Diesel’s weapon of choice wasn’t his fists, knives or kung fu, but his car…car-fu. He’d maneuver his car to block, deflect and parry oncoming forces of sideswiping and head on attacks from other autos. Escape skills included causing his car to flip, roll and spin away from charging in wheels where he’d counterattack by ramming opponents into kingdom car. To defend his family, he absorbed the violent SUV and armored vehicle onslaught by blocking their paths.
One car-fu scene pays homage to rope-snare fights seen in Chinese wuxia films, where the hero is trapped like a fly in a spider web of ropes. Yueh Hua from the Shaw Brothers classic Killer Clans (1976) comes to mind. Rope-fighting choreography epitomized a kung fu instructor’s creativity and rope trapping savvy, especially when the hero weaved his way out of trouble. In Fate, Dom in his car is ensnared by a web of metal cables being shot out of attacking cars. His car’s escape is marvelous to witness.
John Woo told me his favorite Three Kingdoms story is when hero Guan Gong (depicted in folklore with a red face, long black beard and wielding a giant-bladed guan dao) carries the baby emperor to be on horseback while mowing down enemy infantry. At battle’s end Guan is moved that the baby didn’t cry. Woo paid tribute to Guan in Hard Boiled (1992).
As Shaw carries a baby in a baby car seat and wreaks body crushing havoc and ballistic damage on Cypher’s goons, Guan Shaw Gong notes that the baby doesn’t cry or scream during the mêlée, yet instead smiles and giggles.
For every Fast & Furious film, breaking the speed limit is a way of life.