Last year I wrote an article shitting on a decision by Kurt Russell to turn down a role in The Expendables 3, while saying yes to a role in Fast & Furious 7. At the time, given the information available, I think that it was a reasonable prognosis to accuse Russell of making the wrong move. At the time, it looked like The Expendables 3 would be a darker movie, since Patrick Hughes was hired and Sylvester Stallone boasted of making the series Raid-like in nature. It even had Mel Gibson in it. Conversely, Fast & Furious 6 looked like silly nonsense for 14 year olds.
A lot can change in a year.
I may well end up having been proven wrong, and Kurt Russell may end up having been proven right. I can admit that should it be the case, no problem. In the past year The Expendables franchise has spectacularly imploded through greed and hubris. While on the other hand Fast & Furious 7 looks like it could be a good movie. It has a new director who has hinted at making the chase sequences more grounded, like the classics from the ’70s. Which is just what was needed following the previous director’s toe-curling shark jump antics.
It also has two other actors signing up other than Russell. Tony Jaa and Jason Statham. Both are playing villains, Statham in particular will fight The Rock and since Tony plays one of the Trans, who you might remember were the villains in the original movie, I’m guessing he’ll be beating the shit out of somebody too as a villain. Sounds good – and it’s not that I prefer the Fast series to R-rated retro action. But that series is a different breed of dog, it doesn’t aspire to be ‘R’ and doesn’t need it. So on that front at least, it already has one over on The Expendables 3, which pissed in its own feeding bowl.
Now, whether or not Kurt Russell is conscious of all this is another question. He may have been none the wiser than any of us that The Expendables 3 would end up this way and simply have been aware that the Fast series is generally a bigger deal. In that case, I think he was still wrong and in the end simply fortunate in his decision.
But either way, it looks like Kurt Russell will have the last laugh.