friends decide enough is enough. It’s time to get their stuff back and teach the jerk a lesson, even if that means breaking into his heavily-alarmed house in a gated community and avoiding his dad (who happens to be Jeanie’s mom’s new boss).
Hollywood satire: Character Types
Four old friends (William Atherton, Paul Gleason, Lane Smith, and JT Walsh), all ex-actors, reunite after years apart when they attend the funeral of the agent they all shared. What should have been a short trip is extended, though, when they discover something that affected all of their acting careers: their constant typecasting as supporting pricks and villains was no accident. Someone made it happen, someone who kept them from landing bigger roles, and that same someone (Tommy Lee Jones) is currently up for a Best Actor Oscar at the upcoming Academy Awards. Long known for playing jerks onscreen, these four old cranky bastards are about to show the world just how sneaky and mean they can get. (Note: Yes, some of these guys are currently dead, but we live in a world where Peter Cushing played a supporting role in a new Star Wars movie, so let me have this.)
Cop movie: Blue Balls
It should have been a simple bust, but when a veteran detective crosses the wrong criminal kingpin he finds himself framed for a crime and thrown in prison. His eyes opened to the easily corrupted system, he realizes too late that not everyone behind bars deserves to be there. Knowing he’s a marked man on the inside and his time is limited, his partner puts a plan in motion to break him back out. It won’t be easy, though, and after a few failed attempts she discovers what’s missing from their various plans: in order for these cops to break in and out of jail they’re going to need the help of a few crooks.
Chick flick: Moms
Kathy, Trudy, Sally, and Marge meet every Thursday for book club, and it doesn’t even bother them when their spouses and kids poke fun at their “boring” ladies night and cheesy book selections. The women read books all right, but they’re reference materials to help them plan and execute perfect, risk-free bank robberies. They’re doing it just to prove they can, not for the money, but their weekly dose of self-empowerment takes a turn when Sally’s abusive husband discovers their secret. Where they usually return half the money and donate the rest, he wants it all, and the friends soon realize this may lead to their first book club selection with an unhappy ending.
M. Night Shyamalan movie: Twist
John was a legendary safecracker in his day before leaving the criminal life for good. When he gets word that his younger brother Jack has gotten in deep with some local thugs, his nimble fingers are forced back into action. They need John to open the most secure safe in the most protected building in town, and Jack’s life depends on his big brother’s ability to dust off skills he swore he’d never use again. It was supposed to be one last robbery, one last score, but suddenly it all went wrong with the twist of the dial.
Rob Hunter lives in California, where he only steals hearts.