Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Fate of the Furious review

By Nico Beland
Movie Review: *** out of 4
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (left) and Vin Diesel (right) return as Luke Hobbs and Dominic Toretto in The Fate of the Furious

            Who asked for this after the surprisingly beautiful finale to 2015’s Furious 7? I was very skeptical when I first heard an eighth installment of the long-running Fast & Furious franchise especially after the death of Paul Walker, who played Brian O’Connor in the earlier films.
            Furious 7 expanded the action of the franchise to the point where the climax was a car chase involving a futuristic looking attack drone, and was a perfect farewell to Walker, it would have been a perfect conclusion to the series. Guess what, grossed over a billion dollars at the box office, became one of the highest grossing films of all time, and Universal just wants to shake as much cash out of these movies as possible.
            That’s where The Fate of the Furious comes in, with Vin Diesel (Riddick trilogy, XXX, Guardians of the Galaxy), Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (The Scorpion King, Central Intelligence, Moana), and (most) of the cast from the franchise reprising their roles, and under direction by F. Gary Gray (A Man Apart, The Italian Job, Straight Outta Compton). Obviously, F. Gary Gray blew us all away with Straight Outta Compton and has directed good films before but I was worried because this was the first film in the franchise since 2006 to not feature both Diesel and Walker, and one of my favorite aspects of the first film as well as 5-7 was the chemistry between the two actors, not to mention both of the non-Diesel and Walker films that came before sucked the big one, 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
            So, I came into this movie not expecting much, and really, that’s what I got, The Fate of the Furious is dumb fun and nothing more. Over-the-top action, fast cars, corny dialogue, and beefy dudes and hot babes behind the wheels, pretty much everything that made Fast & Furious the franchise it is today.
            After the events of Furious 7, we find street racer, Dominic Toretto (Diesel) on his second honeymoon with his wife, Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez-Resident Evil, Avatar, Machete) in Cuba and starting a new peaceful life after Letty got her memory back. However, he is approached by a woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron-Monster, Prometheus, Mad Max: Fury Road), who is revealed to be a cyberterrorist and manages to manipulate Dom into working for her.
            One night, after a successful mission, Dom goes rogue and turns against his team to help Cipher plunge the Earth into World War III. It’s up to Letty, Agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson), Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson-Flight of the Phoenix, Transformers 1-3, Death Race), Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges-Hustle & Flow, Crash, RocknRolla), covert ops team leader, Frank Petty (Kurt Russell-Tombstone, Death Proof, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2), and hacker, Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel-Twenty8k, Game of Thrones, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials) to stop Toretto and Cipher, and find out what she did to him, but the team will have to join forces with an old enemy, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham-Crank, The Transporter trilogy, The Expendables trilogy).
            The film also stars Luke Evans (The Hobbit trilogy, The Girl on the Train, Beauty and the Beast (2017)) as Owen Shaw, Elsa Pataky (Snakes on a Plane, Manual of Love 2, The Wine of Summer) as Elena Neves, Kristofer Hivju (Manhunt, Game of Thrones, The Last King) as Rhodes, Helen Mirren (Excalibur, The Queen, RED) as Magdalene, rapper, Tego Calderón as Tego Leo, and singer, Don Omar as Rico Santos.
            Overall, The Fate of the Furious delivers exactly what it advertises, vehicular mayhem and action at its finest. The highlight being the chase sequence in the middle of the film, yeah, the best action scene in the movie isn’t the climax this time around.
            The climax, while fun, I felt was kind of underwhelming, it was a chase on ice involving a submarine. It’s not bad but I wasn’t nearly as thrilled by it as I was with the drone chase in the last movie.
            The acting is pretty standard, traditional Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson performances, but the one who steals the show is Charlize Theron. She makes a great villain and the way she gets Dom to do what she says is actually kind of terrifying, I’m not giving it away, quite possibly as enjoyable as she was as Queen Ravenna in the Huntsman movies.

            If you’re a fan of the Fast & Furious franchise you’ll probably enjoy The Fate of the Furious even without the presence of Paul Walker. Don’t expect it to be as exciting as the earlier films but you’ll get plenty of Fast, dumb, fun.

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