Movie Review: ‘FATE OF THE FURIOUS’ (2017)
The ‘Fast And Furious’ franchise is something that has been around since my High School days. And that’s saying something. The franchise has, since then however, pivoted (not to mention flipped, exploded and skidded) into much more than it was originally conceptualized as. Majority of its transformation, and subsequent success, has been due to the inclusion of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, which revitalized the films from car movies, to full on action adventures.
The eight instalment titled ‘Fate Of The Furious’ continues the high wire action, with some mindless entertainment.
I guess synopsizing the film is semi mandatory when it comes to a Movie Review, so here goes: The anchor of the series, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is finally able to live as a free man enjoying his life with newly married long time girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriquez) only to have his life be turned upside down, with the appearance of newcomer to the franchise, Cypher. (Charlize Theron)
‘Fate Of The Furious’ (‘F8’ from here on in) has a new spin on the franchise because of its plot point is one that involves a play one of the franchise’s favourite themes, family. Dom ends up turning against his entire crew, for some unknown reason. While it’s not a Spoiler, as the motivation behind his betrayal is introduced one-third of the movie in, it’s still an effective plot point, so I won’t reveal it here.
One of the reasons I enjoy this franchise, is because of their constant rewriting, or adding in elements to the story that didn’t previously exist. Thus making the series less like random movies in a franchise, but definitely connected in a larger way.
‘F8′ makes Cypher the new big bad of the entire universe, by tying in the actions of the other villains like Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) in the previous films to her directly. It’s a smart move for the franchise to include an award winning actress like Theron to their list, giving them much needed credibility to their otherwise action star cast. I am also completely okay with retconning events in a franchise that’s more entertainment focusing more on character drama, which actually enhance the films before in a connective way. Instead of the way that the ‘Transformers’ franchise retcons their own stories to undermine the films that came before.
With Dom going bad,‘F8’ shifts focus of the crew informally to Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) who has to work together with the other Shaw (Jason Statham) to track down the baddies and deliver justice, or some such testosterone driven thing involving punching. Who cares? The greatest thing about ‘F8’ is that the twists are dramatic and have meaning, especially given the casts’ established on and off screen chemistry.
Ultimately Johnson and Statham steal the show, which makes the recent announcement of them getting their own spin-off all the more exciting. ‘F8’ works almost as another pivot of the franchise into new and exciting areas, with new cast additions and as a set-up to the future of the franchise.
While I have minimal complaints with the film, being the first film without the late Paul Walker, and then by removing Diesel’s character from the ensemble for most of the film, the interaction between the other characters felt hollow and not as meaningful. Johnson does a great job moving the story forward with what he had to do, but this is one of the few films in the franchise where the veteran characters felt more like throw away characters.
I’ve always said that Theron is far more menacing as an antagonist than the main character, and she brings it in all kinds of ways in this film. It’s also better that majority of her scenes are with Deisel, so that his somber nature even more effectively enhances her ruthless ness. But, on the other hand, seeing the veteran Kurt Russell deliver one liners in a ‘Fast & Furious’ movie, made me cringe every time.
‘Fate Of The Furious’, besides having a cheesy title, is definitely worth the bang for your buck, given the amount of bangs in the film. I’m hoping that Theron becomes more impactful and has more to do in the next film, and that Johnson stays on the main franchise instead of veering off into his own spin-off.