Well, it’s review time, and it’s time to talk about everyone’s favourite crime/ heist/spy/buddy cop franchise with sports cars forced in! It’s The Fate of the Furious!
For a franchise that began as Point Break with drag racing, this series has come a very long way. From about the fifth installment, this series began to stop taking itself so seriously and engaging in over-the-top stunts, resulting in a reasonably entertaining popcorn film factory, and for the most part this newest entry continues that trend. It’s not without it’s weaknesses, but it’s a fun time in the cinema.
The latest entry follows the returning Fast and Furious team as they are once again recruited by the US Government to take on a cyberterrorist known as Cypher (Charlize Theron). Cypher has a plan that involves stealing nuclear warheads from Russia and using them for her own gain, and that, for some reason, requires the best street racers in the world to come together to combat it (just roll with it). The only problem is, Cypher has recruited one of their own onto her side – Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). The team must overcome their leader and friend in order to save the world.
The cast is large and varied, but it’s two returning stars that have the greatest impact. As he has been throughout the franchise, Dwayne Johnson’s role as DSS agent Luke Hobbs is a highlight of the film, and in this installment Jason Statham really comes into his own in the role of Deckard Shaw. While he was a little dry during the 7th installment where he played a straight up assassin, Statham is allowed to flex his comedy chops some more during this film and his character and performance benefit as a result. The rest of the returning cast – including Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky and Kurt Russell – bring the same levels to their roles as in previous films, and newcomers such as Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood and Dame Helen Mirren added their own flair to the film.
One of the biggest flaws in this movie, however, was giving an emotional storyline to Diesel’s Toretto character. Diesel is a strong presence during action scenes, but he fell a little short in some of his quieter moments and perhaps wasn’t quite a strong enough actor to pull it off. This isn’t really a surprise from an actor whose best role involved saying the words “I”, “am” and “Groot” with different inflections.
And in a couple of weeks he’ll do it all again, but in a higher register!
At the end of the day, though, this is a film with a lot of fun moments. There’s some great chemistry between many of the stars, the action pieces are well shot and everyone gets their moment to shine. The climactic scenes at the end, including the scenes from the trailers that feature the team being chased by a submarine, are particularly notable for their enjoyment, as the film ends on a very high note. Get a large popcorn for this one folks, you’re gonna want it.
Sadly the final scenes still don’t take the crown for “Best Cinematic Submarine” from this bad boy. Better luck next time Hollywood.
But the fun moments aren’t as well paced as they are in some of the other entries from the franchise, particularly Fast Five which rather set the bar for this franchise. There’s parts of the film where it drags horribly, and others where there is woefully bad expositional dialogue, which mostly consists of technological explanations by actors who’ve clearly never even heard of half the words they are saying. It’s still better than some of the earliest entries – looking at you Tokyo Drift – but it’s a flawed film. Don’t expect a masterpiece.
3/5 – a passable film from a fun franchise. Won’t remain in your memory for long though.
And, for those who like to know these things, here’s a ranking of every bizzarely named film in this franchise so far.
- Fast Five
- Furious 7
- Fast & Furious 6
- The Fate of the Furious
- The Fast and the Furious
- Fast & Furious
- 2 Fast 2 Furious
- The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift