Fast & Furious: Supercharged (2015)
During the summer of 2017, I subjected myself to the current eight films in the Fast & Furious film franchise. By the end of July, my brain had become as mushy as the dialogue that flows from Vin Diesel’s pie dough mouth. I witnessed the bizarre transformation of the movie series from small and stupid undercover cop movie to a mad dash across the Arctic while a nuclear submarine breaks through the ice. Quite a transformation. However, even after watching the eight films, plus the unofficial tie-in Better Luck Tomorrow, I felt a void. Something was missing. There was a piece to the puzzle I’d somehow left out. Then I realized it: Fast & Furious: Supercharged at Universal Studios. I had to get to Florida, which I did this November. Here is what happened:
You don’t realize it’s coming until you notice the details. You’re walking through the San Francisco styled section of Universal, to your left is a rather sedate brick building, a little peeling on the walls. A closer inspection reveals the modest signage. You’re here. This is the ride. I didn’t hop on the minute I saw what it was; instead I planned my park excursion by going to the outer edges and working my way back to the entrance over the course of eight hours. I was headed for the train to Hogwarts, but I knew Supercharged, and I had a date with destiny later that day.
It was night. The park glowed with the vestiges of the Holiday Season. It was crowded. Thanksgiving weekend does that to a place like Universal. We’d decided to take the hit and go for the Universal Express passes after seeing what drudgery waiting in the regular line at Disney was like earlier in the week. This was going to be worth the money, the gluttonous consumption of rides. The man in the ticket booth asked which lanyard would you like for your tickets: “Minions, The Grinch or…” I stopped him right there ‘cause I’d already seen which one it had to be. “Fast & Furious,” I told him. It was never a choice.
But there I was, walking into Dom’s garage. Much work went into making this warehouse look like a warehouse. Shelves. Tires. Engine parts. Must have thrown the designers for a loop when they were tasked with this job. Cars were parked behind barriers. I think they might have been in the movies. I honestly feel I suffer from car blindness. I wound my way through the empty line, eventually finding my fellow riders. The line was a brisk cakewalk, and before we knew it, the lot of us were crowding around a stage made to look like a kitchen where a woman with a headset and copy of people magazine introduced herself with a gender-neutral name that would make it easy to swap out whichever employee drew the short straw.
This woman told us about the importance of family to Dom Torreto and how we, like at Olive Garden, were family when we were in the garage. She got an alert that Dom had just won a race and was celebrating at Sullivan’s Garage. A party bus had been chartered, and they were on their way to pick us up. This begs the question though, why didn’t Dom just come to his garage where we all were to hold the festivities? It would just seem more responsible economically to have it in a venue you already own rather than now having to pay for some buses to bring us to him.
There was little time to contemplate the fiduciary stability of Dom’s small business when we were ushered to Tej’s war room. There we met a young man bearing another gender neutral name who, while tapping a tablet computer that I believe did nothing, let us know the buses were on their way. But then Dom himself interrupts to tell us things have gone south. The FBI is homing in on their location and that bastard Owen Shaw is out for revenge. Then we move to the actual buses where an attendant spoke to the people in my group, saying, “Okay, party boys. Right over to row 3.” Yes, we were party boys, ready to party with our boy, Dom.
We should have known better though. Our bus pulls up to see the party which clears out when word comes down of the FBI. Roman Pearce didn’t get the memo and brings in a bevy of beauties trying to impress them. Agent Novak of FBI interrupts and tries to take Roman into custody, but that’s when Dom, Letty, and Hobbs show up. It turns out Roman didn’t turn off his cell phone which has led the feds and Hobbs straight to them. That’s when the ride begins.
During the ride, I noticed something strange I didn’t encounter on the other rides. We were told multiple times before the ride and during, by both live actors and recorded pieces, to turn off our cell phones. The conceit within the fiction was that the feds were using the phones to track us. I suspect the real reason was they didn’t want people recording the ride and posting it online, an effort that while honorable has failed miserably if you are to check YouTube.
I stumbled out of the breakneck speed amusement park attraction, face soaked from a blast of water, mind reeling from the spectacle I’d experienced. I knew one thing for sure that this was without a doubt the best of the entire Fast & Furious franchise for one key reason: It was the shortest.