The Fate Of The Furious
Director: F. Gary Gray
Cast Headliners: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, many many others
Original Release Date: April 14th, 2017
The Fate of the Furious, or as most will likely call it “Fast and the Furious 8” came from an interesting predicament. On one hand, the previous , seventh installment acted as a form of perfect conclusion to the series and tribute to its late co-star Paul Walker. But also the FnF film franchise , including that film, were tremendous financial successes. So the “last ride” turned out not to be so, an once again this franchise continues on. The stakes are high with it going Brian-less and attempting to raise the stakes and wild mania. Not surprisingly, the film manages to find ways to out-crazy or at least rival the last several and provide plentiful action, laughs, and cheese.
The movie opens up, gorgeously, in Havana, Cuba (actually one of the few every Hollywood films to be shot there). Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) brings in the token street racing scene that still superfluously sticks around in his casual life with Letty Ortiz(Michelle Rodriguez). Even in its mundane-ness this racing sequence is exciting, silly, and outrageous with Dom's vehicle literally flaming from the speed at one point. True fans wouldn't want it any other way. The series continues to embrace its tongue in cheek more and more while also being serious. For the most part, it works.
Events soon transpire to where Dom finds himself enslaved to the evil new villainness Cipher(Charlize Theron). It's up to his old crew of racers / secret agents to save him. The crew this time(understandably minus Brian, who at least gets a fitting mention) includes Agent Hobbs(Dwayne Johnson), Roman(Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), and Ramsey(Nathalie Emmanuel). They are assisted by the CIA in Mr.Nobody (Kurt Russell) and newcomer Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood).
It's an ensemble cast, as is expected, with some more surprises that have to be seen firsthand. With Dom going to the apparent “dark side”, it's interesting to see the role of 7's villain Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) become noble as he is forced to work alongside the heroes in their mutual enemy of Cipher.
For a series that's about crazy and meatheaded car action it's impressive how intricate its worldbuilding and ramping up of characters is. Existing characters bring their warm, silly “family” together, whether its the great Tej, Roman, Ramsey love triangle or the mocking mentorship of Russel's Nobody to Eastwood's rookie. The writing often leans towards dumb but also can be quite funny and pops with chemistry. Of other note is the love / hate connection between Johnson's Hobbs and Statham's Shaw. Their sequences are both awesome and hillarious which indicates that pairing them was a great idea. It builds on past films in a way rarely seen outside of the likes of those series as the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars, and likewise gives moments to shine.
Some characters fade in the rush. Rodriguez's Letty once again brings the same kind of “what re you doing” yelps whilst the villians of Theron's Cipher or persons such as her henchmen Rhoades(Kristofer Hivju) are generic. Although the scale of Cipher's threat and meaning to the story shows where future installments will go. Dom's turn to evil fits Diesel's acting style since in action scenes he doesn't do much anyways. This time there's the addition of extra cheesy, extra weak dramatic scenes of anger and edge that are contrasted with some slight effective emotion.
When one goes for Fast and the Furious films they only seek partially its family of characters. They seek, these days, a epic plot and outlandish action. Director F Gary Gray steps to his take on the director's chair quite well. The movie is cleanly shot with sweeping vistas and solid cinematrophy as has been expected with the last few. There's some poor CGI at moments but there is also some believable practical effects as wel. What is often unbelieveable, and always exciting, is the aciton scenes. Whether its racing in Cuba, avoiding AI smart car swarms in New York City, or re-enacting Mad Max but on ice in Russia with a submarine in the awesomley long ending act there's plentiful and diverse aciton. The film often throws surprises at the viewer. Sometimes the mania gets TOO wild but that's only in that the viewer will be laughing more than ever at the mania. It is entertaining however and they gave a noble attempt at raising the stakes even if it becomes a bit too wild in moments.
8 movies in things become to blur a bit. From the 5th film to now it's been a whirlwind of cars, jokes, and surreal action. However even in its churn the franchise finds ways to entertain through twists, new and nuanced character pairings, and inventive wild set pieces. It's got it's problems over its (perhaps over lengthy) runtime , but it's also pure popcorn fun fans would want. 8.06 out of 10