In preparation for The Fate of the Furious I began a rewatch of the Fast(Or is it Furious) Franchise and despite the varying quality of some of the films there is a certain familiarity that comes with it all making it the equivalent of a beloved but daggy piece of clothing or security blanket. So, while you might know what you’re getting when it comes to Fate of the Furious, you can also look forward to it like a familiar friend. Fate may offer nothing new, and even emotionally even less than previous entries, it still is fun, absurd and entertaining. Find our more in the rest of the review.
Dominic Terreto (Vin Diesel) is living the good life in Cuba when a hacker named Cypher (Charlize Theron) recruits him through coercion. During a mission to take an EMP weapon in Berlin, he betrays his team including his wife and friends. Despite his betrayal, his team must go on a mission to bring Dom in while stopping the grand evil plans that Cypher has.
There is little reason other than absurd escapism to see any Fast and Furious film. After shaking off mediocre and misguided earlier attempts at seriousness in previous film it soon set into something more ridiculous (Fast 5 for those who care for a jumping in point). The good news for whatever faults you may see or criticism you may make, The Fate of the Furious often does action packed fun with the highest degrees of skill.
From car chases across arctic ice and street racing with burning cars you can either accept the ridiculousness or you don’t. You can see from the trailer what I’m talking about with that one moment when the Rock moves a forward speeding torpedo with those ridiculously size arms. Dumb? Yes, Fun? Absolutely. My favourite moment was a mid-air recuse by Jason Statham which avoided him sheltering a baby’s sensibilities and ear drums. Most amusing. Dumb? Yes, Fun? Of Course!!! I think for most people have their mind already made up well before this film but so for those who need reassurances, there is nothing to worry about. Just sit back, check your brains at the box office and enjoy!
The other thing you might care about is the cast. It’s the usual cast of characters and their acting personas and it’s all about the wonderful and playful chemistry they have with each other. It’s not worth listing them here but to highlight some of the wonderful pairings. The most notably new one is Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson, their back and forth is truly over the top but feels like a battle of comedic and possibly improvised insults. The old faithful of Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson trying to compete for the love of a girl and then there is of course, the love story of Michelle Rodriquez and Vin Diesel, who have this wonderful chemistry of blind devotion.
The return of Kurt Russell is welcome and the addition of two amazingly strong women in an unrecognisable Helen Mirren and a truly malicious Charlize Theron helps balance the testosterone on the screen.
Yet for all the fun that is being had, Fate of the Furious feels a little bit too whimsical. It’s a weird thing to say but somehow The Fate of the Furious doesn’t seem quite as impactful in the emotional sense of the word. This is at least in part because of the real-life tragedy that faced the makers of Fast 7 but also because there doesn’t seem like anything to do with the Brian story except a cursory and ham-fisted occasional mention.
The emotional impact is lacking too because Dom’s betrayal is obvious that there is a good and reasonable reason to explain it all. It also seems like a team member changing sides has been done before and there can be only be diminished returns in doing it again. It’s kind of strange to think this is a negative point but melodrama works in these movies and fans want some connection to these characters. There may be a power fantasy in being them but strangely they feel like the family of the audience too. If that doesn’t work then the film suffers for it as is the case of Fate of the Furious.
The Fate of The Furious Review Cheat Sheet
In the end, The Fate of the Furious is entertaining escapism, unable to win awards or new fans. Still it knows what its fans want and for the most part succeeds. Where it stumbles is in the emotional story it tells having reached its emotional peak in Fast 7 it finds little to no new ground to cover. Overall solid for those who wanted more, the rest of you can happily move along.
+ ridiculous escapist action
+ Wonderful casting chemistry with old faves and new additions
+ Will please fans
-lacking the melodramatic and emotional punch of previous films
-Won’t win any new fans