When you thought the series was over after Furious 7, here’s another one with The Fate of the Furious, a film that promises to be the start of a new trilogy to cap of the series after the tenth and final installment. Was the film necessary? Probably not, but it still had a lot to offer.
Synopsis: Now that Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon and Brian and Mia have retired from the game—and the rest of the crew has been exonerated—the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of crime he can’t seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before. (Universal Pictures Canada)
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and Jason Statham
Writer: Chris Morgan
Director: F. Gary Gray
Running Time: 136mins
The longer this series has gone (since 2001), it has become less and less about cars, something that this series has been famous for. The first film started a trend and that has perhaps been wavering since then and that was probably a good decision now on their eight film out of a planned series of ten films. Everyone pretty much knows the story by now after watching the many trailers where Dom (Diesel) appears to betray his family for a woman who we learn is a criminal computer hacker named Cipher (Charlize Theron).
Of course, Dom had his reasons for doing what he did which were revealed later on, however, nobody else knew what was going on so the gang went after him as if he had actually turned. They all thought he had turned except for his girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). Cipher had leverage over him so while he worked for her, the gang followed him around the world as they tried to stop him and Cipher. This gang included the unlikely pair of enemies now friends, Hobbes (Johnson) and Deckard (Statham). The two absolutely wanted to kill each other, leading to some fun exchanges, but they ultimately put their differences aside for a common enemy.
The Fast and the Furious series has never been overly cerebral and that didn’t change here. To fully enjoy this film, one must not think too hard about it’s mindless nature. The whole series had always been rather mindless so why stray from a winning formula? Some of the dialog is cheesy, the action is over the top, the story is ridiculous yet all these things almost didn’t matter because of how exciting it was, even after 8 films. After so many films, we have grown accustomed to these characters which made it easy to overlook these little nitpicks.
They were having fun here so it was easy to have fun right alongside them. Sure, the film boasted many characters but the banter between them being highly entertaining to watch, however, didn’t offer anything new. It was effective in breaking up the action scenes with most likely remembering the latter. Because of the size of the cast, some characters got more focus than others, relegating the rest to quips and one-liners. The characters that the film chose to focus on brought a lot to the table, most notably the exchanges between Hobbes and Deckard and the final act featuring Deckard.
While the camaraderie of the gang being the high point, Dom’s subplot was probably the low point of the film. Whether it was the writing or the acting of Diesel, this part of the film wasn’t nearly as compelling as it should have been. Dom still has considerable skill when it came to driving and being part of the action, however, this arc needed Dom to dig deeper emotionally and it appeared that he just couldn’t do it here, lacking the required emotion to give these scenes a level of believability both within the moment and of the character’s overall journey.
As mentioned, the action was mindlessly over the top nevertheless was still exciting to watch. Driving scenes are what this series is known for and in this film, the driving scenes were well done for the most part. For those who payed close attention, it did occasionally fall victim to obvious CGI moments including the falling cars from the trailers. It did also offer a surprising amount of physical combat scenes which were also well done with great choreography.
The acting was decent across the board for the most part, Diesel aside. Many of the characters were relegated to the background where some got more focus than others, however, those in the background doing good with what they had. The material may not have always been there but the chemistry between these actors, who have had plenty of experience together, often made up for these lesser moments. This was also a surprisingly funny film featuring banter that often hitting the target.
Out of the main characters in the forefront, Statham was the only one worth mentioning as he provided the film’s most memorable moments either alongside Johnson or during the final act. Theron was a worthy addition to the series as the film’s (and perhaps others) villain but needed more development. The film also featured some interesting cameos including Helen Mirren as Deckard’s mother Magdalene and others who should excite diehard fans of the series.
Overall, this was an exciting film where you can just turn your brain off and enjoy the mindless, over the top action and story along with some great moments, proving that this series still has something to offer, 16 years after the original film.
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