With the arrival of the 8th Fast & Furious movie it is clear that this franchise is far from running out of gas. Toward the beginning, Dom says about a weighed down car “remove everything that isn’t the engine”. In that spirit, all the staples that keep people come back to this series are here including (naturally) tricked out cars, global locales, family, high stakes, disrespect for physics, unconventional names for titles, muscular leads, and plenty of insane action. But the movie stays fresh by breaking out of its mold in several key ways.
‘The Fate of the Furious’ sets Dom (Vin Diesel) at odds with his “family”. He is working for a rogue mastermind (Charlize Theron) while the rest of the team must be both fast and furious in order to stop her and Dom from starting a world war. It is admittedly predictable at times and a lot of the plot makes little sense, but it is still fun and the strong pacing keeps the momentum going from beginning to end.
With the main character turned antagonist, this gives room for the side characters to shine. Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Tez (Ludicris), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Deckard (Jason Statham), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) are all on the front lines and, by this point, these characters are more interesting and deserve the spotlight. Cipher is also a very different villain than any of the others. She works in secret using technology for global domination. She is able to use her manipulation and cunning to enact her plans wihtout ever getting behind the wheel of a car or getting into a fist fight. She is a technological villain which contrasts drastically with the rest of the series’ villains. This installment feels like it is following the trend of ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (a comparison I don’t make lightly) in the way that it pits the main heroes against each other at the whim of an ulterior individual and that this movie expects that you already know the franchise very well. It doesn’t catch you up and you need to know a lot about the previous movies to fully understand what is going on.
The action keeps up with the high standard set by the past 7 installments. You’d think that after blowing up a mine, outrunning a train, demolishing police cars using an enormous safe, taking out a tank, driving out of an airplane, and jumping a luxury car between 3 skyscrapers that they may have run out of original scenes. Although the spectacle isn’t as jaw dropping as the extravagant sequences in Furious 7 (my personal favorite), F8 is still one heck of a ride. All of this is supported by a score by returning composer Brian Tyler whose music here has also expanded to encompass the new groundwork being laid here. The music returns to the well known loud percussion based rhythms, but also ventures into modern electronic / spy like sounds (eg John Powell’s Bourne music).
This new direction feels right for this Fast & Furious. After the loss of a beloved star of the series, we see here that these racers are still able to drive on successfully, despite the road still being bumpy. Fate of the Furious recognizes that it is not award-winning cinema, and still delivers everything people want from these action packed, adventure filled movies.
F. Gary Gray’s action crime thriller sequel THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS from Universal Pictures & Original Film stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, Ludicris, Tyrese Gibson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell, Elsa Pataky, Kristofer Hivju, & Scott Eastwood and is out in theaters April 14th, 2017
PG-13 – 2hr 16min