The Fate of the Furious review
Fast cars, some races, a goofy Tyrese Gibson, a hot Michelle Rodriguez, and add the final touch of coolness that is Vin Diesel, and you’ve got The Fast and the Furious series. I’m still surprised by how big the turnaround for this franchise was. The original three movies were entertaining, but there were not the blockbusters that the most recent additions to the franchise were. It goes back to Fast Five, when they added Dwayne Johnson. That was also the moment when the racing themes were replaced with something of an “outlaw renegades” meets fancy cars. The formula made into what is still is the best of the Furious franchise.
Like with any movie, a sequel needs bring the stakes and action to something bigger. Ironically with the Furious series, with a set theme of “thieves with cars”, I’m never sure what to expect. I really enjoyed Furious 7, but the newest film has the great challenge of moving forward without Paul Walker, who seemed to carry half of the charisma. So does the focus expand to the rest of the group, keep it all on Vin Diesel, or bring in new characters? Well, The Fate of the Furious brings a little of all of the above.
While in Havana, Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) helps his cousin by wining a street race while celebrating his honeymoon with his wife Letty (played by Michelle Rodriguez). Dom is found by a powerful cyberterrorist Cipher (played by Charlize Theron) who talks him in working with her. Dom and Letty join with their regular crew Roman (played by Tyrese Gibson), Tej (played by Ludacris Bridges) to work with DSS agent Luke Hobbs (played by Dwayne Johnson) into retrieving an EMP device somewhere in Berlin. While the mission goes well, Dom goes rouge, knocking out Hobbs and taking the EMP to Cipher.
At first, Hobbs is arrested and placed in the prison where Deckard Shaw (played by Jason Statham), the villain from the last movie, happens to be. During a prison riot, both Hobbs and Shaw are taken out by intelligence operative Frank Petty (played by Kurt Russell)and his protégé Agent Reisner (played by Scott Eastwood) into joining a covert ops teams that will find Dom along with Cypher. The crew manages to track them using the God’s Eye software only for it to be stolen soon after by Cipher. The rest of the movie is a journey from New York to the Siberian country that includes the car chases you’d expect, along with nuclear missiles and hijacked submarines.
A lot of what I said towards the end may sound ridiculous, but if you’ve seen the previous movies, then that’s what you come to expect out of The Fate of the Furious. I had fun with this movie. I definitely feel like that director F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, Straight out of Compton) understands the entertainment value enough that despite having to bring in submarines and zombie cars (yeah, those are in here), the franchise has to continue to go in these crazy directions.
Does it outdo Fast Five? That still remains the best along with Furious 7, as this unfortunately stumbles within the second half. Not only does the long running time show when many of the dialogue scenes go on too long, but some of the effects suffer. All of the action scenes look good, but there were a few moments of obvious green screen and some stunts where even my suspension of disbelief if pushed a little far.
To it’s credit, the story does tries to push Dominic’s journey into new areas, even if it’s limited by his personality. I won’t reveal how, but I’d say it’s a good step for what I hope is a plan for some sort of endgame.
I’ll give this four Cuban classic cars out of five. It’s not the best of the series, but I’m glad their trying to make the action bigger while staying within it’s over-the-top territory that we expect out of it. If your looking for something groundbreaking or something equivalent to cinematic Shakespeare, then this is the wrong series for that. This road trip is a fun ride, and I’m gonna enjoy it while it lasts.