Friday, April 14, 2017
The Fate of the Furious Review
They probably could've ended the franchise after "Furious 7" and that would've left us on a beautiful emotional high, but when you make $1.5 billion worldwide with the previous installment, the rules of business in Hollywood state that you find a way to make another movie, especially when you're part of a franchise where coming up with a new premise is pretty easy to do. I mean, it's not like these are deep, emotional, story-driven movies where making sequels has the potential of ruining the magic that the previous installments put into place. This is a very sequel-friendly franchise where all they have to do is come up with a simple premise then use a bit of creativity to decide what cool new crazy stunts they are going to pull off next while trying to figure out which new famous actors want to join in on the fun. This time we have zombie cars and submarines while adding Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren and Scott Eastwood to the party with a premise that consists of Vin Diesel going rogue which leads to his team trying to figure out what in the heck happened while trying to figure out how in the heck to stop him. Boom! There's our movie. Now if you don't mind some absurdity and you don't need your movie physics to make any sense, then strap in and enjoy!
I will say this movie does start out pretty slow. After our obligatory street race to start out the movie, which was a pretty good street race if I might add, Charlize Theron approaches Dom (Vin Diesel) in Cuba while him and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are on their honeymoon and shows him things. Then we go over to Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) who gets approached that things need to happen over in Berlin. Hobbs recruits Dom, who gets the rest of the team together to head over to Germany with Hobbs. It felt kind of forced and rushed, thus making me slightly nervous about the rest of the film. Then finally things got interesting with Dom betrayed the team and got away, blind-siding his whole team as he mysteriously chooses to follow Cipher (Charlize Theron). Then things get interesting as Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) is back to help them stop Cipher, but in doing so he cleverly arranges for Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to join with them through a series of events that I won't describe and we're off to the races. Once we finally get things set up, that's when the movie takes off and is super entertaining while also being surprisingly dark and emotional at times. I was invested in what was going on and I really bought Charlize Theron as a villain. She was a great addition.
There is an unfortunate thing that needs to be discussed, though. While much of this franchise is built on crazy stunts and action sequences that entertain the heck out of you, the glue that holds everything together is our team of characters that we've grown to love through all these years of movies. In "Fast & Furious 6" we said a final goodbye to Han and Giselle, two of our main side characters. Then in "Furious 7" we sadly had to say goodbye to Paul Walker, who was one of the two cornerstones of this franchise following his tragic death. In order to make for a smooth transition, we also had to say goodbye to Mia, Paul Walker's love interest in the movie as the two are now living a quiet life on their own in this fictional universe. So our great team of characters that is holding everything together is thinning out. With this eighth movie deciding to make Dom, our other major cornerstone, go rogue, we are left with a team full of side characters for the majority of this movie. Letty, Roman, Tej and Ramsey all do great, but the four of them can't carry this franchise on their own. The absence of Paul Walker is really felt in this movie and when Vin Diesel is not around on the good side, the movie feels really empty. It was like a family reunion with only a few members of the family.
That about does it with this review. If you love this franchise, especially the previous three movies, then "The Fate of the Furious" gives you exactly what you've come to expect and is thus a must see, but you were probably already planning on seeing it anyways and didn't really need my stamp of approval before going out. What I've left mostly out of this review is my specific thoughts on the action and crazy stunts they pull off. I do that on purpose because I want all of that to be a surprise for you if the trailers haven't already spoiled it for you. Just know that you're in for quite a treat which includes a third act that is absolutely insane and one of the best finales of the entire franchise. If I were to give grades to all of the movies, since I watched them all this past week, I would give "The Fast and the Furious" a 6/10, "2 Fast 2 Furious" a 5/10, "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" a 4/10, "Fast & Furious" a 7/10, "Fast Five" a 9/10, "Fast & Furious 6" an 8/10 and "Furious 7" a 9/10. Concerning tie-breakers, I'll give "Fast Five" a slight edge over "Furious 7" as the best of the franchise. With all that in context, I will slide "The Fate of the Furious" right in below "Fast Five" and "Furious 7" and just ahead of "Fast & Furious 6," although with the same grade as the latter of an 8/10.